Mobility, Biography, Identity, towards quality of Life (MoBILife)
In the context of widespread mobility, several studies at LISER have examined the links between two different forms of spatial mobilities (residential and daily), both linked to the general concept of mobility biographies, and measures of quality of life (including family or work life, leisure). The MoBILife research project intends to go a step further in disentangling the complex relationships between mobility biographies, socio-psychological determinants and changes in quality of life, from the understudied, yet central perspective of ‘professional’ mobility.
This MoBILife project cofunded by FNR is mostly taking place during one year in Montreal, Canada, a metropolitan area characterised by high car dependency and facing similar mobility challenges as in Luxembourg. This city offers a unique situation, namely the workplace relocation of the McGill University Health Care centre, with more than 10,000 employees concerned. More precisely, the project benefits from a quantitative survey dedicated to this workplace relocation, a professional mobility which has not been taken into account yet in the framework of LISER. The survey is linked to a research project (2017-2018) funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada) and brings together a consortium of renowned researchers in the fields of mobility and regional planning. It gives also an extraordinary opportunity to enrich and refine the general different groups of determinants of travel behavioural changes (spatial, socio-economic and socio-psychological factors) which are already analysed at LISER.
Regarding socio-psychological factors, whereas traditionally focusing until now on attitudes and beliefs to explain the links between residential, professional and daily mobility, we want to deepen this knowledge of the large concept of identity, a key socio-psychological factor often linked to (pro-)environmental behaviour. To date, this concept is absent from mobility biographies analysis. However, the notion of ‘material identities’ appears as a meaningful construct to explain travel behaviour changes, such as ‘transport modes-related identities’ (e.g. being a car driver) or ‘sense of place’ (i.e. person’s identity in relation with the physical environment).
The integration of the two conceptual frameworks, mobility biographies and identities, will first constitute a novelty in mobility research, and second enhance the understanding of travel behaviour changes, conditioning partly quality of life. Thus, the MoBILife project will: (a) provide a complementary and rich knowledge base in line with LISER's societal impact development strategy, (b) allow in the future to support decision makers who are in favour of sustainable mobility solutions, as proposed in the recent ‘life-oriented approach’ (interdisciplinary methodology proposed for urban policy decisions), and (c) gain in international visibility with a promising research network. In order to achieve these tasks, two recognized academic institutions will be directly involved: 1) The Transportation Research At McGill (TRAM), School of Urban Planning, Faculty of Engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, the main host institution, and 2) The Observatory of Sustainable Mobility, Faculty of Environmental Planning, University of Montreal, Canada.
Three essential steps (main Work Packages, WP) structures the MoBILife project. WP1 consists in theoretical advancement in order to deepen the complex conceptual framework of the relationships between mobility biographies and identities. WP2 strengthens the methodological aspects for spatial and statistical analyses, especially with differences in differences analysis and time-sensitive accessibility measures on the grounds of available datasets coming from the research Institutes involved in the project. WP3 covers the empirical analysis and the finalisation of the different outputs.