This study aims at analyzing light vehicle traffic in France and at characterizing it by a set of speed profiles. A new approach is proposed introducing the notion of kinematic sequence and using different methods of data analysis. The first objective is to get satisfactorily summarized information on the structure of vehicle displacements.A set of data, recorded from an instrumented passenger car fleet for the EUREV study, is analysed with data analysis processing. The great variety of the speed profiles collected means that the study is representative of the actual use of cars in France. Four sequence categories which feature specific types of traffic are shown. Consequently these sequences should lead to the measuring of fuel consumption and pollutant emissions representative of the actual uses, under appropriate laboratory conditions.