Almost a quarter of Belgians (24%) plan to drive less by car during the corona crisis. Even more people (30%) have (re)discovered biking in the city and want to do it more often in the future. These trends appear from a survey by KBC, Het Laatste Nieuws and VTM Nieuws among 2,048 Belgians. How can our cities consolidate these good intentions?
🚴 Biking in the city: Dream to deed
The corona crisis has impacted us in many, many ways. Because of it, citizens are thinking more about their way of life, forcing them to change their behavior. In recent months, many people have been introduced to video conferencing and remote working for the first time in their lives. Others, on the other hand, discovered that biking in the city could replace many car journeys.
Leaving the car at home more often, making more journeys by bicycle or on foot: these are plans that the questioned Belgians indicated to have en masse. Still, we all know that there are some obstacles between dream and deed.
A quick think and you will reach two problems: heavy traffic and poor cycling infrastructure. What are our cities doing wrong? De Standaard researched it based on video images of the Nationalestraat in Antwerp. You would be scared away for less. 🤔
🙌 The good news? Our cities hold the key to supporting citizens in their good intentions.
🚃 Public support is here: use it!
A car-free zone in the city centre, the construction of new cycling infrastructure and regulated emission zones: is there enough public support for this? Well, it seems there is. To get an idea of what is possible, just look at Copenhagen, you’re biking in the city heaven.
There, the cycling policy has become an integral part of urban planning and design. In total, there are about 400km of 'bike lanes' in the Danish capital. The result: 62% of commuters cycle. And the city now has 5 times more bikes than cars.
Getting the support of the citizens is exemplary. But getting their commitment is much better. This can be done by convincing them to exchange their private car for a bicycle. How would you be able to do that? By promoting electric car sharing, for example, as the municipality of Bonheiden did, or giving discounts on bus subscriptions, such as Machelen; and even installing extra charging poles, such as Bilzen. In this way, citizens soon discover that they can save a lot of money and time.
Cities can go a step further by sharing their municipal fleet outside office hours. A win-win: you save costs on expensive fleet cars and promote sustainable mobility by setting a good example.
🏙️ Thirty (!) cities are already doing that. Curious about how to get started? Discover it in this blog article.
💡 Curious about what else you can do to (quickly) reduce emissions in your city? Discover it in this five-step plan.
☀️FutureproofedCities is an online tool that helps you collaborate with your team, peers and citizens to develop, monitor and implement your city’s climate plan.
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