foto Peter Hilz (C)

Brussels scores poorly in transport survey

According to a study carried out on behalf of the environmentalist pressure group Greenpeace Brussels scores comparatively poorly when it comes to discouraging the use of cars and improving cyclist safety and public transport. Brussels is at or near to the bottom of the list of major European cities in four of the five categories of transport policy looked at in the study. An article about the study appears in Tuesday morning’s edition of the daily ‘De Morgen’.

In Brussels 40% of journeys are still made using private motor vehicle. Of the cities looked at in the study only the Italian capital Rome did worse.  Brussels is way down the list when it comes to public transport, active mobility (cycling and walking), road safety and transport management.

Low emission zone

Greenpeace’s transport expert Joeri Thijs told ‘De Morgen’ that "Too many people in Brussels still use their cars for short distances”.

“Then there are the commuters of course that come to work by car en masse because the tax incentives for company cars remain too favourable when compared with alternatives.

On 1 January Brussels introduced a low emission zone (LEZ)that banned the oldest (and dirtiest) diesel car from the entire Brussels-Capital Region.

"The LEZ is only the first step. Brussels should look to other cities such as Paris where diesel cars are to be banned from 2024 and a ban on petrol cars will be introduced 6 years later”, Mr Thijs added.

Public transport

Just under a third of journeys are made using public transport. This equates to 1 journey/day/resident. This puts Brussels next to last on the public transport use list.  This is despite public transport here being relatively affordable. However, the number of stops and the density of the network towards the edge of the city remain issues.

Cyclist safety remains an issue

Only London, Paris and Berlin, all of which are far bigger than Brussels have more cycle-share bikes than Brussels. However, just 3% of journeys in our capital city are made by bike.

This compares with 29% in the Danish capital Copenhagen. Brussels has 154km of cycle lanes compared with 416km in Copenhagen.

Road safety remains an issues with 221 cycle journeys out of 10,000 (2.21%) ending in accident.

Transport management

According to the survey Brussels also scores way down the list when it comes to transport management.  Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ the Brussels Minister responsible for transport Pascal Smet blamed commuters from other regions for the large number of cars on Brussels roads. Mr Smet added that they could perfectly well come to Brussels by train.

He also said that “administrative inertia” also played a part with responsibility for some aspects of transport policy being split between the municipalities and the region.

Mr Smet also called on the Federal Government to make the investment he believes to be necessary in the railways. "We have set aside 5.2 billion euro to invest in public transport over the next 10 years. 2 new tram lines will open. However, the Federal Government must also invest in it public transport”.