Mobility management in Belgian port areas
Faculty of Applied Economics
Mons , 2010
NECTAR cluster 1 Meeting on Networks: "From statics to dynamics: recent advances in network analysis and modelling", December 10-11, 2010 Mons Belgium
University of Antwerp
Over the years, port areas have grown away from city centres. These ports remain concentrations of employment; however, their accessibility for employees decreased. As a consequence, several initiatives from public and private actors have emerged to keep port areas accessible for employees. To illustrate the particularities of port areas, we first give some modal split and accessibility figures of large workplaces located in ports. These data are derived from the Belgian questionnaire home to work travel, which is mandatory for all employers with at least 100 employees. Next, using the same data source, we list the mobility management initiatives that companies in ports take to reduce the number of car commuters. These companies promote carpooling more than those in the rest of Belgium. Financial incentives on the other hand, are less popular at workplaces in ports. Bicycle facilities are common in this and other industrial type areas, but the most typical mobility management initiative is the organisation of own bus services by industrial companies. Especially employers in the chemical sector, have implemented for decades employer-provided transport services using buses. This type of employer mobility management recently came into the picture, since the Commuting Fund of the regional government of Flanders subsidises new bus services and the reorganisation and extension of existing ones. As a result, port areas take a large part of the subsidies in the Commuting Fund. Note that the sponsored projects are not limited to buses, but invest also in bicycle facilities and other sustainable commuting measures. This paper thus discusses mobility management practices in port areas. However, we also discuss the role that employers can play in the strive for a more sustainable commute in general, and the interdependencies with the transport policies of different public bodies. Indeed, besides private companies, also the municipal port authorities, and the provincial, regional and federal governments influence travel behaviour by a variety of instruments. The federal government promotes e.g. collective transport by a 120% tax deductibility, and the regional government subsidises some bus services. Furthermore, infrastructure managers may provide bus stops along their roads, and invest in bicycle paths, which can be subsidised by provincial governments. We thus describe how different actors invest in the employee-accessibility of ports. With this, the different approaches (subsidies, fiscal incentives,...) are discussed, with a focus on the role of employers.