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Mobility and transport
Key data on travel
The chart below demonstrates that travel increased significantly in the Brussels Region in the period 2000-2012. Particularly travel by urban public transport, train and bicycle show a significant increase.
According to the mobility observatory of the BCR (2013) the success of the collective and/or active transport modes can be attributed to several factors: the demographic growth and the substantial rejuvenation of the Brussels' population, the evolution of the traffic conditions (slowdown of traffic) and of the parking facilities, the population's impoverishment, … The increased use of bicycles may also have been the result of various measures taken to promote this mode of transport: development of the regional cycling routes (early 2013 there were 116 km of dedicated and marked routes) and of an automated bicycle hire network (Villo), the support towards intermodality bicycle/public transport (parking facilities, possibility to carry the bicycle on board, etc.), the introduction of mobility plans (businesses, schools), etc.
In the last decade, the air traffic at Brussels Airport experienced a significant decrease in the number of movements.
Recent decreasing trend in road traffic, with the exception of the ring
In contrast to the observations for public transport and bicycles, road traffic within the Region seems to decrease despite a significant population growth.
The resource centre for mobility bases its conclusions on various sources:
- a comparison between the censuses Brussels Mobility carried out in 2003 and in 2008 (297 points) reveals an overall decrease in traffic of 3 to 4%. This evolution varies greatly, however, depending on the type of road, while the trend in traffic on the ring is even opposite (+4.8%);
- a study carried out by Brussels Mobility revealed a significant decrease in transit traffic (a few percent between 2006 and 2011) in the 10 residential monitoring areas (rush hours);
- the general traffic census carried out by the FPS Mobility & Transport (based on figures supplied by the Region) reveals:
- an overall decrease in traffic at the census points of the inner ring and on the access roads from the ring (-1.4% between 2008 and 2009, -2.1% between 2009 and 2010); due to the limited amount of census points which are furthermore limited to the major roads, caution is required in the interpretation of these figures.
- an overall traffic increase of 5.7% on the ring between 2000 and 2009, particularly in the western and south-western parts.
Still other observations also suggest a hopeful trend with regard to the use of cars in the Brussels Region:
- decrease in the vehicle density of the people who live in Brussels: according to the 2011 Beldam survey, 64.8% of the Brussels' households has at least one car (82.6% on a Belgian level). The results of the household budget survey point toward a significant decrease of this percentage in the course of the last decade (79.1% of the Brussels' households had a car in the period 1999-2002 as opposed to 61.9% in the period 2007-2010)
- reduced car use among people who live in Brussels to the benefit of public transport or bicycles (Brussels Mobility, IPSOS survey, reported by ADT-ATO 2011),
- reduced car use to commute to and from work (Bruxelles Environnement-Leefmilieu Brussel 2014 "Bedrijfsvervoerplannen – Balans 2011" and the FPS Mobility, Federal diagnostics of the mobility of employees).
With regard to the infrastructure, there has been a noticeable increase in the 30 km/h zones over the past years.
The occupancy rate of cars travelling within the Region, on the other hand, remains very low (1.2 passengers/car on an "average" day), which is slightly lower than what was recorded in Flanders (1.3) and in Wallonia (1.4). Unsurprisingly, the average daily distance covered by people who live in Brussels (approximately 27 km) is lower than in the neighbouring regions (approximately 42 km) (FPS Mobility and Transport, BELDAM survey 2011).
Evolution of the vehicle stock
According to the registration records, the evolution of the vehicle stock on the Belgian level is characterised by an increase in the average age of the vehicles and a further rise in the dieselisation percentage (59 % in 2011).
Little data exist on the vehicle flows for the transport of goods. In 2011, the state of affairs on which the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development is based, refers to an increase of heavy goods traffic of 80 % between 1990 and 2002 (census in the morning). According to censuses realised by Brussels Mobility in 2012, goods transport accounts for 14% of the total traffic (heavy goods vehicles account for 6% and vans for 8%).