To Infinity and beyond: Belgium steps up a gear when it comes to mobility
A small country nestled in the heart of Europe, Belgium is nevertheless making significant progress in the field of mobility. It has long been criticised for its endless traffic jams, ageing transport infrastructure and lack of efficiency in the field of mobility, but our country is in the process of seriously changing the game through innovative initiatives and ambitious projects. The country is gearing up for a more sustainable future in which travel will be easier and more connected.
An electric revolution
The most striking trend in our country's development is the rise of electric vehicles. It's a development that has environmental as well as economic implications, since it's a transition that the government has had to take action on. This has been achieved by introducing tax breaks for owners of electric vehicles. A network of recharging points is also being developed across the country to facilitate this transition and make a further contribution to the environment.
Public transport, a sensitive issue
Every year, Belgium strives to improve its public transport network. Trams, metros and buses are being modernised, with major investments being made to extend lines, introduce new services and reduce waiting times and potential delays. The aim is to make the public transport sector more attractive and easier to use for all citizens. The aim? To help reduce road congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
Towards shared mobility
The surprising development of shared mobility platforms has also had an impact on the travel habits of Belgians. Self-service car-sharing, bicycle and scooter applications are gaining in popularity with the public. More flexible and economical, they offer practical alternatives to owning a private vehicle, contributing to greener cities.
A lot of investment is going into better traffic management systems, such as applications or smarter traffic lights. The aim of each initiative is to improve traffic flow and reduce journey times.
Brussels under the microscope
In terms of concrete measures, let's take the example of the city of Brussels, which is trying to motivate people to use soft mobility. Its actions include improving public transport services, developing cycling infrastructure, providing shared bikes (Villo!) and organising awareness-raising events such as Mobility Week.
The regional mobility authority, Bruxelles Mobilité, is responsible for this sector. Several plans have been drawn up and it is in collaboration with the regional authorities that Bruxelles Environnement is carrying out these various actions. The aim? To reduce pollution from road transport and encourage more environmentally-friendly alternatives. Here are a few examples:
- Monitoring company travel plans: any company in the Brussels region with more than 100 employees on the same site must draw up a plan. The plan involves carrying out a diagnosis and then taking measures to encourage visitors and employees to adopt more sustainable modes of travel. For example, there could be a bike park that complies with this requirement, or awareness-raising campaigns to encourage greener mobility.
- Promote a tool called "Ecoscore", which calculates the environmental performance of vehicles available on the Belgian market. This is an indication of how environmentally friendly a vehicle is, and can help you choose the one that's right for you. The same applies to car leasing.
- Have an emergency plan in the event of pollution peaks (SMOG), which involves taking measures to restrict car traffic in order to limit pollutant emissions.
- Promote walking and cycling through a programme called "maillage vert", which consists of creating and protecting green spaces to preserve the natural heritage and biodiversity but also to rebalance the differences that there may be between regions in terms of nature. The aim is to improve the quality of the landscape and encourage soft mobility.
As far as the future is concerned, we can say that it's a day-to-day job. A great deal of progress is being made and will continue to be made in the years to come, but the country is investing heavily in mobility in the search for a more sustainable future. Ambitious goals indeed, but the government is making a point of finding solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and develop cutting-edge infrastructure. All fine proof of its commitment to a more modern form of mobility that is more respectful of our planet.
Belgians are also increasingly open to changing their habits, with the switch to electric vehicles, greater use of public transport and the use of shared mobility platforms. A fine demonstration of their commitment to a more responsible society. A new era of mobility is gradually taking hold in our regions, and even if the challenges remain, it's safe to say that the next few years will be full of innovation!