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Overcoming transport challenges in Antwerp through personal travel plans (Belgium)

By Yannick Bousse / Updated: 26 May 2015

Antwerp is facing huge road infrastructure works over several years, which will cause major disruption. For this reason, Antwerp is using the PTP-Cycle project to encourage as many people as possible to make smart and sustainable transport choices for their commuting habits by using personalised travel planning to affect a long-term behavioural change. In Antwerp, PTP-Cycle is being focused on employers and journeys to work. This strategy reaches thousands of individuals in a personal way, through face-to-face conversations and tailored travel advice. Impressive results have been achieved through effective cooperation with stakeholders, target workplaces and organisations.

Context 

Antwerp is the largest municipality in Flanders (Belgium) with 512 000 inhabitants over nine districts. By 2030 the population of Antwerp is expected to grow by 100 000. This will lead to many urban challenges, including personal mobility. During the morning rush-hour, there are an average of 48 685 inward journeys compared to 25 820 outward journeys, and 98 303 journeys within the city. The modal split of the 2014 mobility survey found that 58.6 per cent of all journeys are made by sustainable means, either on foot (15.3 per cent), by bike (28.9 per cent) or by public transport (14.4 per cent).The city already has a wide network of public transport modes (train, tram, buses) and is investing more in public transport. Improving connections by tram and bus are vital, due to the impact of huge road works starting in 2015. As a result, Antwerp is investing resources in promoting smart mobility choices.

In action 

To manage the road works and to encourage as many citizens and commuters in Antwerp as possible to make smarter travel choices, the Municipality of Antwerp is working with workplaces and organisations to reach as many people as possible. The first step is to get in touch with the management of the target organisation (for example the CEO, mobility co-ordinator, HR-manager, or facility manager), initially by phone, followed by a meeting. In light of the impending transport upheaval, companies are receptive to travel advice for employees. Once participation is agreed, the PTP-Cycle team supports the organisation by developing a mobility guide, tailor-made for the target organisation and their unique situation, and organising an event to announce the project and an information stand on the premises. Here, employees can have their personalised travel planning conversation and receive a tailored package of information and useful equipment, such as fluorescent jackets.

PTP-Cycle also makes use of 'champions' from within the organisation – passionate individuals who will advocate the project and its services to their peers. Before the PTP conversations, individuals are invited to fill in a baseline questionnaire. After the personal conversation, two surveys (short- and long-term) are sent to measure the change in behaviour. The results are shared with the employer and those employees who took part. At present, the project continues to target workplaces, universities and schools to reach thousands of people of change their mobility habits. Employers who have taken part so far are very enthusiastic about their collaboration with PTP-Cycle and the change it has created.

Results 

The city of Antwerp has been implementing PTP-Cycle in workplaces, universities and schools, so far contacting more than 1 000 individuals in different target groups. A full overview of the first short-term results of the project is expected in spring 2015. The project has received a positive reception from across target sites, especially given its timely response to major infrastructure changes and mobility challenges. Some organisations have been inspired to invest more in measures to increase active and smart mobility within their own organisation.

Challenges, opportunities and transferability 

It is important to have the full engagement of a target organisation. To get this commitment, it is useful to have a clear overview of the content of the project and of what we (as Antwerp PTP-Cycle team) and they (as the target organisation) are expected to do and to deliver during the project, based on a clear list of tasks. The PTP-Cycle methodology has proved especially effective for engaging employers who are keen to ensure their workers can easily get to work during major road works. Other cities and municipalities facing similar challenges can use PTP-Cycle as an effective measure to mitigate the impact of major projects.

The PTP-Cycle approach is tailored to each individual, allowing it to be flexible in how it is implemented. The project is highly transferrable because the information distributed is personalised to the recipient and can be adapted to any location. Some companies in Antwerp are so enthused by their results that they are planning to implement personalised travel planning in other locations. The project can also spread as organisations implement PTP themselves in other sites in the city or in other Belgian cities where they are located.

In Depth 
Contact: 
Region: 
Western Europe
Country: 
Belgium
City: 
Antwerp
26 May 2015
26 May 2015
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