Small links in a large network

Nine mobihubs or Park & Rides are scheduled by Werken aan de Ring. For the first three of these, work will start as early as spring 2020. But there's more. The Werkvennootschap is investing in mobihubs in East Flanders, Flemish Brabant and Antwerp, so that as many people as possible can choose the right journey at the right time, smoothly and combi-modally towards Brussels and the Brussels Periphery. Kaat Maes, project manager for Mobihubs within De Werkvennootschap, explains.

"Creating a mobihubs can help you take relatively quick steps towards sustainable mobility. The three mobihubs in Wezembeek-Oppem, Sint-Genesius-Rode and Vilvoorde, for which the work will start at the beginning of 2020, will soon be in use", Kaat says. "Together with various engineering offices, we are looking at how we can best set up the mobihubs.”

“Mobihubs are links that connect different mobility networks and facilitate switching between the different modes. So we are talking about a network logic”, Kaat continues. "Different networks connect to each other, and the mobihubs are the most important links. Transfer is facilitated, and people can discover for themselves what the best route is to get to their destination.”

Mobihubs are still relatively new in Flanders. "The purpose of a mobihub is to make it as easy as possible to change from one means of transport to another or to transfer within one means of transport. Whether it's from a tram to a bus or from a car to a train, there should be no obstacles for users to make the transfer. At the same time there also has to be a change in mentality," says Kaat. "And that's going to be a big challenge. Will travellers get out of their cars to continue their journey in a combi-modal way? A mobihub is a small but important link in the big story of the modal shift. It can be used to facilitate transfers between different transport networks and thus offer a fully-fledged alternative for part of the journey, but it is up to the traveller to make choices and up to the government to construct qualitative alternatives.”

Toolbox

In order to inspire as many interested parties as possible, the Government of Flanders put together a toolbox to specify a number of performance requirements. These requirements were framed to install qualitative mobipoints and aim not only at mobility but also at additional services, recognisability and spatial integration. “Not only governments but also companies and private individuals can work with this,” emphasises Kaat. “There are different types of mobipoints, from large to small. For example, a bus stop with a good quality bicycle shed is also a mobipoint."

Basic accessibility

The mobipoints are fully in line with the mobility vision of De Werkvennootschap and the Government of Flanders. This vision focuses on basic accessibility and strives for a multi-modal transport system in  which combined mobility and mobipoints play an integral role.

A modal shift in which the proportion of car traffic decreases in favour of the modes of public transport (or new forms of shared transport) and cycling is an absolute necessity to guarantee both economic growth and the accessibility and liveability of residential and employment areas in the future. One of the objectives of the Flemish Climate Policy Plan is also to develop a multi-modal transport system in which the aim is to achieve a share of sustainable modes of transport for the highly urbanised transport regions of Antwerp, Ghent and the Brussels Periphery, of at least 50%.