Last month, Mobycon’s International Team welcomed Anna Tailliez as a Junior Mobility Advisor. With her French background and previous experience as an intern at Mobycon, she will support international projects focusing on cycling infrastructure design.
My Dutch experience started in September 2022, when I moved to this famously cycle-friendly country to begin a 6-month internship as the final step of my Master of Engineering degree. I have spent the past 5 years studying at the University of Technology of Compiègne (UTC), located 60 km north of Paris. I started with a Bachelor called “Humanities and Technology”, focusing on achieving a stronger integration of human and social sciences together with engineering sciences. The courses about history of techniques and epistemology were striking to understand the deep interrelation between technique, individuals, and societies. One of the main principles I learned is that the technique, surrounding us in all aspects of our life, enables us to interact with and to model our living environment and society as well as being simultaneously modelled by human characteristics, customs, and tendencies. As street designers and mobility planners, we thus have a strong responsibility in the way we are organizing and supporting people’s mobility.
But let’s go back to my curriculum. After some informatics classes, I found an interest in urban planning and the processes and regulations of the fabrique urbaine. In the Spring of 2019, I completed an Erasmus semester at the University of Technology of Vienna, where I selected the Génie Urbain as my main subject to conclude my degree. My experience in the Austrian capital was formative in shaping my journey. I discovered what it meant to be able to move freely with a bike thanks to a relatively consistent network of cycle routes. Compared to where I used to live, it felt like heaven! In addition, I took a course about active mobility (walking and cycling), which provided me with a different perspective on traffic planning.
When I returned to France, I began an internship at Inddigo, a French consultancy in sustainable development policies, whose mobility department is a pioneer in France regarding the development of a “cycling culture” among public and private actors. There, I discovered the basics and the main actors of the French cycling ecosystem, especially during a post-covid context really dynamic from a temporary cycling infrastructure development perspective.
Towards the end of my curriculum, before I started my internship at Mobycon in Delft, I completed a 5-month long bike trip with my partner across 11 European countries including France, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, back through Germany to The Netherlands, and Belgium. Riding about 6,500 km from southern to northern Europe was an incredibly rich human adventure. It was a way to achieve actively my urban planner dream of visiting so many cities in a limited timeframe; to get to know unknown places and the local customs as well as get an overview over different planning cultures and a sense of what each country and region looks like.
Before all of that, I was born and grew up close to Meaux, a middle-size city of around 50,000 inhabitants, located in the outer-ring of Paris Region. It is crossed by the Marne River but also piteously scarred by urban highways. Each time I go back there, I think of how things could be better designed. Now that I am settled in Den Hague and joyfully experience my daily cycle commute, I have no doubt that Dutch approach will, in the coming decades, infuse the way engineers, planners and policymakers around Europe and beyond perceive the mobility needs of people and the corresponding design of public space. Having begun working for a design company grounded in ethical values and with renowned achievements, I am excited to learn even more about and support coherent and self-evident human-scale solutions to transform our mobility system.
If you would like to discuss upcoming projects or opportunities in your community, please connect with me HERE.
“As socio-technical systems, our transportation modes have a big influence on human societies and the way our environment is shaped. Supporting the decarbonised mobility transition, in France and abroad, via for example the design of people-oriented walking and cycling infrastructures sounds for me like a very tangible and motivating mission!”