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20 terms for understanding mobility

Increasingly linked to digital technology, mobility is becoming more complex and diversified. Autonomous driving, multimodality, rebound effect and agile method are all terms used in the study of new forms of mobility. The Fondation Mines-Télécom has put together a glossary of 20 terms to help readers understand the issues involved in this transformation and clarify the ideas and concepts explained in its 10th booklet.


Active mobility A form of transport that uses only the physical activity of the human being for locomotion. Cycling, walking, roller skating, skateboarding etc.

Agile development Use of agile methods to create projects based on iterative, incremental and adaptive development cycles.

API  Application programming interface. A set of methods and tools through which a software program provides services to other software programs.

Ergonomics Scientific study of the relationship between human beings and their work tools, methods and environment. Its aim is to develop systems that provide maximum comfort, safety and efficiency.

Explanation interviews Interviews aimed at establishing as detailed a description as possible about a past activity.

Flooding Availability of more resources than necessary.

Free floating Fleet of self-service vehicles available for use without a home station.

Gentrification Urban phenomenon whereby wealthier individuals appropriate a space initially occupied by less privileged residents.

Intermodality Use of several modes of transport during a single journey. Not to be confused with multimodality.

IoT Internet of Things

L4, L5 High levels of autonomous driving. L4: the driver provides a destination or instructions and may not be in the vehicle. L5: Fully autonomous driving in all circumstances, without help from the driver.

MaaS Mobility as a service. This concept was formalized by professionals at the 2014 ITS European Congress in Helsinki and through the launch of the MaaS Alliance.

Modality Used to describe a specific mode of transport characterized by the vehicles and infrastructures used.

Multimodality Presence of several modes of transport between different locations. Not to be confused with intermodality.

PDIE Inter-company travel plan (French acronym for Plan de Déplacement Inter-Entreprise). Helps make individual company travel plans (PDE) more effective by grouping together several companies and pooling their needs.

Rebound effect Economic term explaining the rise in consumption that occurs when the limits of using a technology are reduced.

Soft mobility Sometimes used as an exact synonym for non-motorized (and thereby active) forms of mobility. The term “soft” refers to environmental sustainability relating to eco-mobility: reducing noise, limiting pollution etc. It sometimes also includes motorized or assisted forms of transport based on technologies that do not rely on oil.

Solo car use Term used to describe a driver alone in his/her car.

Transfer An often expensive step during which merchandise or passengers are transferred from one vehicle to another. As short a transshipment as possible is desirable.

TCSP – Acronym used for exclusive right-of-way transit in France.


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