[REX] The Good Move plan in Brussels: integrated management of urban mobility

[REX] The Good Move plan in Brussels: integrated management of urban mobility


The Good Move plan is the Brussels-Capital Region's new mobility strategy. Set up for the 2020-2030 period, its objective is to improve the living environment of the inhabitants and to support the demographic and economic evolution of the territory through mobility. This plan, which places the user at the heart of its reflection and which defends a new approach to the functions of roads, could well find an echo in our cities.

The Good Move plan succeeds the regional mobility plans Iris I (1998) and Iris II (2010). This new strategy is intended to be more comprehensive, more operational and more participatory. It is carried by the Brussels-Capital region (Belgium) in partnership with 4 public transport operators, the 19 municipalities of the region (which are the road managers), the regional administration, the environment agency and many local associations. . In total, more than 1,250,000 inhabitants and 162.38 km² are affected by the plan.

This plan is by essence consensual, ” testifies Bruno van Loveren, attached to the Mobility, Road Safety and Planning Department of the Brussels Capital Region. “ This forced us to leave the strict field of mobility to reinscribe it in a territorial vision. We have chosen to consider mobility as a tool rather than a problem. It is indeed an undeniable lever for improving air quality, the standard of living, the quality of public space, the attractiveness of the region, etc. »

The plan is broken down into six areas:

  • Good Neighbourhood : improving the quality of life of residents.
  • Good Network : ensuring efficient transport networks.
  • Good Service : offering residents and users of the territory a wide range of mobility services.
  • Good Choice : allowing each user to make the best possible travel choices.
  • Good Partner : ensure partnership governance of the plan.
  • Good Knowledge : generate and update mobility data as well as regularly evaluate the plan.

The user at the heart of the reflection

The great evolution of the Good Move plan is the place given to the user in the mobility strategy. Here, everything starts from him. “ The measures of the plan aim to provide each user with adapted, facilitated and integrated mobility solutions, allowing them to choose the most appropriate mode of travel for each of their journeys, according to their destination and their needs at a given time. given ”, explains the Brussels Mobility service on its website. To do this, the Brussels-Capital Region wishes to develop a digital offer that brings together the different means of transport (public transport, bicycle, scooter, walking, taxis, etc.) on a single interface.

In order to ensure the relevance of the plan for users, the latter were involved from the design stage. “ We carried out polls and online votes, we contacted local associations, we organized a debate with a panel of around forty citizens over three weeks ,”explains Bruno van Loveren. More than 8,000 people took part in the public inquiry: a success!“ Thanks to this work, we were able to know the expectations of citizens in terms of services, quality of public space. It turns out that when wesucceeds in establishing a framework for debate, it is possible to find consensus. »

Users are also involved in the implementation of the plan, in particular through associations. Among other things, they can express themselves via the regional mobility commission, which brings together all the stakeholders on the subject.

Rethinking the place of the car in the city

Like many other cities, Brussels wants to rethink the place of the car in its streets. “The problem is that it's often much more practical and comfortable to use a car than other transport solutions,” observes Bruno van Loveren. “This is why the Good Move plan has set itself the objective of offering credible alternatives to the car". The user must be able to find a level of service equivalent to car travel, without restricting his mobility.

This requires better coordination between operators, but also extensive awareness-raising work with users. The Brussels-Capital Region has thus carried out major campaigns on walking, it has approached schools and businesses, it has organized mobility challenges. Added to this are financial incentives: for example, users can benefit from a mobility bonus if they return their car license plate. This bonus can, for example, take the form of aid for the acquisition of a bicycle.

Be careful however ,” insists Bruno van Loveren,“ it is important to have an integrated approach at the scale of the territory when dealing with the car. It's not about taking cars from one street and putting them on the next street. Admittedly, it is important to eliminate parking spaces and put one-way traffic restrictions in order to have calmer streets, but if this is not accompanied by an overall approach, this risks shifting traffic elsewhere and be counterproductive. This is why the Brussels-Capital Region has decided to rethink the distribution of the functions of the roads on the scale of the territory.

For mobility adapted to the context of each street

In order to calm the streets of the Brussels-Capital Region, the Good Move plan defends a completely new approach to the functions of roads: specialization. This involves assigning a different role to each street, depending on its area and its context. This therefore requires a detailed knowledge of the territory and the needs of users. “We started from the observation that it was not tenable to have a juxtaposition of all the means of transport in each road,” explains Bruno van Loveren. “There just isn't room for cycling, car traffic and buses at the same time. This generates a lot of conflicts and risks for users". Thus, the Good Move plan has chosen to assume the specialization of streets. Some will be dedicated only to bicycles, others to public transport, and still others to cars.

This reflection on specialization does not stop at mobility. Indeed, it also offers the opportunity to redesign the streets for a more static use. “Streets and roads are perceived almost exclusively as spaces for circulation today,” observes Bruno van Loveren. “However, they can also be meeting places, where passers-by can stop. The space gained by removing the cars can be used for revegetation projects, children's games or even the extension of terraces!" Thus, in certain streets, the Good Move plan has planned not to replace former car lanes with bus lanes, as can be observed elsewhere, in order to preserve the space gained.

Towards a common management of public spaces?

Reflections on mobility have naturally led the Brussels administration to look into the reappropriation of public space and the street by citizens. “Transforming streets for mobility means asking: who takes care of the public space?" says Bruno van Loveren. “We have observed that a form of street co-management emerges when users are involved in the projects. For example, the associations that come to occupy the public space have a certain responsibility in the management of the road network". The Good Move plan aims to encourage this reappropriation. It is also accompanied by a series of calls for projects to promote such initiatives. “We defend a common approach, not the privatization of public space by the inhabitants,” explains Bruno van Loveren. “The Good move plan allows us to test this new approach to public space, we hope it will be a precursor for more sustainable dynamics,” he concludes.

 

Fernand Cocq: first peaceful district of the Brussels-Capital Region

The Fernand Cocq district, in the municipality of Ixelles (1050), is located just outside the historic center of Brussels. Consisting mainly of shops and housing, it was redeveloped between 2018 and 2019 to make it more peaceful.

The project followed 4 axes:

  • The establishment of a 30 zone throughout the district.
  • The establishment of a limited access area on the upper part : public transport and certain authorized vehicles can circulate there during the day. Deliveries are possible, but only in the morning.
  • The semi-pedestrianisation of the chaussée d'Ixelles : residents can however drive there by car, with a limit of 20 km/h. A bus line also passes through this road.
  • The establishment of a new traffic pattern.

This operation was part of a global approach. It was intended to improve the quality of life in Ixelles, to ensure a good connection between the various centers of the district, to improve public transport services and to revitalize commercial activity (centered around cafés, restaurants and terraces).

A few years later, the residents seem rather satisfied with the operation. They highlight in particular the improvement of their living environment, with a caveat, however, on the transfer of traffic to the surrounding axes during the day. Indeed, according to Luca Gironi in his dissertation on The impact of pedestrianization on central streets , produced at the Faculty of Applied Sciences of Liège, "some shopkeepers complainto have seen the capacity of their terrace reduced to the benefit of a more generous public space", while the local residents "mention the convivial side of seeing children appropriating the place and their renewed desire to go walk in the neighborhood ”, despite the fact that “some facilities are dangerous for cohabitation with infrastructures linked to public transport ”.

Building on its success, the Ferdinand Cocq district has served as a model for other developments, including that of the Athénée district in Ixelles, which began in 2021.

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