Seven pairs of household surveys in French towns in the 1960's and 1970's are compared to elucidate the effects of car ownership and land use trends on trip patterns. Car ownership and use rose rapidly at the expense of public transport in large cities and two wheeler use in small cities. The changes in mode use when a car was acquired were similar everywhere, but these changes were smaller than the background changes taking place within households with unchanged car ownership. These background changes were related to the city size in such a way that mode use in all the cities was tending to become more uniform. Two wheeler use was much higher than in British cities but has been declining and this together with increasing urbanisation of the smaller cities is probably responsible for the relative stability of public transport usage per person in smaller cities, where it has been increasing in households without cars. Car owning households are tending to migrate to the suburbs, a trend which militates against public transport, so that it seems likely that the current stability of public transport patronage will be a transient effect and that long term decline will follow, as has occurred in Britain. (A)

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