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VIM Microsoft IBBT Mobile-for FPS Transport (Maritime) BSCA VIL B-Cargo De Scheepvaart NMBS-SNCB Bombardier NMBS-SNCB International Rabobank Ordina CFE-MBG BAM

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Kris Peeters Mark Keppens Katleen Marien Wim Vos Eddy Bruynickx Emile-Louis Bertrand Marc Huybrechts Wilfried Van Assche Ben Devis Luc Hooybergs Alex Van Breedam Ivan Van de Cloot Cathy Macharis Bart Jourqain Georges Allaert Willy Winkelmans

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Jo Versavel Chris Tampère Claude Van Rooten Philipp von Sahr Rob Van Essen Joost Kaesemans Richard Brown Steven Everaert Tom Dhollander Patrick D’haese Dirk Van Rompaey Daniel Termont Herwig Persoons Pascal Smet Willy Miermans Etienne Schouppe Koen Valgaeren

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Frank Boermeester

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Word from the editor In this third edition of The Fifth Conference, entitled MOVE, we look at Belgium’s future from a mobility perspective. We open with a reflection on some of the more fundamental mobility questions, for example, whether we have a ‘right’ to mobility and whether the government has the right to curtail our (individual) mobility. Kris Peeters, Minister-President of Flanders, offers his thoughts on the way we will move in the future. For example, will we be able to manage road traffic more intelligently, using technology, and that way create safer and less congested traffic conditions? Experts like Jo Versavel (Traficon) and innovation platforms like IBBT and the Flemish institute for sustainable mobility (VIM) show us what is possible. But also see what Tom Dhollander and the Voetgangersbeweging are doing to create safer school routes. Or is public transport the answer to the dual mobility challenge (i.e. road congestion and emissions)? Certainly it should be, according to experts like Willy Miermans, but the required investment in new infrastructure is colossal. The SNCB—lead sponsor of this edition—is investing at breakneck speed in new rolling stock. Infrabel is building the required infrastructure for the new Rapid Transit Rail system (GEN/RER network) around Brussels. And all eyes are on the De Lijn (and the Flemish government) to see whether it will go ahead and build its new interregional network—a network that it claims is demand-driven and focused on commuter routes. Or will we end up moving less, but more so in a virtual sense? Microsoft—also lead sponsor of this edition— presents three cases, including its own, that illustrate how we are moving toward a ‘new world of work’, where we become less office-bound but nevertheless more connected via technology. Kris Peeters also defends the Flemish government’s objective to develop this region into a logistical powerhouse. Authors like Alex Van Breedam (Tri-Vizor), Luc Hooybergs (Nike), Ben Devis (Hessenatie Logistics) and of course the VIL with its Extended Gateways plan show us what ‘intelligent’ logistics could look like. While Eddy Bruyninckx (Port of Antwerp) argues for continued investment in port infrastructure, economist Ivan Van de Cloot questions whether all this tax-payer funded investment is justified.

We finish off by looking at infrastructure and spatial planning—since mobility is simply an element of spatial planning. There is much controversy about the Oosterweel project, but it is important to note that the Antwerp Masterplan is in fact the most ambitious plan yet, that takes a truly integrated approach to the city’s mobility planning. While an individual project may not make the grade (in public acceptance) that does not mean we should throw out the overall approach to planning. On the contrary, we need more of it. Fortunately there is, as Herwig Persoons from Euro Immo Star explains. In this edition of The Fifth Conference there are many ideas for the future. Mobility concerns us all, both personally and professionally. Hence, we ought to understand the key issues, the key debates, the vision being offered; because decisions are being made today that will affect our lives in the years and decades ahead. In the months ahead you can expect more essential reading from The Fifth Conference. In December we publish GROW, where we focus on our country’s entrepreneurs. It is they who drive this economy and determine whether it will grow—to everybody’s benefit. We look at young ambitious entrepreneurs who are trying to build high-growth businesses. But we also talk to the owners of bigger, established companies, who manage to continue growing from a larger base. Finally, we look at the (eco)system—education, government support, finance, tax, social security, even culture—since it needs fixing. In 2010, The Fifth Conference will publish more editions. In MONEY, we will discuss how our financial system is evolving, and what it means to companies and individuals alike. In HEALTH, we look at where our healthcare system is going, or where it should be going. Technology trends—the CEO’s perspective—will be discussed in TECH. Other topics such as PEOPLE (education, talent management, culture, etc), SPACE (urban planning, workplace design, architecture, etc) and EUROPE will follow. These are all important topics that matter to our future. Let’s try to make the best of it.

Frank Boermeester Editor, The Fifth Conference


Contents 2|

The Movement Challenge 28 4|


Foreword by Marc Descheemaecker




The Movement Question 12


Gateway to Europe


Logistics Powerhouse (or not)



Roads & Traffic


Slaying the mobility dragon Kris Peeters 14

Building added value in the Antwerp harbour area Eddy Bruyninckx 34

“Beam me up, Scotty!” Ben Devis


Tomorrow’s traffic technology Jo Versavel


Smart travel and transport in Flanders VIM 16

Know. Apply. Grow. VIL

Microsoft moves into a new world of work Microsoft 18

We can only win with logistics if we can reduce its impact Luc Hooybergs 50

A call for a regional road network Chris Tampère 72

Dare to think out of the box Claude Van Rooten 75

Think out of the car, think out of the bus Mark Keppens 20

Reconsidering the ground rules of logistics Alex Van Breedam 52

The long road to better mobility Katleen Marien

Does logistics add sufficient value to justify subsidised infrastructure investment? Ivan Van de Cloot 53

The role of ICT in solving mobility challenges IBBT 22


Mobility in Flanders Wim Vos


A revolution in the making Mobile-for

The possibilities for Intermodal Transport in Belgium Cathy Macharis 56


Impact of container terminal locations on the efficiency of the European intermodal freight transport market Bart Jourquin 58

Investing in inland shipping De Scheepvaart nv 60

The Flemish area is unique for sustainable mobility Georges Allaert 62

Sustainable mobility: a dream or a necessity? Willy Winkelmans 64


Foreword by Phillip Vandervoort 11


Believe in collaboration between seaports and inland ports! Emile-Louis Bertrand

Belgium’s growing stature as a maritime nation FSP Transport (Maritime) 36

Deepening of the Scheldt without ships Marc Huybrechts 38

The 'miracle' of Brussels South Charleroi airport BSCA 40

The aviation hub in a changing market Wilfried Van Assche 42





10| 6|

Cleaner, Smarter Vehicles 76


Public Transport

Tomorrow’s motorcar Philipp von Sahr


Domestic passenger rail services NMBS/SNCB 88

The Future of Navigation and Location-Based Services Rob van Essen 82

Rail is the future Bombardier

No (sustainable) traffic without cars Joost Kaesemans



Moving through Europe by high-speed rail Richard Brown 92

SNCB International Services NMBS/SNCB




Virtual Mobility


The New World of Work Steven Everaert 98

Rabobank creates a flexible work environment Rabobank 100

Ordina creates the 7-day weekend Ordina 102


Leg Power


Infrastructure & Spatial Planning 110

Public engagement as a solution in the quest for sustainable mobility Tom Dhollander 106

Public Private Partnership model for infrastructural work in Belgium no unqualified success. Dirk Van Rompaey 112

Increased bicycle use demands implementation of a Supra-local Functional Cycle Route Network Patrick D’haese 108

CFE is working towards smoother mobility in the harbour CFE-MBG 114

Sustainable solutions for Antwerp's mobility challenges BAM 116

Ghent, a city pioneering sustainable mobility… Daniël Termont 118

Station surroundings are the new hotspots Herwig Persoons 119

Future vision of mobility in Brussels Pascal Smet 120

Mobility policy demands undogmatic thinking Willy Miermans 122




Sustainable mobility is a question of conviction and of solidarity Etienne Schouppe 126

Unlock the potential of data Koen Valgaeren 127

The Fifth Conference





Contributors Case Sponsors RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS



Eddy Bruyninckx

Managing Director

Brussels South Charleroi Airport

Mark Keppens

Senior Project Leader


Chris Vanhoegaerden Chairman

De Scheepvaart nv

Etienne Schouppe

Secretary of State for Mobility

FSP Mobility & Transport (Maritime Transport)

Claude Van Rooten

General Director


Steven Logghe



Werner Dekkers

Chief Development Officer

Mobility Management Company of Antwerp (BAM)

Patrick Derweduwen Director

VIL (Flemish Institute for Logistics)

Philipp Von Sahr

VIM (Flemish institute for sustainable mobility)

Johan Van den Bussche Chief Country Representative Benelux

Lead Sponsors Microsoft NMBS/SNCB

Léon Verhallen

Kris Peeters


Flemish Government

Arcadis Belgium

Eddy Bruyninckx

Managing Director

Antwerp Port Authority

Belgian Courier Association

Philipp Von Sahr


Mark Keppens

Senior Project Leader

Etienne Schouppe

Secretary of State for Mobility

Claude Van Rooten

General Director

Antwerp Port Authority

Belgian Federal Government Belgian Road Research Centre Be-Mobile

Wilfried Van Assche



Chris Tampère


BMW Belux

Daniel termont


Bombardier Transportation

Richard Brown


Herwig Persoons

General Director

Joost Kaesemans

Communication Director

Patrick D'haese

General Director

Pascal Smet

Previous Brussels Minister for Mobility

Koen Valgaeren

Managing Director

Bart Jourquin


Marc Huybrechts

Director Logistics Division

Ben Devis

Product Development Manager

Ivan Van de Cloot

Chief economist

Dirk Van Rompaey

Director Civil Works



Head of Airline Business Development

Filip Boelaert Deputy Chief Mobility Frank Vanden Bulcke Deputy Chief Public Works Chris Tampère Researcher Roger Kesteloot

Research Director

Willy Vandeurzen

Advisor Communication

Brussels Airport Cabinet of the Federal Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Environment & Consumers Cabinet of the Flemish Minister for Mobility, Social Economy & Equal Opportunities Catholic University of Leuven De Lijn De Scheepvaart

General Director

Peter Bonne


Michel Martens

Director Study Department

Patrick D'haese

General Director

Fernand Desmyter Secretary General

Brussels Airport Catholic University of Leuven City of Ghent Eurostar Eurostation, EuroImmoStar Febiac Fietsersbond Brussels Government Flemish Institute for Mobility

Emile-Louis Bertrand General Director

Liège port authority Microsoft Belux




Rob Van Essen

Vice President of Research and Development

Jo Versavel


Alex Van Breedam


Willy Winkelmans


Febiac Fietsersbond Flemish Department of Mobility and Public Works

Minister President

Flemish Government

Georges Allaert


Managing Director

Flemish Institute for Logistics

Willy Miermans

Director of the Institute for Traffic Science

Koen Valgaeren

Managing Director

Flemish Institute for Mobility

Luc De Schrijver

General Director

Marc Huybrechts

Director Logistics Division

Ben Devis

Product Development Manager

Dirk Van Rompaey

Director Civil Works

Stefan Hollands

General Manager Benelux

Frank Van Thillo


Luc Hooybergs


Wim Vos

Managing Director

GLS Belgium Distribution

Tom Dhollander


Gosselin Group

Katleen Marien

Advisor knowledge center

Hessenatie Logistics

Cathy Macharis


Jan De Nul Group



Nike EMEA DC Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association

Rudi Tegenbos Director Policy Research & Advice

Technum Tractebel Engineering

Rob Van Essen

Vice President of Research and Development

Jo Versavel


Alex Van Breedam


Willy Winkelmans


Georges Allaert


Willy Miermans

Director of the Institute for Traffic Science

University of Hasselt

Lode Vereeck


University of Hasselt

Wim Vos

Managing Director

Tom Dhollander


Katleen Marien

Advisor knowledge center

Cathy Macharis


Leo Clinckers

Managing Director

Itinera Institute Jan De Nul Group

Luc Hooybergs

Liesbeth Geysels

Hessenatie Logistics

Eurostation, EuroImmoStar

Kris Peeters

FUCAM Gosselin Group

Group Manager Information Worker


Peter Verstuyft Managing Director


Belgian Government Belgian Road Research Centre

Steven Everaert

Anne-Françoise Piette Sales & Marketing Director Herwig Persoons

BMW Belux Arcadis Belgium

Tele Atlas Traficon TriVizor University of Antwerp University of Ghent

VAB Voetgangersbeweging VOKA VUB (Free University Brussels) Waterwegen & Zeekanaal

Tele Atlas Traficon TriVizor University of Antwerp University of Ghent University of Hasselt VAB Voetgangersbeweging VOKA VUB



SNCB invests to meet growing demand

—Foreword by Marc Descheemaecker, CEO SNCB Each time you take the train to Brussels in the morning you experience the benefits of the train. You are able to prepare yourself, in comfort, for the work day ahead, while the car drivers find themselves in one of the numerous morning traffic jams nearing the capital city.

Exactly that feeling, that experience, reminds me daily about the challenge that we, the SNCB, are faced with: to become the mobility solution, by working each day on the quality of our service provision. Every day the traffic jams are increasing. Longer traffic jams are often a good reason to make the switch from car to train. Hence these longer traffic jams imply that there is still plenty of potential for the SNCB. While we cannot convince all car drivers to choose the train, I am absolutely convinced that we can convince a great proportion of them to make the switch. But, this we can do only if we provide these people with a correct service. Each year an external agency evaluates the diverse parameters of our service. And in each of these years there is one consistent result: our staff always receive the top scores. Improving our service is simply impossible without our 20,000 colleagues. Our people deliver quality work. Of that we can be proud!


Perhaps not every trip runs as smoothly as it should, and delays or other problems can cause frustration among our customers. We analyse these incidents and take technical measures where possible. SNCB also takes some of this frustration away by communicating properly about ‘the problem.’ People do not expect to hear about every detail, but they do expect information about the how and the what. That is why SNCB is investing in communication. Take, for example, the ‘Train Info Services’ that inform

passengers via SMS (or via the Windows Live platform) in real-time about possible delays or other problems. Or the emphasis we place among our staff on a customer-focussed approach. But SNCB invests in so much more. In 2008 we invested in more than 100,000 extra seats. Numerous new trains will appear on our network in the coming years, trains that comply with the most modern comfort criteria. Also we are expecting a new generation of locomotives. Thanks to the resources made available by government we are able to invest almost 500 million Euro per year in new trains! And those investments are paying off. Partly due to these modern trains our passenger numbers are increasing year after year. Ten years ago approximately 140 million travellers chose for the train. Today there are 217 million. That is a 55% increase! Clearly we are located in a growth market and to be able to meet the increasing demand it is essential that we properly manage our limited resources (government subsidy, other funds, staff, rolling stock). This often is a delicate task: there are financial critera, social commitments and public expectations to consider. When does SNCB decide to allocate an additional train on a specific link, or perhaps why doesn’t it? Why is a new railway stop opened in a specific location? Do we buy new trains, or do we modernise older trains? Who will perform the modernisation operation?

This reflection we do not only make in our most important sector, the domestic passenger services, but also in the two other sectors wherein we are active: cargo and international passenger services. In the first sector we work mainly with government funds: it concerns a service that government requests us to perform well. The two other sectors are commercial activities where we need to earn our bread ourselves. Hence, excess costs we no longer can carry. This requires a well-considered strategic approach. And ultimately the geographical location of our country is our greatest opportunity. Belgium is the European hub, thanks to the Port of Antwerp, the European administration in Brussels, and much more. Our freight division has for years now worked within a clearly demarcated strategy. Today we focus on our strengths, and we cancelled loss-making contracts. Furthermore, the liberalisation of the market is making Belgium prized game: the Port of Antwerp generates very attractive traffic for new and foreign operators. Via a solid strategy we want to be a strong Belgian freight operator, that can face the challenge of an intense competitive environment. In the sector of international passenger services SNCB chooses resolutely for the development of Brussels-South as the HighSpeed-Rail crossroads of Europe. This is why SNCB is partner in Thalys, Eurostar and Fyra, the new HSR operator for the Amsterdam connection—strong brands that are winning the battle

for market share against low cost airlines. These operators transport customers in record time from city centre to city centre, without the hassle of having to be very early for check-in, customs controls, etc. SNCB therefore has all the advantages in hand to become a strong player in the Belgian and European transport market. We have the resources, the right strategy and motivated staff. SNCB is committed to achieving our ambitions and to make improvements where we need to.


Mobility is a state of mind

—Foreword by Phillip Vandervoort, CEO Microsoft Belgium Last year, we drove 76 billion kilometers using 5 million cars. Thirty years ago, these figures were about half that. Yes, we are definitely becoming more mobile; in Belgium and in the world.

Not only in transport figures, but also as a society we are becoming more mobile. The times you worked at one company for your whole life are over. The times you work at one place from 9 to 5 are over as well. Globalization and digital technology have made our world a village. We work at any place, at any time from any device. Our youngsters, the so called Millenials, live by example. They have known digital devices all their lives. Their way of living is totally different to what the babyboomers experienced in their youth. They mail, they chat, they send SMSs and preferably simultaneously and together with a couple of friends. They use their tools to stay connected with their world; both for school and privately. These youngsters are now entering the workplace, and they expect the same tools they have been using all their lives. These tools do exist now in professional life, and slowly, gradually, our businesses are

exploring their full potential. Subsidiaries are linked to the central systems as if they were in the same building. Workers on the road can sync their latest data in real time. And all data can be put in the cloud so they are available for everybody who needs them wherever his or her location is. At Microsoft we think we bring to the market the tools for the current generation of information workers. We know that it's not the devices you work on that are important, but the availability of your data, whether it's sales statistics, planning documents or presentations. That is why Microsoft built a platform where all files can be generated, data can be stored, and decisions can be made quickly. ERP systems are running on real or virtual servers and are controlled from the laptop in a familiar Microsoft Office interface; the same interface that is running on the Windows Phones for professionals on

the road. This is the power of a real professional platform for mobile professionals. It is Microsoft’s answer to the needs of the new World of Work. Our company indeed offers the tools to work from any place, on any device, at any time. Today’s workers are more mobile than ever, in location and timing. But they don’t need to commute to that same building anymore, queuing at 8.30 in the morning and at 6 in the evening. Because today, a boss who reprimands a worker coming in later than 8.30, can expect the answer: “Why did I have to be here at 8.30. What happened at that time?”


1| The Movement Question R

eflect a moment on your movement—and the movement you cause in the background. Perhaps you drove your youngest to the crèche this morning (the eldest cycled to school), then on to work, where you probably spent anything between thirty minutes to an hour queuing on an E-highway or standing in a packed IC train to Brussels. Back at home the rubbish collection lorry passed by, followed by the postman. To make an 11 o’clock meeting at a client, you departed at 10 o’clock, since you never know, given the traffic. In the mean time the goods you design/produce/market/ sell / regulate [fill in as needed] and of course consume are thundering across the European landscape. Perhaps it’s your turn to fetch the child, back on that E-highway with its structural jams, but you managed to lob a few minutes off the trip due to the back roads you know. Then with toddler off to the supermarket quick —bread needed for tomorrow. Home just in time to welcome the babysitter (who cycled here), since it’s romantic dinner time—back to the city with your beloved... No wonder they call mobility the lubricant of society. A pity, therefore, that nearly all that mobility is under threat. Mobility is a pretty fundamental issue. It raises a number of key questions both about the lifestyle and sort of economy we want in this country. Perhaps most fundamentally, one can pose questions about the extent to which mobility is a citizen’s right. As Lode Vereeck reflected in a TIJD opinion piece1, should it mean we have the right to public transport within 500 meters of one’s home (as it is legally defined in Flanders today), or should it be the right to travel freely, without toll or excessive congestion, on our country’s roads? What type of mobility do we want, asks Professor Vereeck, one that supports individual freedom and emancipation, or one that stifles it? Other mobility experts, like Willy Miermans, take a different tack by arguing that the great emancipator, the car, has ended up stifling freedom in so many other ways—the right to walk, cycle and play without fear, the right to breathe clean air, the right to peace and quiet. Individual mobility has reached its limits. If we want to avoid total gridlock, argues Miermans, then we will need to drastically re-orientate towards public transport. Mobility is a fundamental issue because it presents us with questions about individual freedom, about the acceptability of ‘collectivist’ solutions, about the power of government to control the way we move, to stifle free movement or, as others see it, to protect us from impending immobility.


Mobility is about our lifestyle and urban spaces. Who remembers downtown Ghent or Leuven back in the 70s 1) Tijd, 18 nov 2008

and 80s? When ambling along the quite civility of the Graslei today, one cannot imagine the grimy, cramped feel of the place when the car dominated this area. Back then it made sense to take flight to the suburbs. Today the opposite is increasingly true. During rush hour the suburb’s quiet lanes are used by harassed commuters in their Audis, as they seek to avoid jams on the N- and E-routes. In the process they create jams at the exit points of the suburb in the morning and raise stress levels of anxious parents in the afternoon. Trapped in the suburbs! Change is clearly afoot, but not everywhere. Cyclists in Brussels still have a look of wounded prey about them. Mobility is also about prosperity. As the proponents of Flanders’ strategic plan ‘Flanders in Action’ argue, we have little option economically but to exploit our location at the heart of Europe and our existing infrastructure. Our readers know the mantras well: we’re the ‘cross roads’, the ‘gateway’ and now the ‘intelligent pivot point’ of Europe. According to the National Bank of Belgium, logistical activities (in the broadest sense) represent about 8% of our GDP and an equally significant share of the country’s jobs.2 If you look at it from the perspective of the country’s sea ports (and thus include maritime-related industry, such as petrochemicals), then it represents about 10% of GDP.3 Most (pre-crisis) forecasts predicted continued and massive growth in

Free at last

goods traffic in this country,4 driven by growth in global trade and continued expansion of the port of Antwerp. The challenge is to manage this traffic intelligently via multimodal networks and to focus on value-added logistics that create jobs. More, we need to stimulate innovation in transport, not only to solve 2) Nationale Bank Van Belgie. Economisch belang van de vervoerslogistiek in België – verslag 2005. Persbericht 2008-01-09. 3) Nationale Bank Van Belgie. Economisch belang van de Belgische havens: Vlaamse zeehavens, Luiks havencomplex en haven van Brussel - Verslag 2006. Persbericht 2008-06-26. 4) Federaal Planbureau. Langetermijn vooruitzichten van transport in België: Referentiescenario en twee beleidsscenario’s. 30/06/2008


our own mobility problems, but to create new companies that are able to sell their expertise and technology abroad. Why not develop a ‘mobility tech’ industry, akin to our biotech and clean tech industries? These types of arguments may make sense to many entrepreneurs and political leaders in this country, but not so to three of the country’s leading economists, Geert Noels, Ivan Van de Cloot and Etienne de Callataÿ, who question whether logistical activity is sufficiently valuable to the economy, given its substantial costs (in subsidised infrastructure investment, in congestion, in pollution, etc).5


Decisions are being made today that will influence our prosperity and quality of life in the years and decades ahead.

Prosperity is not only about logistics, it is also more simply about being able to get to work. According to the Flemish Traffic Centre, we are losing 9 to 10 million hours a year to traffic jams, translating into a cost of about 250 million Euro annually. But congestion is likely to get worse, much worse, if the Port of Antwerp does indeed manage to get its new container docks (one is built, one is planned) running at full capacity. What impact will this increase in logistical activity have on the rest of the economy, on our air quality, on our quality of life? Will we be able to capture sufficient future economic value to warrant the investments being made today? In this edition of The Fifth Conference we take a closer look at the mobility question. The point should be clear: 5) See Geert Noels’ blog for discussion on this topic

Our economic future?

mobility is a fundamental challenge for this country. Decisions are being made today that will influence our prosperity and quality of life in the years and decades ahead. But the mobility challenge is a complex one— there are no easy answers here, to think otherwise is sheer delusion, as the following chapters will show. Hence the need for honest debate and vision. It’s our future after all.

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question

Slaying the mobility dragon

—In conversation with Kris Peeters


We have work to do, that much is clear. If we take a ‘business as usual’ approach to our mobility situation, then within a few years we’ll be driving at 30km/h. Indeed, it is a frightening thought that our increasing mobility could in fact lead to immobility, bringing us all to standstill. That is why we need to be proactive in managing the mobility challenges of the coming decades. In this the government has a clear responsibility; according to Kris Peeters, government must have the courage to make innovative choices to prevent Flanders from choking on its own mobility. Looking at it from the long-term, how do you see us tackling the mobility challenges in this country? I think there will be a lot more reflection about our personal mobility. We will more often ask ourselves the question whether making a journey is really necessary, and if so, how we should best approach that journey, by car, by public transport, the timing too. Cost will be an important element in this—certainly with measures such as road pricing— but also the environmental cost will be considered. The alternatives will get more interesting too, just think of the new audiovisual communication technologies, internet, etc. Perhaps we’ll even be moving toward less mobility. The management of our road capacity will also change. At the moment we all drive to and from work at the same time. We all take our kids to school at the same time. Freight too

is all too often still forced to move about during the peak times. We need to spread that traffic out more. There is so much spare capacity on our roads during non-peak times, especially at night— we need to exploit that capacity better. We’ve got projects in place to explore these opportunities. It must be possible to get more lorries off the road during peak hours by means of better arrangements with ports and distributors. Also, distribution in the cities could be organised differently. New transport modes will probably be introduced too, for example, pipelines for moving goods. A lot has been said about this but it should really be explored. In a densely populated area such as Flanders this makes a lot of sense. We also already have serious knowhow in this area. Public transport is another key area. A lot of work has been done here. We have tried to guarantee basic mobility by giving people access to public transport within 500 metres of their door. Admittedly, we need to move away from this approach and focus more on the urban environment, on quality, on punctuality, on safety; those are the success factors to make public transport more dynamic. It strikes us that policy in this area is difficult, because it involves so many different domains, urban planning, environment, energy, logistics and the economy, etc... Obviously there is no silver bullet solution here. This is why it is so important to address mobility issues carefully and very pragmatically, to look for good policy measures by trying them out. Even with the best research and studies it is

crazy to simply churn out new legislation. That’s why I am a great believer in pilot projects to test things out. The Dutch are pretty good at this. In the past this has worked well, for example, the 70 km/h speed in the Kennedy Tunnel. The super trucks should also have been tested, perhaps we still can. It is so important to try new measures out first, in the real world, before we turn them into legislation. That’s because mobility is like a dragon with many heads: if you think that you’re solving one problem, a new problem pops up a few metres away. In our conversations with others in the mobility world, we hear a lot about how well other countries do. Think of the Dutch with their roads and cycle paths, the Swiss and their trains. In Flanders’ strategic plan (Flanders in Action - VIA) logistics is a key focus area. Is this our attempt, our answer

to making this country a benchmark case in the world of transport? We already are to a certain degree. I can assure you, if you enter Flanders via the Port of Antwerp you definitely get that wow effect. Sure, we have to compare ourselves to other countries—it keeps us focussed—but it is important to understand the unique context too. Every country organised its available space and transport infrastructure according to its own needs, context, and challenges. We’re unique in that sense too. And we have to be honest about our strengths. We have a worldclass port in which we invest very heavily—the dredging alone costs millions per year. The same goes for our inland waterways—this is unique infrastructure. Our rail network too, sure there is room for improvement here, especially in freight services, but nevertheless it is a great deal of infrastructure. With

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question

VIA we are saying that we need to exploit this investment, this infrastructure, our unique location. To not do so, to let it simply slide, would be a capital mistake. Our investments need to deliver an economic return. But what we’re also saying with VIA is that it isn’t about quantity but about quality. That’s why we’re calling it intelligent logistics. We are looking for logistics with added value. Logistics has become a very sophisticated business, a great deal is happening in that world.

expectations too high? Higher than what the ports have in mind? We have two major ports (Antwerp and Zeebrugge), and Ghent and Ostend are pretty significant too, in such a small area. That is pretty unique internationally. Surely it makes sense that the ports have a constructive working relationship? I think there was some anxiety about the initiative that we wanted to create a single super port, to reduce their autonomy. Therefore we’ve approached it very gradually, stepwise,

It's so important to try new measures out first, in the real world, before we turn them into legislation Let’s talk about public private partnerships (PPP) for infrastructure development. We have spoken to proponents and detractors—what is your view on the matter? In Flanders we started with PPP a little later than other countries, and — with hindsight — we launched into it a little too enthusiastically. We immediately opted for very complex PPP constructions, such as the Antwerp Masterplan. But in the past five years we have learned a great deal, we all have, the contractors too. The conclusion after five years of PPP is that this instrument must be used in the future too, but we will be more careful, and better prepared. We know a lot more about risk management, about ‘best practices’ and standards in this area. How is the cooperation between the ports going? You took an initiative there with Flanders Port Area. Are your

to explore areas for better cooperation. The trade missions abroad have been very useful in that regard. And who would have thought back then that we’re now seeing such cooperation on the financing of the locks for the waterways. One of the criticisms we’ve heard is that there is a need for more integrated policy across the various governments— the regions, the federal government... I’ve said it before; the colour of the cat doesn’t matter, as long as it catches mice. We need to approach this very pragmatically. It makes no sense to get stuck in heavy political discussions. In some areas it makes sense that we take the initiative (as we are with Flanders in Action), in others it makes sense that Brussels does, or the federal government. We need to address the challenges very practically. We’re a complex country. People abroad look at us

with interest in the way we organise things here. Indeed, there are some interesting constructions, for example, the distinction between a region and a community. But I think this has worked so far because we could afford it. Looking ahead though, I doubt whether this is a sustainable way of managing our challenges, it is simply unaffordable. But in the mean time I think it’s best to tackle things very pragmatically. In conclusion, do you have any suggestions for business? How can companies prepare for the changes in our mobility situation? Most companies already realise that mobility comes at a cost, and that this cost will only increase, especially as the environmental cost begins to be factored in more. Thus the challenge for companies will be how to manage their mobility more intelligently. This needs to be done more proactively. There is an opportunity in this too, for companies that want to develop smart solutions in mobility and logistics. We at the level of policy have a responsibility to offer a framework, via infrastructure, via road pricing, but also by not being afraid to innovate and trying out new things. But this applies just as much to companies, who need to think up new solutions using the resources and intelligence they have access too.

Kris Peeters is Minister-President of Flanders

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE CLEAN - The movement question

Smart travel and transport in Flanders —VIM’s role in demand-driven solutions

Congestion and environmental issues have become major concerns in densely populated regions such as Flanders. With traffic volumes expected to grow in years to come, the implications for the economy and society are profound. It is clear that innovative thinking is needed, and urgently so. VIM - the Flanders institute for sustainable mobility is working on smart solutions for sustainable mobility in close collaboration with companies, knowledge centres, umbrella organisations and local authorities. Our ability to move people and goods in an efficient manner is critical to the socio-economic development of Flanders. It is striking that today there are numerous stakeholders involved in the mobility debate, all looking for solutions. But while there is much expertise present at numerous knowledge centres in Flanders, we must recognise that companies are not yet sufficiently involved in truly innovative solutions. Yet it is companies who understand the key mobility challenges like no other. In 2007, the Flanders institute for sustainable mobility was launched, to act as a platform for innovation in mobility. The institute set itself the task to develop new products and services for smart travel and transport in Flanders. Its mission – to realise sustainable mobility via innovative solutions and knowledge distribution came from the industry itself.

ics, finance & insurance, leasing, transport & logistics and infrastructure. Other participants include umbrella organisations, local authorities and knowledge centres such as universities and research institutes.


Innovation has made us more mobile in the first place. Now it’s time to use innovation to turn the impending immobility back into mobility.

Demand-side innovation


The input from companies is crucial to the success of the institute, ensuring that solutions are demand driven and meet the needs of a broad range of companies. Innovative ideas evolve into concrete projects with specific, measurable and realistic objectives. With VIM managing the projects and fronting up to 80% of the total cost, stakeholders can count on all efforts being focussed on tangible results. The investment of the remaining 20% in each project is covered by the respective user groups. Networking and think tanks are essential to the development of smart and multidisciplinary solutions. Members of the institute develop ideas by interacting with peers across a range of sectors, giving them access to contacts and knowledge pools across the entire VIM network. Today the institute counts more than 150 members from a broad range of sectors such as ICT, automotive, consulting & engineering, telemat-

Multi-actor approach If you’re going to be successful in creating smart mobility solutions involving themes such as multimodal transport, sustainable cities and new vehicle concepts, the role of technology and data is absolutely pivotal. Also, it is essential to adopt a more integrated approach to passenger transport, goods transport and infrastructure. When working towards sustainable cities, for example, the goal is to maximise both their accessibility and their residents’ quality of life, and in this way safeguard their socio-economic function. In that regard it is essential that there is an optimal infrastructure and effective public transport offering, which enable a seamless switch between different transport modes. Also key are a well-planned parking policy and the bundling of goods transport for the supply of shops and offices.

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question


++ Independent organisation that implements sustainable mobility solutions ++ Counts more than 160 members from various sectors ++ Offers financial resources and expertise to put new ideas into effect ++

The multi-actor approach of VIM (the platform approach) implies that all areas of sustainable mobility can be tackled simultaneously. Few other initiatives come close to doing that. Stakeholders from diverse sectors and backgrounds join forces to build concrete solutions for the congestion problem in Flanders. The result is a wide array of innovative projects in passenger transport, infrastructure and goods transport. While some of the VIM initiatives translate into tangible projects on the ground, others work more in the background, in a supportive role.

Sense of urgency Because congestion affects everyone, the effort and cost of solving this problem is too steep for companies or knowledge centres alone, no matter how dedicated. The need for immediate and constructive collaboration between stakeholders is apparent. Innovation has made us more mobile in the first place. Now it’s time to use innovation to turn the impending immobility back into mobility. This can be achieved by joining forces, combining great ideas and spreading best practice.

Working on tomorrow’s mobility A major VIM project concerns urban distribution. Big city districts have to deal with congestion and pollution, jeopardising the quality of urban life. As a sustainable solution to this challenge, D-via aims at bundling goods traffic to urban centres. Another initiative in the goods transport area is Eurotranscon, a dynamic ICT platform designed to optimise container traffic by road. Empty containers—instead of being transported back to their point of origin are being reloaded in the vicinity of their drop off points for new trips. But it’s not just traffic that causes congestion. Road works can take a severe toll on the mobility of goods and people. Two projects initiated by VIM, aimed at minimising the nuisance of road works and increasing safety for all concerned, focus on best practices, transparency and road availability when infrastructure is being (re)built. Other initiatives such as I bike I move converting short distance commuters to bicycle usage and Ipark4U—where drivers can locate and pay for parking spaces near their destinations via their navigation system—all add up to make a significant and lasting change to mobility in the future.

The Fifth Conference with

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question

Microsoft moves into a new world of work It’s always interesting to see a good company take bold steps. So it is with Microsoft Belgium. In 2008 the company moved into its new offices in Zaventem and in the process changed the way its people work. This is a daring move. For several years now the company has received accolades for its ‘top employer’ status. So why change a good thing? It all comes down to Microsoft ’s commitment to the ‘new world of work,’ a philosophy that Microsoft has been thinking and communicating about for some time. In fact, it informs much of the company’s product development strategy. Therefore, it only makes sense that the company practices what it preaches.

So what is the new world of work all about? Living in contemporary society means participating in a multifaceted social reality, where work and personal lives overlap to such a degree that at times they are indistinguishable. Gone is the structured ordered civility that heralded the 1950s, replaced with a constantly shifting and evolving social paradigm. Gone are the days of sitting behind the same desk for 50 years; plugging away at the same tasks day in and day out. This is a good thing. The new world of work environment is as foreign to this idea as it gets. This new zeitgeist can be traced back to the Orwellesque year of 1984, when the personal computer was first born and launched at the mass consumer market. People born after 1984 have never lived without a computer; they’ve always taken the hard earned benefits of global digital sophistication and communication in their stride—and now they’re entering the workforce. How can we expect these so-called digital natives to sit in front of a desk for 8 hours after wrestling their way through traffic jams and the other complexities of modern life and then further expect them to do their jobs without the tools that are second nature to them (the internet, MSN, etc.)? Microsoft’s answer to this is simple: you can’t. Taking cognisance of the fact that the war for talent is very much alive, especially in knowledge-intensive sectors like IT, the company is taking aim at being top of the pile, and to do this they’re preparing the work environment accordingly. This is a radical paradigm shift; employees don’t get used to their work environment, it gets used to them.


Microsoft moved into new offices in Zaventem, but in reality they moved into an entirely new way of working: employees can decide for themselves where and how they want to work. Practically speaking, the 50 year desk jockey would feel absolutely dislocated in this new habitat: no one has a fixed desk or phone (not even the general manager), and all staff use laptops to work

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question



Microsoft Belgium wins top employer award, three times ++

Employees can decide for

themselves where, when and how they want to work ++

where and when they find it suitable. Microsoft Belgium’s General Manager Phillip Vandervoort says the company has been using the new world of work technology for some time, but the move to the new offices signifies a much more radical change. The point was to redesign the office environment for what it’s actually used for—and today that’s mainly meetings—everything else can happen anywhere anytime on any device... This means that half of the new office is used for meeting rooms (52 in total), with only 244 workplaces for more than 300 employees.


This is the point where we stop trying to fine-tune the old work environment to today’s world but where we instead redesign its very foundations.

With all data stored centrally, access can literally take place from anywhere at any time, which means no one is compelled to sit in the office for 8 hours. Users can carry on working wherever they are, since the technology is accessible via PC, the web and via mobile devices. Thus, just because you might not be at work doesn’t mean you’re cut off from your colleagues. Communication is always possible via electronic means (while calls and messaging take place via pc, both can be forwarded to mobile devices). Staff can contact each other via a chat program, with the ability to automatically switch over to voice (via telephone or pc) or video at any time, which means you can always choose the most effective channel of communication appropriate to the circumstances.

While some of the benefits of this strategy are immediately obvious (such as saving 270,000 Euros in travel and telephony costs in just 3 months), this isn’t the driving force behind the change—it comes down to the adherence to a longer-term strategy: to be the top employer by means of fully adapting to the new world of work. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this stimulating new world is that it’s not actually expensive, even for your average SME. In fact, the central piece of communication infrastructure (other than a decent network) is a 360 degree angle telephone camera, costing between 2,000 to 3,000 Euros (compare this to classic videoconferencing equipment easily costing 15,000 Euros plus); the rest of the change is achieved primarily via software—with the use of key products such as Microsoft Exchange, Office Communications Server and SharePoint, and what better way to demonstrate their efficacy than at the company’s own offices. While there are as mentioned immediate cost savings (roughly 70% on communications and 25% on travel), there are obstacles, the biggest of which is the required attitudinal shift. Animals that have their cages opened and are allowed to run free almost never immediately dash off into the savannah—it seems almost too good to be true. Trying to convince a manager that monitoring an employee’s performance isn’t necessarily dependent on hours spent at the office is also a tough wall to scale. It is, however, clearly feasible. At Microsoft, this process of ‘change management’ only took a few months. Staff quickly became competent users of the technology and learned how to work productively from home or other remote locations. Instrumental in this regard were the various training sessions that were organised for all staff and the small ‘bible’ with instructions and tips for the first week. That first week is especially crucial: it is then that people need to be put at ease by showing that everything is under control and successfully on track.

Change clearly is afoot, and not just at Microsoft. With traffic congestion and public transport issues spiralling out of control, many companies have already made informal policy shifts to allow some people to work from home time-to-time (even the most traditional of managers can be convinced that this trumps sitting in the traffic doing nothing). While yet other companies have taken this to the point of formalising a home/tele-working regime, few have taken the next logical step—to redesign their offices around this new way of working. This is the point where we stop trying to fine-tune the old work environment to today’s world but where we instead redesign its very foundations. Microsoft has taken the leap, and it’s paying off. Staff are enthusiastic, productivity is on the up, and, perhaps not surprisingly, they again won the Best Employer award.

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THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question

Think out of the car, think out of the bus —Mark Keppens

I am convinced that mobility is a shared responsibility: besides organising or arranging to organise the transport system, government has an important task to make users and companies aware of good “mobility hygiene”. We can draw an analogy between mobility hygiene and the use of our back: both are about making wellconsidered choices of movement. Crucial in this regard is the choice in locating one’s business, residence and work. Next, one needs to consider whether one needs to travel and, if so, when, how and, finally, how one behaves during this journey? Just by posing these questions the shoe begins to pinch: we hardly do it. In our busy lives where we have to make choices from morning till night, using the car is a moment of peace in this ‘race of choices’. We apparently accept the mobility pains of this convenience solution as a necessary evil. Providing answers to these questions is the essence of a modern mobility system. What should it look like? First, one should be careful about comparing traffic flows with data traffic in, for example, the telecommunication sector. Concepts for giving precedence to priority data traffic, evolving from a hierarchical to a parallel network, seem to be readily applicable in relation to our mobility. However, there is a crucial difference here: mobility is about people, not about anonymous and voiceless bits and bytes. I am therefore in favour of moving from an anthropogenic to a more natural mobility

system. Inspiration for this can be found in ‘permaculture’. This is a design principle for living environments that seek to achieve the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. Essential in this regard is the use of technical knowledge. For a mobility system this translates into the following elements:

1. Use of the STOP principle. This determines how an efficient transport system can be designed within the available space. Such design is based on the following order of priority: ++ Strolling (pedestrians) ++ Treading (cyclists) ++ Organised transport (privately or publicly organised) ++ Private transport (individual transport) An illustration of a STOP-type design is provided by the transport system in a Flemish coastal municipality. This system has to be capable of processing large transport flows during the sunny summer months. This means that the design at beach and dike level, where the transport demand is highest, is aimed at pedestrians and then at cyclists. There is often no space to organise reliable public transport. For private transport there is only space to a limited degree (access to private parking garages, loading and unloading, emergency services...). These motorised means of transport gradually find their place a little further away.

2. Balance between speed and reliability. The latter includes road safety (does one survive the journey) and reliability of journey time (does the actual journey time correspond with the assumed time). In my view the system should be aimed at providing maximum reliability to users. For example, local developments should not have direct right of way to a through road. The object, after all, is to achieve a smooth traffic flow. What is important to eliminate during road works is not so much the average duration of the delay but the peaks.

improving reliability on the one hand and protecting the secondary roads against ratrace traffic on the other. Illustration: from lattice structure to tree structure

Lattice structure

Tree structure

3. Structured network design Although our road network is very extensive, it is mainly unstructured. There are historical reasons for this. When village roads no longer met transport needs, paved roads (“steenwegen”) were constructed. Along these through roads, however, important local developments took place, giving rise to the need to build motorways. Because of this a lattice structure of different road types came into existence. The Spatial Structure Plan for Flanders (1997) already indicated the need to evolve towards a tree structure. After all, if the intended through routes cannot provide satisfactory transport mobility, drivers think that this mobility can be found in the secondary road network, resulting in rat-race traffic. This tree structure demands an areafocused approach aimed at

Illustration: STOP design coastal municipality




S T (P)

(Residential) shopping street

S T O (P)

Through road

(O ) P





Almost daily we experience mobility pains during our journeys; injuries – even fatalities – as a result of accidents or road rage and frustration due to traffic jams, delays or the road conduct of others. People and companies easily point the finger at government. Is this justified and can one expect the government to “solve” it all?

80% of Flemish households own at least 1 car that is only used for as little as 1% of capacity 4. Introducing new technologies. The government must have the courage to abandon traditional vehicle types (car, bus and tram) and transport concepts. Here one should focus on collectivising private transport. After all, the present transport system is aimed at the optimal organisation of transport at individual and company level, but unfortunately not yet at the system level. The ground to be developed for optimisation is huge: 80% of Flemish households own at least 1 car that is only used for as little as 1% of capacity (available time & seat occupancy). Data collection and use of new means of communication will be the foundations on which the transport concepts of the future will be built. The challenge for the government is to create such a modern mobility system (think out of the bus) and the users to use it (think out of the car)

Mark Keppens is senior advisor for transport and mobility with Arcadis Belgium and the first Doctor of Transport Studies in Belgium

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question

The long road to better mobility

—Katleen Marien

Every day people make hundreds of choices. Some need to be made again each day, others only on occasion. Each day we can choose afresh whether we bake our own bread, or whether we ‘outsource’ it and fetch it from the baker. Here we always want the best price/quality ratio. But often our choice is not the ‘optimal’ choice. The reasons for this can vary but include, for example, lack of information, time, personal preference, availability, budget ... This applies to our choices in relation to food, clothes, but also our mobility choices. Where do we work and how do we get there? By bike, car, bus or train? Do we visit distant friends and how do we get there? To move around we very often use the car. According to the new OVG (Travel Survey) for Flanders, we use the car for almost two-thirds of our journeys. It is possible that the car is not always the best choice in terms of price/quality, but the car definitely has a number of characteristics in its favour such as availability at all times of the day for every journey. Public policy has different ways of influencing this choice. To this end it can strike and appease, tax or subsidise. And nowadays it does this a lot. The Belgian state collects 4 billion Euros per annum in excise duties on vehicle fuels. The various regions together collect 1.8 billion Euros per annum in road taxes. Of this 1.17 billion Euros is for Flanders. On the other hand the Flemish region has subsidised De Lijn (the tram & bus operator) to the tune of approximately one billion euro per annum. As a result the actual cost price per passenger is kept down and using public transport becomes more attractive. Currently the cost price ratio of De Lijn is less than 14%. In other words, the average user pays just 14% of the cost price of a journey.

All our choices combined mean that about 125 billion passenger kilometres (2005) and about 39 billion ton-kilometres are travelled in Belgium each year. By 2030 the Federal Planning Bureau expects growth of 30% in passenger transport and growth of about 60% in goods transport. This growth in passenger and goods transport will have to be absorbed by our transport system. It is therefore of crucial importance to ensure that everybody has access to the right information at the right time and that public policy “strikes and appeases” optimally. Spatial planning is very important in this. Good spacial planning can optimise the number of journeys and the distance covered. As far as that is concerned we have unfortunately inherited a weighty legacy that we cannot simply change overnight. But the organisation of transport by road, rail and inland shipping will also need to become more efficient so that everyone and everything can reach their destination on time….

study produced a number of remarkable results. Firstly it was shown that if people no longer had a company car 26% of them would no longer go to work by car. The majority of these (10-17%) would go by train, the rest by bike or car pool, one or two by bus, by tram or on foot. The most important reasons for not using public transport to go to work appeared to be the inadequacy of the public transport network and the travel time. From the questions it also appeared that company cars drive more kilometres per year than private cars. Here it is important to distinguish between three different categories of “company car owners”: the representatives, the commuters and the enjoyers. The representatives drive the most kilometres per year, most of it for business (75%), the commuters mostly for home-to-work (64%) and the enjoyers mostly for private journeys (50%). Remarkably, however, the main reason for the higher number of kilometres was

We are experiencing a strong individualisation of our society which makes us less inclined to travel collectively. Why the enormous growth in passenger transport? The greater part of the growth comes from “leisure” travel. Today too only one in five journeys is for home-towork or business purposes. We are experiencing a strong individualisation of our society which makes us less inclined to travel collectively. Moreover, by 2030 we will have a large wealthy group of pensioners with drivers’ licences. All too often it is commercial vehicles that are identified as the culprits responsible for congestion and pressure on the environment. We should however not lose sight of the fact that only 6% of our passenger vehicles are registered as lease vehicles by companies. A recent

business journeys and not using public transport for home-to-work journeys. As far as private travel was concerned the researchers noticed little difference in the number of kilometres with private car owners. All this indicates that a policy change in respect of company cars should be handled carefully. Why the enormous growth in goods transport? Again this is related to choices. Choices that are influenced world-wide. Today we live in a world economy that allows us to produce goods where the price/quality is the “best”. It would take us too long to explore this more deeply, but it does give a first impression why goods are moving around the world.

Those goods for which we are the “best” are manufactured here. Those goods which we find the “best” are brought here. Trucks, ships, trains and aeroplanes are simply means to bring goods to consumers. Because of our unique position in Western Europe, Belgium is ideally situated to fulfil a logistics function or to further distribute the goods which enter Europe via the harbours. In addition we have highly skilled personnel and knowledge to process these optimally. The logistics sector covers 8% of employment and Belgian GDP annually. So why should we invest more in our logistical location if this means that we will only get more congestion? In the area of passenger transport it is expected that leisure travel will be the predominant reason for growth. Moreover only 8% of the vehicles in the traffic jams are trucks (+3.5 ton). Can trucks not avoid traffic jams? If they could, they would. But trucks must take account of loading times, working hours, window periods... which mean that they have to be somewhere at a specific time. The cost of being stuck in a traffic jam for one hour is approximately 3 Euros per ton. For a 32-ton truck it therefore costs 96 euro to be in a traffic jam for one hour. This takes into account different aspects, such as the wage of a driver, the cost of a truck, etc. For a passenger vehicle used for business travel it costs almost 24 Euros per hour and for home-to-work travel 8.5 Euros per hour. It is obvious that companies would prefer their trucks and employees to be in traffic jams as little as possible ... Isn’t it possible to have fewer trucks or passenger vehicles on the road? Probably yes. But much would have to change. Due to lack of information, in respect of passenger as well as goods transport, it is currently not known which goods and persons could be transported together. It would be

ideal if we knew at all times who is moving what, when, where to, and to put these (together) on the “best” mode of transport. We need a sort of Big Brother. With this we would be able to reduce the number of vehicles on the road for people as well as goods. In terms of people, of course, the question is whether we really want this and how we can take personal preference into account. But matching the various goods is also not that obvious. Tubs of ice-cream that have to go from Antwerp to Brussels can hardly be taken along by the tipper truck that just transported sand from Brussels to Antwerp. And then we are not even taking into account the times when they are due at their destinations. But as far as goods are concerned we see growing consensus towards combined transportation of goods in order to reduce the costs and the pressure on the environment. It’s lucky that goods have not yet developed any personal preference... It is clear that the road to better mobility and logistics is still long and not very easy.

Katleen Marien is the Mobility & Infrastructure specialist at VOKA’s knowledge centre

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question

The role of ICT in solving mobility challenges —IBBT leads the way When you’re stuck in traffic on the Antwerp Ring, the saying that we’re the crossroads of Europe can sound rather hollow. But it remains a fact; the ability to keep things moving in this country is of absolute importance to our prosperity. At a European level the message is clear: the current growth in transport is unsustainable; the environment and our infrastructure simply cannot cope. Hence there is an urgent need to develop safer, greener and smarter transport systems. For Flanders this couldn’t be more relevant, given the importance of logistics to our economy and the severity of our transport problems. There are no simple solutions to the mobility challenges. They need to be tackled from various angles, including education, regulation, infrastructure and spatial planning. In these technological times, we should also look toward ICT as a means to keep this country moving. This is the task IBBT has set itself. As an independent research institute founded by the Flemish government, IBBT applies ICT to a range of societal challenges, including healthcare, government, media and transport. The institute thrives on an interdisciplinary approach to tackle problems and has worked with over 300 partners from various sectors.


In line with EU thinking, IBBT is contributing to the mobility solution by making transport systems smarter. The NextGen-ITS project, for example, is exploring ways to push much ‘richer’ information to drivers. Many GPS systems in use today already integrate traffic reports (via radio signal) in their navigation functionality. But looking ahead, the potential exists to push much more information to vehicles, from a variety of different sources, via a range of different networks. The challenge however, will be to organise these processes (i.e. collecting data from various sources, analysing that data, and broadcasting customised messages back to vehicles) in an intelligent manner. This kind of technology also works the other way around; with IBBT’s e-call initiative, if a driver is immobilized (from an accident for example) an automated signal can be sent to emergency services.

ICT could in fact be particularly useful in the pursuit of improved road safety. IBBT is currently working with the Flemish Traffic Centre to develop advanced traffic management systems. Research work is underway to improve systems such as currently installed on the Antwerp Ring and being set up around Ghent.   This will allow automatic detection of an incident (or potential incident) on the Antwerp Ring. Furthermore, it will trigger the system to slow down traffic further upstream (via dynamic signalling equipment) and therefore reduce the risk of secondary incidents (i.e. accidents that are caused by ‘primary’ incidents further downstream). The system can also be controlled manually, with operators able to close lanes, forcibly divert traffic to certain routes, open up lanes for emergency vehicles, and indeed completely manipulate the traffic flow.


While ICT is only part of a greater mobility solution involving infrastructure, education and regulation, it is clear that its potential value in this domain has never been greater.

True to the nature of ICT, there are other ways to use this technology for safety. Take the VICATS project; where IBBT is working in conjunction with its partners to develop software that uses ADR plate recognition for dangerous trucks entering the Craeybeckx tunnel. Being able to identify a truck carrying hazardous goods and track its progress through the tunnel is extremely important in an environment that is so congested.

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question


++ Independent research institute founded by the Flemish government to stimulate ICT innovation ++ Unites more than 600 researchers from diverse Flemish universities and knowledge centres ++ Mobility & Logistics is a key research focus of IBBT ++

Automated detection systems will also be instrumental in making transport more sustainable. Usage-based road charging for instance—an important element in tomorrow’s mobility policies—will allow for more accurate pricing of transport by considering external costs (environmental damage and congestion) that are not accounted for in today’s fixed pricing (tax) system. The basic idea is to impose a variable charge on trucks (and possibly cars later) according to the routes utilized and travel times (e.g. using congested zones during peak periods increases cost). Where toll gates simply create more congestion, a dynamic satellite-based system of this nature will keep things moving and give the relevant decision makers far greater control and capabilities. Where IBBT has stepped in is in the development of an on-board unit integrating GPS, GSM, identification and security features. Sustainability can also be improved in other ways, for instance in the logistics sector. Logistical activities (combined with the country’s sea ports) represent about 10% of Belgium’s GDP, with an equally significant share of jobs. While IBBT is not focussed on the ICT challenges within logistics companies (this is already a well-developed market), there are other sector-wide opportunities where IBBT is well positioned to play a role. The institute’s main focus in this regard is on end-to-end information flows across the entire supply chain. For instance, the MultiTrans project is a great example of how linking independent IT systems (via the secure exchange of data) can optimise the supply chain. Essentially it makes possible the automated, real-time monitoring of logistics processes from suppliers to the final destination, and thus enables the various actors in the chain to organise their activities more efficiently (in context of what is going on elsewhere in the chain). It is this kind of work that is helping make the sector more sustainable—when everyone works together, there is far less waste. Clearly the opportunities in mobility and logistics are tremendous, and it almost begs the question “Why only now?” The answer is partly a matter of developments in wireless networks and GPS technology, but equally

important is the willingness of the various contributors in the mobility landscape to cooperate with each other to exchange data and work on common systems. In this regard, IBBT is ideally positioned to play a facilitating role. Only a neutral organization that has access to both government and the private sector can act as glue in joining the different fragmented pieces of the puzzle together. While ICT is only part of a greater mobility solution involving infrastructure, education and regulation, it is clear that its potential value in this domain has never been greater. In that regard IBBT is destined to play a key role in keeping this country moving.

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THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question

Mobility in Flanders —Wim Vos

Staying mobile is one of the biggest challenges of contemporary society. At VAB (Flemish Automobile Association) we support responsible and safe use of all means of transport. The car offers many advantages, but we are certainly also aware of the less positive sides of its use, and in particular the irresponsible use of the car. As with all freedoms, the freedom to use a car reaches its limit when it starts to encroach on the freedom of other road-users and of society in general. As representative of road-users’ interests it is our duty to monitor this boundary carefully. That is why we advocate strict enforcement of regulations, but on condition that the (limited) available means are deployed where the largest traffic safety gains can be achieved: in other words, monitoring safety belt use, excessive speed on regional roads and in built-up areas and alcohol use. We also call for a stricter policy towards repeat offenders. In addition, much needs to be done to achieve a change of mentality among road users. Traffic education is an ongoing process that starts in nursery school and does not end on the day one obtains one’s driver’s licence. Attaining a driver’s licence, on the other hand, is a very essential part of this education, which is why we strongly support approaching it professionally.


In addition to the limitations due to road safety and, increasingly, environmental

issues, the continued growth in automobile traffic is gradually coming up against its own spatial limitations. The ever-increasing traffic jams around Brussels and Antwerp bear painful testimony to this fact, but unfortunately are only the tip of the iceberg. Mobility nevertheless is of vital importance to the economy—and hence prosperity—of our region. To guarantee the growth of our economy the Flemish government now wants to commit fully to logistics. Flanders must become the logistics region par excellence of Europe. To achieve and consolidate this ambition, however, urgent measures are necessary. Further optimisation of alternative modes of transport: water and rail as far as freight transport is concerned, and train, bus, tram, bicycle and various forms of shared car use as far as passenger transport is concerned, will need to relieve road usage to the maximum extent. Our road network will also need to be made more efficient: to be utilised optimally, for example by introducing variable signalling. But this also inevitably means that, in addition to the strict quality requirements for the construction and systematic maintenance of the existing road infrastructure, more needs to be done about additional roads. Decisions about the construction of specific missing links, including the completion of the Antwerp Ring, cannot be taboo and must be taken and implemented without delay. Further postponement will mean ever-increasing traffic

jams and an increasingly unbearable traffic situation. And that is anything but an ideal biotope for our ambition to be a logistics region.

Does the development of Flanders as a logistics region indeed offer enough added social value for our region in terms of jobs and government revenue? We should, on the other hand, also dare to question this policy choice of the Flemish government. Does the development of Flanders as a logistics region indeed offer enough added social value for our region in terms of jobs and government revenue? Will Flanders succeed in stimulating these logistics service providers to also create significant added value locally? Or will the added value remain confined mainly to the logistics companies themselves, and will the region be burdened with the disadvantages (government subsidies, infrastructural costs and pressure on the environment where we live...?) In other words, will the game be worth the candle?

Wim Vos is Managing Director of the VAB (Flemish Automobile Association)

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question

Driving around the quaint streets of Leuven you’ll soon discover the one thing this picturesque medieval town lacks: parking. When you DO find parking, the last thing you want to do is scrabble around to find loose change for the meter. You’ll also prefer not to have to calculate just how long you’re going to be up front. Luckily, this ancient town has a state of the art parking system: Mobile-for’s ‘Pay-by-SMS Parking’.

A revolution in the making

—Mobile-for helps transform the way we pay for mobility


The system is dead easy to use, and works via your mobile phone: SMS the zone that you’re in (written on the nearby parking station) and the details of your car registration to the short-code 4411 and the system registers your parking session. When you reach the maximum allowed parking time, you’ll receive an SMS to warn you, but when you come back early, you can just stop your session with a simple Q. Established in June 2006 as a joint venture between APCOA (The European parking leader), the Estonian company Now!Innovations (the company that built the first mobile gateway platform) and Stéphane Jacobs, the company’s initial goal was to manage a mobile onstreet parking service. It was soon apparent that this mobile payment gateway initiative could be applied to a number of different commercial scenarios. Branded under the banner of ‘PingPing’, the company plans to explore opportunities in micro-payments and electronic purses in general. Applications will be developed mainly in public transport, vending machines, catering, and entertainment. Mobile-for are essentially going after the low hanging fruit in a market that’s ripe for the kind of solutions that they develop—mobile innovation. Having been recently wholly acquired by the telecom giant Belgacom, it’s clear that the business model is getting all the right sorts of attention. Next to SMS payments, PingPing is going to adopt a new technology: NFC. The good news for Mobile-for is that the phones with Near Field Communication (NFC) have already been developed. On the other hand, rollout of these next generation phones has been poor. Thus, in the meantime Mobile-for is distributing an NFC tag to stick to existing phones. The tag/chip works a bit like the magnetic strip in a credit card—swipe the phone over a special sensor and the cost of the item you’re purchasing is charged to your PingPing account. To some extent this puts the company in direct competition with the roll out of multipurpose credit cards— also due for release soon. But with the ubiquitous possibilities for the technology, the company must be confident of capturing decent market share, especially in the market for small payments and people who cannot or do not wish to carry credit cards (e.g. youngsters). Also, the company carries at least one distinct advantage over the card companies: in many instances no registration equipment is required. Take the mobil-

ity sector for example. Apart from the on-street parking application there’s also the possibility of applying the application to off-street parking—dispensing with the need for tickets, and in the future, costly infrastructure. Even public services stand to benefit from the technology. Passengers waiting for a bus can purchase a ticket by SMSing details obtained from the bus stop—no need to waste time going somewhere else to purchase tickets: the SMS is billed via the mobile operator and the NFC may carry the ticket.. With customers able to choose how the payment is deducted (via their mobile provider, credit or debit card, direct debit from account, stored credit or even the internet) banks are expected to buy into the model.


With the possibility on the table of a complete mobility invoice (incorporating both travel tariffs and parking costs)—the mobility sector might be in for a big shakeup in the near future.

Another big area of interest in the mobility sector that could possibly benefit from the technology is the road charging model—where government policy is moving towards charging commuters and trucks for utilising certain routes during certain times in an effort to alleviate congestion. The main question here is what will become the key payment tool. With the possibility on the table of a complete mobility invoice (incorporating both travel tariffs and parking costs)—the mobility sector might be in for a big shakeup in the near future. The platform will have to address the government’s need to control parts of the process before this can be realised however. While PingPing cannot really replace a secured onboard unit for a government road charging system, it can serve as a complimentary payment technology, for example in car rental or in car-sharing systems.

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - The movement question

1. Right: The PingPing Ecosystem


++ Mobile payment platform branded ‘PingPing’ ++ Key technology is Near Field Communication (NFC) ++ Business unit of Belgacom ++ ++ ++

One thing is clear—the impact of this technology on mobility is set to be fairly substantial. Indeed, the concept is spreading virally, with almost no marketing impetus needed from Mobile-for—it seems the parking meters are doing this job better than any campaign could. The company can therefore focus on an effective and efficient helpdesk (an important operational component), maximising security (higher amount payments or transfers will require a pincode, and stolen phones can immediately have their accounts blocked) and looking for other applications of the technology. Already the mobile wallet idea is finding fertile soil with loyalty programmes, discounting, food vending and almost anything where a ticket needs to be purchased. Another obvious opportunity for the technology is in permits (e.g. employee access, doctors and other emergency services). In today’s climate, obtaining a permit can sometimes be frustrating and time consuming. With the use of the PingPing technology, all the grunt work can be done behind the scenes via the internet, with the collusion of leasing company records and other pertinent databases. This exchange of data— verifying permissions for the transaction—is crucial to the success of the scheme. In certain instances, the challenge will be to split verification authority at a federal and regional level. With this hurdle surmounted however, the opportunities are seemingly endless. This new dynamic in part changes the flow of the mobility process: permissions and micropayments most often involve separate authorisation areas and infrastructure. With Mobile-for’s technology this mobility crease is largely ironed out. Streamlining the mobility process makes urban living just that bit better, and allows us to do things we simply couldn’t in the past: now it’s possible to reserve an off-street parking bay long before you even arrive, which means no more driving around looking for a place to park before that all-important meeting. And to take the technology one step further, soon information about where open off-street parking bays are located will be sent directly to your in-car navigation system, which means exploring a picturesque town like Leuven is about looking at the architecture and the history, as opposed to wandering the streets in search of a couple of square meters of empty asphalt.

The Fifth Conference with


2| The Movement Challenge T

here are reasons why the bigger, more fundamental questions (see previous section) about this country’s mobility challenge need answering. That is because there are a number of underlying, more concrete challenges vying for attention. Problems like traffic congestion, harmful emissions, the cost-effectiveness of public transport—these are all issues that today seem rather intractable and hence create (or demand) a sense of urgency.

Road Congestion


s mobile Belgians we know what it is. Many of us experience it on a daily basis, and where possible we adapt accordingly. Some early birds zip through just before the peak, to arrive at work at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m. Others remain at work late, avoiding the ever-extending 3 - 7pm peak. We experience it in the major arteries—the ring of Antwerp and Brussels, the E-highways connecting Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent— but also in the suburbs, where long queues build up as people try to join a major road. We all have our opinions on the matter, but what are the facts; what do we know about the congestion problem?

Some background facts first. According to the data collated by the Federal Public Service for Mobility1, in 2007 about 98 billion vehicle kilometres were travelled on our roads. That is about triple as much as was travelled in 1970. Growth since 2000 is about 10%. Contrary to what some Antwerp Ring frequenters may think, the personal car dominates our roads. Looking at all types of road, the passenger car is responsible for about 78% of vehicle kilometres travelled. Freight (light trucks/vans and trailers) represents about 20%. On the highways freight traffic does asserts itself more, representing about 25% of the total vehicle kilometres. Also, the personal car is losing ground to freight somewhat, declining from about 85% share of total vehicle kms in 1980 to 78% in 2007. Million vehicle kms per type of vehicle

Private car Light van Lorry or trailer


1) The FSP’s transport databases can be consulted at the website of the Federal Planning Bureau www.

What is clear is that this volume of traffic is exposing the limits of our road infrastructure, especially during peak times. The Flemish Traffic Centre, with its multitude of cameras and sensors installed along our highway network, is probably in the best position to offer clarity on the congestion problem. Unfortunately, measuring congestion is turning out be rather difficult. Although the Traffic Centre has developed estimates about the number of hours we sit in traffic jams (9-10 million hours a year), they also acknowledge that there is plenty of statistical variance in the data. It is difficult to compare one year’s data next to another’s, except that over the longer term the problem is clearly getting worse. Some reasonably clear conclusions: the Brussels Ring is the most congested area in the country, where about 10% of travel hours are lost. The Antwerp Ring is next with 5% of travel hours lost, but here the economic impact is greater due to the amount of freight traffic (causing problems in companies’ Just-in-Time supply chains). The rest of the country’s highway system averages about 1% of travel hours lost. What we know much less about is the situation on secondary and local roads; although most road commuters (and the bus operators) can testify that here too the situation can be particularly bad. The causes of this congestion are mainly chronic (structural) and to a lesser extent acute (due to incidents) capacity problems in our road infrastructure. No surprise really, because road capacity has not increased in line with the growth in traffic. The question of whether capacity should increase at that rate is obviously a different one. We know congestion is bad today, but what will the future bring? The Federal Planning Bureau offers us a glimpse of the future in their recently published analysis of traffic congestion in Belgium, projecting to 2030.2 It concludes that under a current ‘business as usual’ policy context (e.g. population will grow 15%, population will age, hybrid cars and natural gas powered cars will be responsible for nearly half the car kms travelled, no major increase in road capacity, etc.), the average 2) Federal Planning Bureau. Langetermijnvooruitzichten voor transport in België: referentiescenario. 24/04/2009.


The other culprit causing congestion in 2030 will be the lorry. Goods transportation will increase dramatically, on any given metric. Thus, total tonnage transported via road, rail and inland waterway will increase 51%. Total ton-km travelled over those same modes will increase 60%. While rail and inland waterways should manage to increase their market share slightly, road will retain its dominant position (from 75% share of total ton km in 2005 to 70% share in 2030). Rail’s market share increases from 12% of total ton km to 15% and inland shipping from 13% to 14%. Whichever way you look at it, there will be a lot more lorries on our roads to handle that tremendous growth in goods transportation.














100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

Inland waterways


% of total tonne . kilometers

Modal Split People Transport

Rail Buses












Passenger car


In people movement, the car is expected to retain its dominance, being responsible for more than 80% of all person-kms in 2030. Rail increases its market share somewhat but buses and trams are themselves hampered by road congestion (remember, this scenario assumes little investment in infrastructure). The traffic pattern, however, will change somewhat. There will be a slight shift away from trips during rush hour, and a pretty significant increase in trips that are neither commutes nor school trips—in other words, the growing ranks of pensioners will be out and about. Take note, however, that even in 2005 the vast majority of people trips (66%) fell in this ‘other’ category, i.e. they are neither commute nor school trip.

100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

% of total passenger . kilometers

Modal Split Freight

speed on our roads will decline significantly by 2030. The average speed during rush hour will decline by 31% and during non-peak periods by about 17%. The cause: the substantial growth in vehicle kilometres travelled—a 37% increase for lorries and trailers and a 38% increase for cars. Both car and lorry traffic thus increase at a similar rate, but recall, in absolute numbers (total vehicle kms) that translates into the car being the main culprit since the car already is responsible for the vast majority of vehicle kms on our roads.

Where’s that modal shift ? Source: Eurostat

In conclusion, the future does not look pretty. Understandably, the Federal Planning Bureau concludes its report that with existing policy measures and existing infrastructure, our traffic situation will become unmanageable.



s we have outlined in a previous edition of The Fifth Conference (CLEAN), transport is responsible for more than 20% of this country’s energy related greenhouse gas emissions, with road transport covering about 98% of the sector’s emissions. Most damningly, however, while every other sector (industry, residential, tertiary) managed to reduce or at least stabilise their emissions in the period 1990-2006, transport emissions increased by an astounding 26.7%.3 The picture gets worse. The emissions from international maritime and air transport are not included in these national statistics. But in 2003, these emissions were responsible for another 18% of national emissions. Maritime transport is the biggest culprit here (representing 87% in this category) and its emissions grew at a phenomenal 71% during the period 1990-2003. Transport also is responsible for much of the air pollution problem in this country (NOX, ozone, NMVOS, fine particulate matter). According to Tim Nawrot from the University of Hasselt, Flemish air quality is one of the worst in Europe. Year average concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM) are still above the target set by the European Commission and the number of days per year that the concentrations exceed the ‘safe’ limit remains too high. Furthermore, it turns out that ‘ultrafine’ particles (PM 1 and PM0.1), not yet monitored systematically, are proving to be more dangerous for human health than even PM2.5. Road transport also creates substantial noise nuisance in this densely populated country—nothing new really, but it is increasingly recognised as a health risk. Finally, transport is partly responsible for the fact that much of 3) UNFCCC. Summary of GHG Emissions for Belgium.

our land is covered in concrete or asphalt and that we have few open spaces left. Looking ahead using the Planning Bureau’s 2030 reference scenario, the problem is not about to go away. While direct emissions of CO, NOX, PM en NMVOS will first decline dramatically due to the adoption of cleaner drive technology (hybrids, natural gas, cleaner fuels), after 2020 this positive effect will be partially cancelled out by the continued growth in traffic. Still, the 2030 emission levels should be significantly lower compared to 2005: CO emissions will have declined 54%, NOX 40%, PM 63% and NMVOS 54%. SO2 will decline by a superb 79% due to the use of sulphur-free fuels. That’s the good news. The bad news is that greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)—CO2 mainly—will continue to increase. Direct GHG emissions will increase by 18% (the effect of more efficient drive systems and the use of biofuels will be cancelled out by the increase in traffic) and total GHG emissions (including the emissions generated to make biofuels) will increase 22%. And recall, this is only looking at road transport—the impact of maritime transport will be significant. This is a problem since our GHG emission reduction targets are particularly steep. If we wish to avoid a possibly catastrophic increase in global temperatures then OECD countries will need to reduce their emissions by 40% in 2030 compared with 2006. Obviously, under that scenario we cannot accept the transport sector increasing its emissions.


With existing policy measures and existing infrastructure, our traffic situation will become unmanageable.




ccording to the Belgian Institute for Road Safety (BIVV/IBSR) we’re on the right track when it comes to road safety. Indeed, things have improved. The number of traffic fatalities has declined from about 3000 per year in the 1970s, to 1600 fatalities in 2000, and less than 1000 in 2008. That is a key achievement—recall, the volume of traffic has tripled since the 70s. However, compared to our neighbours we’re still in a deplorable situation. In 2006 we had 101 fatalities per million inhabitants. The Dutch had 45 (Germany 62, France 75, Denmark 56). That is quite simply unacceptable. More can be done (and is being done, witness the number of speed cameras), specifically about speeding, seat belt use, and alcohol use. But the country’s ‘black spots’ also need urgent addressing. According to some experts we interviewed, our knowledge here is inadequate. Technology is apparently available today that can identify dangerous spots without having to wait for an accident to happen. Why are we not doing more? Because we may learn that much of our infrastructure is unsafe, argue the cynics.

Public transport


ublic transport clearly is a contentious topic in the country today. In the course of our interviews, the Flemish tram and bus operator De Lijn (and the government policy that steers it) came under unremitting fire for its significant reliance on government subsidies and a network that is partly out of sync with commuter travel patterns (admittedly, De Lijn’s new ‘2020’ strategy seeks to address that latter problem head on). While the Brussels bus-tram-metro operator MIVB/STIB and the rail operator NMBS/SNCB do rate much better on those accounts, the whole system nevertheless is criticised for its fragmented setup. The four major governments in the country each have a distinct operator falling under its authority (Flanders-De Lijn, WalloniaTEC, Brussels-MIVB/STIB, Federal Government-NMBS/ SNCB) with the result that policy and hence strategy is poorly aligned to meet the country’s needs, especially in the greater Brussels ‘catchment’ area. This is important, because public transport has some catching up to do if we want to solve the congestion and emission problems outlined above. According to the Federal Plan Bureau’s ‘business as usual’ scenario for 2030, public transport’s share of the total person kms travelled will stay firmly stuck at a miserable 12%.

Investment in infrastructure



learly, if we are to go some way in solving the congestion and emissions problems, then the country will need to invest in infrastructure. Road networks will need attention and especially public transport will need investment if it is to increase its share of the mobility market. We face a number of key obstacles in that regard. Firstly, we already face a tremendous bill if we were simply to properly maintain our existing infrastructure. To illustrate, the think tank VKW Metena calculated that the state has consistently under-invested in infrastructure since 1985, gradually eroding our asset base. Comparing our investment level to the Euro-12 countries VKW Metena estimates a cumulative underinvestment (by government) of 28 billion Euros.

Secondly, we don’t have the money. The Federal Government is already deeply in the red (increasingly so, given the economic crisis) and the regional government are severally restricted in the levels of debt they can carry. This is why the Flemish government, positioning itself as an ‘investing government’, went headlong for Public-Private-Partnerships as the means to keep infrastructure investment ‘off-budget.’ But this approach too is coming under strain, exemplified by the EU Commission’s recent announcement that in its bookkeeping (of member states’ finances) the investment going into the Antwerp Masterplan will be decidedly ‘in-budget.’

Policy and institutional setup


inally we come to government, the inevitable destination in a diagnosis of this country’s problems. As has been discussed, mobility is a complex issue covering several policy domains, including transport, economy, innovation, energy, environment and spatial planning. The need for determined and well-coordinated policy execution, which is based on an integrated and long-term ‘masterplan’ for the country (in context of the EU), is clearly essential. Unfortunately, this country’s governance setup is already decidedly complex and of late somewhat unstable. We commenced our discussion in the previous section with a somewhat philosophical question on the merits of government controlling our mobility. That question may well be made redundant by the facts on the ground. According to some of the experts in the field, government is losing control anyway.



3| Gateway to Europe I

n 2008, more than 16.000 ocean-going ships docked at the Port of Antwerp. Contrary to what one might expect, that statistic has remained reasonably consistent since the 1970s. What has changed is the average gross tonnage of those ships, nearly tripling since 1980. As a result, the port handled nearly 190 million tons of cargo in 2008—in 1980 that was just over 80 million tons. Less than 150 km away, at the ports of Zeebrugge, Ghent, Ostend and Liége, another 93 million tonnes were handled in 2008. Add the 660.000 tonnes of cargo handled at Brussels Airport, and one is talking about a total of 283 million tonnes handled at our major ‘gateways’ to the world. How does one make sense of that statistic? If we were to express this in 20-foot containers or TEU (twenty-foot-equivalent units), we’re talking about approximately 23 million containers per year or 63.000 per day.1 If we were to move that daily tally of cargo by train, we’d need about 200 km of train per day stacked two-high with containers. Fortunately, the story isn’t simply about moving containers. The strength of Antwerp’s Port is the diversity in the types of goods it handles and the economic added value it generates. The Port of Antwerp is actually five ports in one, with specific terminals specialised in containers, petrochemicals, fruit, paper & wood, and steel. Zeebrugge too is specialised, with particular


1) This

is hypothetical. Much of the cargo handled is bulk and general cargo. To make this calculation we assumed an average of 11.7 tonnes per container (based on the actual container traffic handled at Antwerp)

strength in vehicle transport. This specialisation is key to the economic value of the country’s ports (estimated at 10% of GDP by the National Bank), since it has helped attract much industrial investment—think of the petrochemical cluster in Antwerp, but also the automotive and steel sector. Notwithstanding their current specialisation, it is in containers that the major ports will grow. The newly built Deurganckdok, which formally opened in 2005, is the world’s largest tidal dock in the world, and once at capacity will handle 6 to 7 million TEUs (which will increase the annual number of containers handled from today’s 8 million to about 13 million). Next in line is the Saeftinghedok, another planned container dock, but this project is still mired in public debate around the merits and costs of the project. Indeed, the cargo numbers and projections are impressive but they lead us to two rather essential questions: one, how on earth do we (and will we) manage all that traffic and cargo once it enters our borders; and two, to what extent is that movement a net contribution to our economy and quality of life? Good questions that will be tackled in subsequent chapters. The other gateway for freight, not usually talked about as such, is our highway system. Two years ago Eurostat compiled a list of 20 regions in Europe that register the highest proportion of international road journeys.


Fourteen of these regions are Belgian regions with top scorer Antwerp counting 960.000 international journeys in 2004. The graph below illustrates this well. It combines two types of information: the total volume of freight forwarded on the main road network (‘thickness’ of the lines) and the share of international transport (different colours). As is clear, the Benelux region stands out both with regard to volume and the proportion of international transport. With regard to people movement, Belgium too is an important gateway, just think of our international institutions (NATO, EU) and the attraction of our medieval cities to tourists. Here the two most important gateways are the three largest airports (Brussels, Charleroi, Liége) and the Brussels South railway station, a major High-Speed-Rail (HSR) hub, today for Eurostar and Thalys but there are more operators to come as the market deregulates. The highway system too is important— consider the annual trek of Dutch caravans passing on route to warmer climes.


Do we embrace our role as a European gateway (and try to make a living from it) or do we begin closing the gate in pursuit of a cleaner lifestyle?

nal and adapting its operations to handle the volume of transit passengers. Thirdly, Brussels Airport is attracting low cost airlines, with success. Eight low cost operators fly to Brussels and a dedicated terminal is on the drawing board, waiting for the required building permits. Brussels Airport has the potential to increase its traveller numbers further within the context of its current positioning and strategy. The company recognises that there are limits to expansion given the airport’s location, but several things can still be done to optimise this important gateway to the country. Firstly, the low cost terminal needs to be built—the necessary permits should be processed faster (we are not talking about an extra runway here). Secondly, a stable political and legal context for the airport is required. The disputes between the regional governments around the night flights and the resulting fines levied are destructive to the airport’s development. Thirdly, the airport needs to be connected to the High Speed Rail network. The Diabolo rail infrastructure project is a tremendous boon

for the airport, since it will vastly improve the rail connections to Brussels and beyond. Today there is still a risk, however, that the HSR operators will bypass the airport along the Antwerp-Brussels stretch. This is important, because high speed rail is gradually beginning to win the battle for the short-haul market. To conclude, the point has been made that Belgium is a gateway country. Our ports, our airports and our highways do not simply process traffic for Belgium (as New Zealand’s ports do); they process traffic for Europe. This is partly a story of our location and partly one of infrastructure. The first is a fact we have to live with, the second is one we need to manage. But it does present us with an important strategic choice: do we embrace our role as a European gateway (and try to make a living from it) or do we begin closing the gate in pursuit of a cleaner lifestyle?

Map 2: Ratio of international freight transport to all freight transport (tonnes) % international freight <= 10 >10<= 25 >25<= 50 >50 no data available

all freight (million tonnes) >0<=5 >5<= 10 >10<=25 >25

statistical data: transport modelling based on regional statistics on the carriage of goods collected by Eurostat in the framework of the Council Regulation 1172/98 (2004 data) administrative boundaries: GISCO cartography: GIM 0 125 250 500 km

According to the National Bank’s research, the three largest airports account for about 1.1% of the country’s GDP (including indirect effects). The repositioning of Brussels Airport was certainly important in that regard. While the airport was a top-10 airport in Europe in 2001, traffic collapsed by a third following the bankruptcy of SABENA and the twin-towers calamity. Hence, in 2005 the airport company needed to make a number of strategic choices. Firstly, the airport recognised the importance of a strong home carrier. Hence, it has made effort to support the new home carrier, Brussels Airlines, via various co-marketing initiatives. Things are on track, with Brussels Airlines being acquired by Lufthansa and thus being taken up in the Star Alliance. Secondly, the aim was to connect Brussels to the main intercontinental hubs via the major airlines. A list of 30 target destinations was made. In 2005, Brussels was connected to only 6 of these. In 2007 there were 12 connections. The arrival of Jet Airways is illustrative in that regard. With roots as a domestic Indian airline, Jet Airways today serves several destinations in Europe, North America and Asia. It uses Brussels as its key European hub. Two thirds of passengers fly on to North America, the rest have an EU destination. Brussels Airlines was a good fit for the European destinations, but to optimise the code share, Jet Airways manages its operation as a ‘single wave’. This means that all flights coming from India and the US arrive almost simultaneously in the morning, creating a tremendous peak in which passengers and baggage need to be handled. Brussels Airport makes this possible—it had the 12 slots needed and was proactive in upgrading its termi-

Source: Eurostat (author: Anna BIALAS-MOTYL). The regional dimension of road freight transport statistics. 04.05.2007.


Building added value in the Antwerp harbour area

—In conversation with Eddy Bruyninckx The Port of Antwerp will continue making an important contribution to the country’s economy, and do so in a sustainable manner, argues Eddy Bruyninckx, executive director of the Port Authority. The port can achieve this via its excellence in three key functions.


“At present we are somewhat unique in our approach if you compare us with other maritime logistics junctions, thanks to our combination of three somewhat distinct functions. The first is the classic transhipment function of the port; transferring goods from ship to shore and giving it a destination in the port area or the hinterland. Secondly, you can create additional added value if it is possible to do more with the goods than simply dispatching them from the ship via the quay to the hinterland. Companies like Katoen Natie are illustrative in that regard. In their warehouses they do all sorts of valueadded activities like sorting, repackaging but even quite advanced processes like pre-assembly or reverse logistics. Given the space limitations of the port area we must focus on attracting and retaining those types of logistical activities. The third function is the maritime-related industry, like the petrochemical industry clustered here at the port. This is possibly the most interesting one if you think of added value, but has become more difficult to attract given the trend to locate new industrial activities in low-cost countries. Yet we still believe that space must be secured for this.

Why is the port of Antwerp so unique in its field? I can best illustrate this by comparing ourselves with the port of Rotterdam. In terms of tonnage that port is much larger than we are – more than double our size – but in terms of added value creation we are at a similar level. Why? We have 5.4 million m2 of covered warehousing, which is a good indicator of the importance of logistical activities. Also, much of what happens there is not only storage but also the processing of goods. This fits in well with our continued ambition to create added value throughout all three functions. In addition, we can also offer added social value through a natural exploitation of the area along the Scheldt: there is space, we are located on the water, and we have an area that is suitable for installing wind turbines and solar panels for the production of green energy.

for it, although to a lesser degree than people generally think. When we did traffic counts in the Antwerp area we came to the remarkable conclusion that traffic for the port of Antwerp on the network of major roads to and from Antwerp makes up only four per cent of all traffic. This does not mean that we want to play down the mobility problem, but given that low proportion there is no reason for us to abandon the exploitation of additional harbour infrastructure. Imagine if this traffic were to go via another port, such as Rotterdam, then we would only have the disadvantages of the transit traffic without the advantages of economic added value in the harbour area. In which ways could you make a contribution then? We must work towards more intensive use of inland shipping and railway transport. Over an eight-year period

If we want to be a real maritime portal of Europe we must continue to safeguard access for sea-going vessels, which in Antwerp means that we must continue working on the accessibility and deepening of the Scheldt River. But there could be quite a few obstacles in the way? If we want to be a real maritime portal of Europe we must continue to safeguard access for sea-going vessels, which in Antwerp means that we must continue working on the accessibility and deepening of the Scheldt River. But we should also not forget accessibility on the landward side. We must ensure that we can reach the hinterland in at least four ways: trucks, railways, inland shipping and pipelines. When we speak about obstacles, the mobility problem—road congestion—cannot and may not be denied. We are hampered by it, and recognise that we are also partly responsible

the relative share of inland shipping in the transportation of containers grew from 25 to 33 percent, but now it seems to be stagnating. We must therefore achieve continued growth by means of innovation, logistics renewal, clustering, the bundling of cargo, etc.—in order to cope with situations that do not make logistical sense. We are all for the Extended Gateways plan: well-chosen junctions with good connections to the harbour. The railways can contribute to the accessibility of the extended gateways or other geographical junctions in the hinterland where goods are processed and assembled. The railways’ share has grown from eight to eleven

percent, but that could go up to fifteen or even twenty percent. To achieve this the NMBS (National Railway Company of Belgium) as well as the privatised railway companies will need to work not only on the ‘hardware’ of the infrastructure, such as the second railway link and the Iron Rhine, but also on the ‘software’ side, i.e. the commercial products which will be deployed on it: a supply of frequent and economically justified products between the port and junctions in the hinterland. What about cooperation between the ports? If Europe wants to be a highly competitive economic region then we need a wellorganised transport system and thus efficient ports as well. These ports can work together in a number of ways: uniformity and common standards in ICT for example, the exchange of data, overarching service provision and traffic organisation, best-practice sharing, etc. In that sense we already work well together. Apart from this we shouldn’t get too starry-eyed. The Flemish and, by extension, the north-western European ports created their added value due to healthy and fair competition. This must continue. We need to exploit the geographical plus points of our ports and leave it to the client to weigh up what takes precedence for him. If harbour depth is paramount, then Zeebrugge has the facilities. If distance to the end product and total cost are important, then Antwerp will be more interesting. Competition is healthy. If ports have the reputation of being after each others’ blood, then this relates more to government aid for infrastructure investment, but has little to do with commercial competition.

Eddy Bruyninckx is CEO of the Antwerp Port Authority


Believe in collaboration between seaports and inland ports!

—Emile-Louis Bertrand Due to the rapid expansion of the Asian market and the resulting exponential growth in container export traffic, there is a real threat that sea ports (and their interior transport links) will end up as major bottlenecks in the system. As a result, these constantly rising cargo flows have prompted different market players to identify optimal solutions aimed at unblocking roads and freeways.

It seems clear, in that regard, that the relationship between seaports and interior ports is being redefined. Increasingly, sea ports will be looking toward inland ports for collaboration in their objective to handle the growing cargo flows. I am absolutely convinced of the essential and growing role of the inland ports, such as the one at Liège, the first Belgian inland port and the third interior European port (21.8 million tonnes in 2008) after Duisburg and Paris. It forms the hinterland of the North Sea seaports (Antwerp, Zeebruges, Dunkirk and Rotterdam). While there has always been traffic between sea ports and inland ports, the collaboration between the two was reasonably marginal. However, today, it is increasingly possible to manage logistics in the hinterland. These are developments that fit in the “extended gateways” theory developed by VIL (Vlaams Instituut voor Logistiek). The objective is to optimise the logistics chain from sea port to hinterland via outstanding collaboration between the seaports and the inland ports. It entails conveying the containers, as fast as possible, towards the hinterland. It is there, away from the traffic and congestion, that the containers can be processed (e.g. by repackaging the cargo on pallets) and sent on in the next phases of their logistics chain. Situated 14 hours (via inland shipping) from Antwerp and 24 hours from Rotterdam, the Port of Liège is increasingly considered a strategic location in order to better supply the hinterland with goods. Thus, I firmly believe in the success of our multimodal platform, “Liège Trilogiport” (100 hectares). This is where

the container terminal (15 hectares) will be managed by, on the one hand, a consortium made up of Manuport / Water Container Transport and Dubai Ports World. The management of the logistics zone, on the other hand, is assigned to the German company Deutsche Lagerhaus Trilogiport (30 hectares) and to the Belgian company Warehouses De Pauw (10 hectares). Lastly, Liège Trilogiport also has 15 ha of port ground that is still available. As far as I am concerned, the use of waterways is the best way of dealing with the continuing explosion of container traffic. Also, it is necessary to concentrate more on intermodality, i.e., the optimal combination of different modes of transport. It is thanks to this intermodality, or rather, to the modal shift (that is to say transporting goods by rail and sea instead of by road) as promoted by the European Union, that we will be able to reduce the number of trucks on our roads. In addition, water transport and the development of logistics centres, such as Liège Trilogiport, are economic activities that are

economical. The increasing environmental worries, sustainable development and the problems tied to the overloading of our roads must prompt more enterprises to find modes of transport for goods that are different from road transport. River transport has its place in this development. In this context, I find it fitting to underline that river transport presents a number of significant advantages: ++ a secure and reliable solution: the risk of accidents is extremely low. River transport is reliable in terms of delivery times. ++ an environmentally friendly solution: this mode of transport respects the environment. A 1,350 tonne barge, sailing with a full load, represents approximately forty less trucks on our roads! ++ lastly, an economic solution: less costly in terms of energy, river transport allows for the transportation of very large tonnages. This is in fact a mode of bulk transport that is less polluting.

As far as I am concerned, the use of waterways is the best way of dealing with the continuing explosion of container traffic. unquestionably important to the creation of jobs. I am taking advantage of this opportunity to stress the necessity of making enterprises more aware of using water transport. The environmental aspect plays in favour of river transport! This mode of transport is reliable, fast, punctual, environmentally friendly and

Lastly, I am persuaded and I definitely hope that in the future, barges will replace hundreds and thousands of trucks that travel each year on our roads. It is thanks to this type of alternative that we are able to contribute, in our way, to the climate change objectives.

Emile-Louis Bertrand is general manager of the Liège Port Authority



All this effort fuels Belgium’s ambition to be a highly ranked Flag State internationally in terms of quality control.

Belgium’s growing stature as a maritime nation

It seems reasonable to assume that the bigger a county’s coastline the more active its involvement with maritime transport. The fact that Belgium plays an influential role in this arena at first glance might seem strange, until you look at things more closely. On the surface, Belgium’s reasons to be involved are obvious; being a small country means having to rely heavily on trade. With one of the biggest ports in Europe, this is an important part of the Belgian economy. There’s more to things than simply Belgium protecting its trade interests however. Maritime transport is one of the least understood transport modes, yet the most vital to the world economy. By its nature it is highly international in scope, and interestingly one of the oldest forms of transport. Roughly 90% of all goods moved do so via the sea (each year about one tonne is moved for every person on the planet), yet most of this happens without us even knowing about it. That’s another thing about maritime transport: fly an aeroplane and you have to fill in a small mountain of paperwork just to get permission, on a boat there’s almost nowhere you can’t go. With freedom of this nature (and the inherent scale economies of maritime transport), the unfettered movement of products, energy and raw materials from their production source to point of consumption can be realised. This mobility is the lifeblood of the global economy, and its continuity is the mission of the federal government’s Directorate General Maritime Transport (DGMT) of the Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport. Keeping things moving isn’t the hard part though, but doing so in a way that is safe, secure and sustainable for the environment is where it gets more difficult.


Because the Belgian government operates within the context of international maritime law and within the mandate of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO – a UN agency responsible for developing and maintaining a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping), it is bound to uphold certain conventions and protocols. While the IMO develops the interna-

tional regulatory framework (which includes safety, security and environmental protection concerns as well as technical cooperation) it is still the responsibility of the member states to inspect and monitor compliance with these regulations—which is where the federal government steps in. Under maritime identification and classification, Belgium is a Port, Coastal and Flag State. Being a Port State is obvious: Belgium has four sea ports, with Antwerp being the second biggest in Europe. While the ports of Zeebrugge, Ghent and Ostend aren’t on the same scale, they do mean that the total Flemish ‘port area’ is huge by international standards. In the context of its role as a Port State, Belgian authorities have the right (and duty) to inspect foreign ships in Belgian ports to see if they comply with the convention regulations (known as port state control). Port State inspection reports are exchanged between member states, to ensure that the inspection procedures comply with common standards and quality criteria. Although Belgium doesn’t have a lengthy coastline, because of its tremendous port activities the coastal horizon is unremittingly peppered with the site of teeming vessels. The magnitude of associated risks and impacts means that the federal authorities work together with the regional Flemish authorities, customs authorities and maritime police to monitor and control this traffic, as an inter-agency task force. Belgium also has a reasonably significant home fleet which qualifies it as a Flag State. Ships flying the Belgian flag enjoy the protection of the government — but also obviously need to comply with its rules. If a Belgian ship gets into trouble abroad, the first port of call is the Belgian government — the prime reason the government is focused on ensuring the Belgian fleet complies with both national and international laws. Again, the government’s approach to this model is unique. It has introduced a system of ‘corporate Flag State governance’ that relies on close cooperation between the government, the shipping lines and the classification


societies (3rd party inspection and registration organisations acting on behalf of Flag States). Belgian ships carry a registration certificate, issued by the federal government in its capacity as a Flag State if they pass certain quality criteria. The government manages the quality control of its flag carriers by accessing data from various sources—inspection data obtained from both flag state and port state inspections abroad and shipping lines’ own internal inspections is collated in a central database. This improves the effectiveness of the quality control procedure itself, but also allows the government to focus its efforts on the high-risk cases— a far more efficient method than random inspections. Furthermore, this whole process is transparent to the stakeholders in the governance structure, meaning that there is fair amount of self-regulation going on. In this regard, the Flag State ‘contact group’ (comprising managers of all the Belgian lines and the heads of DGMT) meet regularly to identify problems and troubleshoot solutions. This method of working enables a much more rapid response to potential issues, since it is based on cooperation and trust within the sector (as opposed to bureaucratic procedures). What’s furthermore unique about the Belgian Flag State approach is that it’s ISO certified. While this might be common in industry, it’s rare amongst governmental departments. The DGMT seems to be building a reputation of always taking things one step further. For example, in 2006 IMO introduced a new initiative whereby ships need to carry a radio beacon that transmits time-stamped identification and location data to its Flag State every 6 hours (Long Range Identification and Tracking - LRIT).

Under the Belgian scheme making use of all the possibilities that LRIT offers, that ship’s system can be remotely triggered to emit signals every 15 minutes (potentially very useful in the case of piracy and terrorism, since no action is required from the crew).


The government’s approach to this model is unique. It has introduced a system of ‘corporate Flag State governance’ that relies on close cooperation between the government, the shipping lines and the classification societies.

All this effort fuels Belgium’s ambition to be a highly ranked Flag State internationally in terms of quality control. Several ‘memorandum of understanding’ (MOU) organisations have been set up (Paris MOU covering Europe and the Atlantic, Tokyo MOU covering Asia and the Pacific and the US Coastguard) to monitor quality amongst peers. These ambitions are

already being realised with the Belgian flag currently being on the ‘white list’ (the good list) of the Paris MOU. This is important for the local shipping lines (whose customers are increasingly looking for quality and reliability, particularly in the transport of high liability dangerous goods) as well as for clearing remaining obstacles to maritime transport in the EU. ‘Short-sea’ shipping in the EU is still underutilised as it frequently loses the battle against road transport which (unlike shipping) benefits from the Schengen system of open borders — but the new tracking system is setting the stage to change all this. With shipping risks now being monitored far more effectively than their road counterparts a clear opportunity to free up short-sea shipping is emerging, and Belgium plans to be right in the middle of it. In the mid 1990s Belgium was declassified as a Flag State, as its home fleet dwindled – the vogue shifting to register ships in ‘tax haven’ countries. With Belgium changing its tax laws to compete with these states and working on its reputation as a quality controller, shipping companies now rest easier knowing that flying a reputable flag means you get inspected less (time is money after all) and attract better customers. Today it makes sense to register your ships in Belgium—good news for everyone concerned.


++ Directorate General Maritime Transport of the FPS Mobility and Transport ++ The responsible authority in context of Belgium’s role as a Port, Coastal and Flag State ++ Instrumental in developing the reputation of Belgium’s home fleet ++

The Fifth Conference with


Deepening of the Scheldt without ships

—Marc Huybrechts


Since time immemorial a struggle has been raging to put Antwerp on the map as an international port and ensure that Antwerp can measure up to major competing ports. Dossiers such as the deepening of Scheldt river, the Deurganckdok and Saeftingedok, the Iron Rhine, the hinterland connections etc. feature high on the political agenda and enjoy a good deal of public and media interest. All of these are crucial elements for the further expansion and development of our port and, if we want to avoid Antwerp losing its leading role as a world-class port and logistics junction, then we must keep working hard to ensure that these projects are implemented successfully. There is however one document that has some difficulty in making the political agenda, for which the media show little or no interest and public interest is just about non-existent. Yet this issue deserves its place just as much on the list of priorities alongside the deepening of the Scheldt and additional storage and transfer capacity in our port, since it could have a big impact on the competitive position of our country, our ports/airports and the businesses which operate there. Maybe you have guessed it already, this issue is about customs. International organisations such as the World Bank have in past studies indicated that there is a great deal of room for improvement at the Belgian customs. In the "Logistics Performance Indicator

2007", a barometer that measures the performance of different regions, Belgium scores relatively well at the 12th place. But when looking specifically at customs, Belgium drops to the 16th position, with neighbouring countries such as the Netherlands (1st) and Germany (3rd) far ahead. This means a direct competitive disadvantage for Belgium vis-à-vis our neighbouring countries. Belgium is lagging behind countries such as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden. Because of this lag Belgium risks losing trade flows to neighbouring countries where customs legislation is more company-friendly. During an EU summit in Lisbon in 2000 EU heads of government concluded an agreement that set an ambitious economic objective: by 2010 the EU must be “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy in the world”. For this to be achieved the functioning of the internal market must improve; hence trade facilitation and a reduction of administrative charges have become important challenges for customs authorities. Simplified customs procedures, modern technology and transparency are required for this. If the EU does not want to lose momentum then it must be among the front-runners in the field of trade facilitation. The e-customs programme is strongly focussed on this by offering technological tools. For some time consultation has been taking place between customs and economic operators to review and implement the various sub-projects in the context

of the MASP (Multi Annual Strategic Plan). The main question has been how projects such as ECS (Export Control System), ICS (Import Control System) and EMCS (Excise Movement Control System) can in practice be translated into workable procedures against the background of the deadlines that are being prescribed by Europe. Projects which also form part of this e-customs programme and which must be implemented by 2013 are SEAP (Single European Access Point) and Centralised Clearance. These fit perfectly within the objective of the EU and can reduce barriers to internal markets and increase the competitiveness of European business activity. Centralised Clearance can be regarded as a continuation and expansion of SEAP. The aim of Centralised Clearance is to enable a company to meet all its obligations in respect of imports and exports, for all its activities in the EU, in one member country.

several suitable locations the possibility of using a Single Access Point or Centralised Clearance can be the deciding factor. It is not inconceivable that a leading group of member countries could emerge who conclude agreements and cooperate with SEAPs and Centralised Clearance and thereby acquire a strong competitive advantage vis-à-vis member countries that lag behind. Even now we can see in a number of member countries that customs is working proactively in consultation with the private sector to be fully prepared for this. Via Centralised Clearance the flow of goods can in theory be completely detached from the flow of documents. As a result one could submit a customs declaration for goods at one central point, wherever in the EU these might be. Declarations could be made by specialised service centres in Poland for goods arriving in Antwerp and which must be delivered in Germany. Multinationals can central-

We need an in-depth reform of our customs administration. Possibly one of the most important consequences of these projects is that trade flows may be redirected via member countries which provide their full cooperation. When choosing their place of business or organising their logistics flows companies will continue to consider the location of markets, infrastructure, labour costs, availability of qualified staff and taxes, but in cases where a company can choose among

ise all their import flows at one customs office in one EU member state, which only leaves compliance with regulations in respect of VAT and excise duties. One does not have to be a customs specialist to be able to predict the potentially farreaching consequences this may have for the customs activities in our ports and airports as well as the consequences for our country as a logistics junction. The only way to keep these activities


here is by ensuring that the goods flows are handled here in a smooth, efficient and quick manner and enjoy all possible facilities. The technological competence, specialised knowledge and qualified personnel in numerous companies can only continue to act as competitive element if customs can guarantee adequate facilitation of the flow of goods.

circulation of goods flows coming from and destined for certified companies. These concepts are based on mutual trust between customs and economic operators, whereby companies are asked to take over certain inspection tasks from customs via self-assessment. A serious change of mentality among our civil servants will be needed to transform their deep-seated mistrust vis-à-

Via Centralised Clearance the flow of goods can in theory be completely detached from the flow of documents. Concepts such as Secure Trade Lanes, AEO and One Stop Shop (goods are only subject to 1 examination for different purposes) will turn out to be important elements in this. The most important bottlenecks which still need to be resolved in relation to the Centralised Clearance concept are no doubt the regulation of VAT and excise duties as well as the distribution of the “collection costs” (the member state which levies and collects the customs duties may keep 25% of the collected customs duties) at the European level. In all European Regulations and Directives it is stated in black on white that customs must be a facilitator of trade and must ensure that goods flows are able to circulate without too much administrative hassle and delay. Horizontal supervision via secure trade lanes and AEO are good examples of this. One of the objectives of secure trade lanes and AEO is to bring about a smooth

vis commerce into mutual trust. Given the serious impact of these projects on competitiveness at a European level and their potential influence on employment, on the logistical functions of our ports/airports and the retention of knowledge and skills in our companies, we consider it necessary that all those responsible at a political level, at the customs administration as well as in the private sector, join hands to examine how Belgium can best prepare itself and ensure that goods flows and the associated customs activities do not migrate to other countries. One of the most important conclusions from a recent study by Deloitte about the customs administration in our country is that with the current structure we are not capable and not prepared to withstand the major European challenges which we can expect in years to

come. On the European scene, where these projects are being discussed and prepared, our country appears to excel mainly in terms of passivity. If we want to ensure that the biggest container ships continue to call at our port, then we need not only a deepening of the Scheldt but also an in-depth reform of our customs administration. And for that we do not even need the goodwill of our northern neighbours ...

Marc Huybrechts is what we could call a self-made man. He started working when he was only 14 years old as a runnerboy, and gradually worked his way up. In 1992 he founded his own company. In the meantime he was also president of the Antwerp forwarder’s society and at present he is —amongst other things— president of the custom’s commission of Alfaport Antwerp. At this moment he is director of the logistics division of the Gosselin Group in Antwerp.


The 'miracle' of Brussels South Charleroi airport 10 years ago a small, almost abandoned airport, situated less than 50 km from Brussels, was chosen to operate the first Low Cost route from Belgium. Today, 10 years later, Brussels South Charleroi Airport is growing by over 20% per year and has become the country’s second airport. The reasons for this success can be found in a few key elements such as excellent accessibility, new and comfortable infrastructure, ultra quick operations and of course, low fares.

The airport positions itself as a low cost airport without being “cheap”, meaning that passengers are welcomed in a nicely designed, shoe box shaped, brand new terminal. The infrastructure guides passengers hassle free in 20 minutes from the entrance to the aircraft seat and for those who wish to spend some more time, all sorts of facilities are available, ranging from full WiFi access, large tax free shops and several bars and restaurants. On a regular basis the airport welcomes temporary exhibitions and events that are accessible without cost for all passengers.   In 2009, 7 airlines fly to over 60 routes from Brussels South Charleroi Airport, including Ryanair, Wizzair, Jetairfly, Jet4you, Private Wings, Flyonair and Airarabia Maroc. While in 2008 3 million passengers chose to fly to or from Charleroi, 2009 will bring 4 million passengers. Globally 50% of all the traffic at “the friendly airport” is outgoing, meaning that almost 50% of all passengers come from abroad, which obviously represents an important boost for the local economy. Arriving passengers have the choice to take one of the over 30 shuttle busses, directly to Brussels Midi Station or can choose between public transport, taxi or a doorto-door shuttle to carry on their journey. For those who wish to spend the night without going far, 5 hotels are situated a couple of minutes from the airport terminal. 

' 40

Brussels South Charleroi Airport is growing by over 20% per year and has become the country’s second airport.


One can feel the “buzz” when being at the airport. All of the airlines present at the airport continue to expand their network and additional services are launched on an almost monthly basis. Next to the airport gas station and car wash, more parking spaces are being built, the food and beverage offer will be extended, an official Airport Magazine has been created to provide passengers with the hottest tips on trips etc.


++ Belgium’s ‘second’ airport ++ Important hub for low-cost airlines ++ New terminal operational since January 2008 ++ Regularly voted “best airport” by operating airlines

Very few people believed 10 years ago that this tiny airport, would become the region’s most powerful economic engine. Today, politicians, investors and members of the airline industry from around the world travel to Brussels South in order to understand the “miracle of Charleroi”. This concept is highly successful and will continue to develop in the upcoming years with more routes, more services (a dedicated railway station is being prepared) and lower fares, all realized by the airlines and the enthusiastic staff of Brussels South Charleroi; the friendly airport.

++ Average turnaround time: 25’ ++ Lost bags: 1 in 5,000 (European average 1 in 65) ++ Employment: 500 FTE ++ Employment linked to airport activities: 5,000 FTE ++ Situated in the “Aéropole”, one of Belgium’s fastest developing high tech business areas ++

The Fifth Conference with



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The aviation hub in a changing market

—Wilfried Van Assche Aviation in our country started the millennium with many new challenges. Our flag carrier, Sabena went bankrupt and the aftermath of 9/11 had an unprecedented impact on aviation world-wide and in our country. A drastic wave of renewal among Belgian airline companies fundamentally changed the landscape. Ownership of many key players at the airport changed hands. The national airport itself was privatized.


The post-Sabena era was characterised by a new dynamic, characterised especially by the growth of the “home” market and a reduced share of transfer traffic. The low cost market expanded at a rapid rate. New long-haul companies followed in the footsteps of those which had withdrawn in 2001/2002. The current crisis has put a temporary halt to this growth and the sector is once again consolidating. Undoubtedly it will emerge from the struggle with renewed strength soon when the economy revives. While passenger transport is a lever for the business world as well as for tourism, Air freight forms an essential part of the logistics backbone of modern industry evolving towards faster processing times and specialised niche activities. A study by the Catholic University of Louvain a few years ago and a recent analy­sis by the National Bank of Belgium both endorse the role of Brussels Airport as an economic portal and engine for job creation in the region.

Each job directly created at Brussels Airport produces two additional jobs in the wider environment. This conversion ratio applies to most airports. Brussels Airport is also the lifeline for institutions such as the EU, Nato and many hundreds of small and large companies which depend on their presence. These, in turn, provide a reason for the existence of a rich variety of companies in aviation, logistics, tourism and many other related sectors. Against these undeniable economic advantages of having a large, successful airport serving the needs of the capital of Europe are justifiable demands of the everyday living environment. The quality of the air and noise levels experienced by nearby residents needs to be taken into consideration when planning for the future. The advance of technology is an important means towards this end. Aircraft that are quieter, use less fuel and emit fewer combustion fumes, new landing procedures, and the use of alternative energy at airports will all improve the impact of the sector on the living environment in the medium to long term.

Aviation on the move Technological innovations provide new possibilities in long-haul travel. It is expected that mega-planes such as the Airbus 380 will allow large numbers of intercontinental travellers to transfer via a handful of mega-hubs per continent. These are steadily getting bigger but are gradually reaching their saturation

point – certainly in Europe. On the other hand there is the development of new planes such as the Boeing 787 ‘dreamliner” and the Airbus 350, which will make it possible to service long, “thinner” flight routes with fewer passengers. This new generation of jets is becoming more environmentally friendly and more efficient. This evolution makes it possible for our region to open up to a range of additional direct destinations on other continents in an economically responsible manner. We also see an increasing demand for low fare travel, certainly for travel within Europe. This demand is being met by a rapid growth

Euros, all costs included. A flight to Southern Europe is becoming fully competitive with the journey by car. Automation makes it possible for quite a number of processes to become quicker, more accurate and often cheaper. More and more tickets and other travel products are being sold via the internet. Checking in is also increasingly being done at home and at the office, via the internet. At the airport itself, moreover, there are check-in machines which save passengers time by checking themselves in. Even the boarding process is automated: various trial programmes are running at the moment whereby

The development of new planes such as the Boeing 787 ‘dreamliner” and the Airbus 350, will make it possible to service long, “thinner” flight routes with fewer passengers... This evolution makes it possible for our region to open up to a range of additional direct destinations of low-cost companies, but also by an attractive pricing policy on the part of the traditional carriers. Full-service companies like Brussels Airlines are offering low fares that can compete with those of the low cost carriers in their tariff structures. Most of the former charter companies also sell individual tickets and focus on lowcost and last minute offers nowadays. When booked early, most European destinations can be reached for a return fare of less than 100

barcodes on the screen of the passenger’s GSM or PDA replace the boarding pass. Technology also provides significant support at the level of security and there are high expectations of developments around biometrics (personal recognition via iriscopy, fingerprints or other unique characteristics). The events of September 2001 in the US led to the addition of security measures worldwide that had not been seen before. This was followed in 2006 by

limitations on the carrying of liquids and gels in passenger cabins, with drastic monitoring procedures. These measures have had an impact on the time and comfort of travellers. The challenge for a modern airport is to reconcile thorough security checks with passengers’ needs in terms of comfort, time and privacy: principles which are sometimes at odds with each other.

Public transport Trains have an important influence on aviation for two reasons. High speed trains are competing with airlines for passengers on short point to point distances like Amsterdam, London or Paris. On the other hand this very same train offers better transport to passengers with slightly further destinations, between the airport and their homes or workplaces. This evolution widens the hinterland of the airport. As a result, the airport increasingly acquires a multimodal character. As a junction of different forms of transport the airport is a fertile breeding ground for a range of businessrelated activities. Airports are experiencing increasing interest as locations for the building of hotels, meeting centres, office environments with added value and conference facilities. More than ever, alongside such super-gateways like London and Frankfurt, mega-airports with a million passengers per week, there is a need for efficient secondary gateways with intercontinental specialisation. What Vienna is for Eastern Europe and the Middle East,


and Helsinki for Asia, Brussels is for Central Africa and India today. The proximity of the European capital in Brussels also ensures a main role for us in intra-European transport.

Segmentation The needs of a family with children and a baby are different from those of the departing business passenger. Airports need increasingly to recognize and address these different needs. That’s why we now increasingly see fast lane security services and quick check-in facilities for the business traveller and facilities like kids play areas for the leisure passengers. Moreover, there is another reality which airports cannot ignore. Low Cost today transports a third of all passengers travelling within Europe, and within four years will transport one-half. Passengers on these airlines chose them strictly on the basis of price and have no need for alls sorts of services that traditional airlines—and airports—offer. Meeting the needs of those passengers by the traditional airports, like Brussels, is also a major challenge.

Cargo Attracting integrators such as FedEx, DHL and TNT for the expansion of sorting centres and the establishment of their hubs offered new opportunities to the cargo community and the business world in the 70s. Nowadays there is limited public support for freight activities which predominantly need night flights. These night operations are increasingly being replaced

by airfreight activities which can be carried out during the day, and are often closely related to passenger transport by the same company. Airfreight is an important economic driver for our economy. New activities arise from the presence of the rapid transport opportunities provided by the airports. The market demands better security, intelligent logistics processes and the presence of companies at the airport itself that can produce added value in the logistics process (repackaging, sorting, order-picking ...). At the same time the strength of a mediumsized airport is shown by its capacity to handle specific niche products: valuable goods, perishable cargo, live transport and dangerous products.

Closing Competition between airports was virtually nonexistent in the past, but today it is raging full-on. Brussels competes with Amsterdam and Paris for passengers to Africa, India or North America. It competes for leisure passengers with other regional airports in Belgium but also the Netherlands, Germany and France. It competes with both large international hubs but also specialized smaller airports for freight. Successfully meeting those competitive challenges and doing this in a way that has broad public support—that is the key challenge for aviation in Belgium for the future.

Wilfried Van Assche is CEO of the Brussels Airport Company


4| Logistics Powerhouse (or not) A

t a policy level, the decision is made: Flanders must become a logistics powerhouse, an ‘intelligent pivot point’ in Europe. We have our central location, our existing infrastructure and a tremendous amount of know-how in logistics—all this needs to be optimally exploited. Our future prosperity depends on it. Perhaps, but at least three key questions need answering.

Firstly, will the goods keep on flowing? Much of this strategy and the associated investments in our ports and transport infrastructure assumes a continued growth in international trade well into the coming century. There are an increasing number of warning signals, however, that we best hold this assumption under critical review. The oil price is one such factor. Cheap oil has enabled the massive growth in international trade during the past two to three decades. But cheap oil came to an abrupt end in 2008 when prices peaked at $140 a barrel. Prices have eased in the wake of the economic crisis but in recent months picked up again to the $70 range (and this when we are still in deep economic crisis). As soon as the economy picks up properly oil prices are likely to shoot upwards again because the key drivers behind the high oil price (e.g. the marginal cost of new production) have not changed (in fact, they have got worse—investment in new production has declined due to the financial crisis).


If we do let the goods flow over our territory, how do we ensure that it makes economic sense to do so?


Secondly, the economic crisis has led to a collapse in international trade. The Port of Antwerp, for example, is looking at 10-50% declines in volume, depending on the type of freight. Trade should pick up again once the global economy gets going, but few know when and at what pace. Also, there are questions being raised about whether it should reach those heady heights of years past. The world’s top exporters, Germany and Japan, have been hit particularly hard by the crisis and are beginning to wonder if their economies should be so export-orientated. Thirdly, the congestion and infrastructure problem in Flanders is not unique. As argued

Anybody care to unload me?

in a recent Foreign Affairs essay1, most of the major ports around the world are hampered by congestion problems, creating delays and uncertainty in companies’ supply chains. This is driving costs up, and in response companies appear to be beginning to shorten their supply chains. Finally, in the longer term the manufacturing costdifferentials globally will ease, as Asian wages increase. Obviously there will still be specialisation, but ultimately this should be more in terms of know-how. This fits too in the emerging ‘materials management’ (better known under the ‘cradle-to-cradle’ concept) approach whereby manufacturers will be asked to take much greater responsibility for the materials they use, leading to greater use of ‘leasing’ concepts and hence shorter supply chains. International trade is obviously not going to go away, and will remain pivotal for a small country like Belgium that is located centrally in an open European market. What is more uncertain is the extent and scale to which trade will re-emerge following the economic crisis. Secondly, if we do let the goods flow over our territory, how do we ensure that it makes economic sense to do so? There are plenty of stats and cases showing that logistics does add economic value, but some economists wonder if this can be sustained in the years ahead. The National Bank of Belgium reported that in the period 2006 the direct and indirect economic contribution of Belgium’s six major harbours (Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Ghent, Ostend, Brussels and Liége) amounted to approximately 10% of total added value in Belgian GDP and about 8% of total domestic employment. That is obviously significant. The many cases illustrate these 1) Marc Levinson. Freight Pain: The Rise and Fall of Globalisation. Foreign Affairs, Nov-Dec 2008.


stats well. Take the Port of Antwerp, itself responsible for about 3% of GDP. The Port argues that about 20% of incoming goods are processed here. Logistics service providers located at the port, like Katoen Natie and Hessenatie Logistics, own vast warehousing facilities where they offer a range of different added value services. These include relatively straightforward storage, stock management or repackaging services, but also more complex reverse supply chain services (managing product returns), production services (reasonably standardised production processes like pre-assembly, canning, filtering, flaking, etc) and collaborative supply chain services (see the article by Ben Devis). These same companies are also key actors in the plan to cluster logistical activities further inland. Katoen Natie, for example, is building a huge facility at the Port of Brussels. But logistics isn’t simply about the logistics sector. A large number of international manufacturing companies have located their European distribution centres in Belgium—about 400 in Flanders alone. A tremendous amount of logistical activity is conducted in the country by companies like Bridgestone, with its storage capacity for 1.3 million tires in Zeebrugge, and Nike, with its 1500 employees in Laakdal.

© PAL - Experience Image: Aerial view of the future platform Liège Trilogiport

The biggest value-add to the economy, however, comes

from the highly concentrated industrial activity that relies on maritime access for its supply and distribution. The best example here is the chemical and petrochemical cluster in Antwerp (the biggest of its sort in Europe), but the steel industry, the automotive industry and the bio-fuels cluster in Ghent fit ino this picture too. But that sort of investment, of which we received a great deal of in the post-WWII period by US multinationals and later by German companies, has largely shifted to the east (Eastern Europe and Asia). This is why the Port of Antwerp is expanding primarily in container traffic. If those containers are opened up at distribution centres like Nike’s facility, then we are still talking about economic value and jobs, but if they are driven by lorry on to an end-destination elsewhere in Europe then the economic value is understandably limited. It is on this issue that economists like Geert Noels and Ivan Van de Cloot are beginning to question the whole ‘intelligent pivot point’ policy direction. Their point is that enormous amounts of tax payers’ money is being used to build infrastructure that on the one hand attracts containers (the new container docks), and that on the other hand tries to push them out as quickly as possible (via rail, road and waterway infrastructure). While the act of building that infrastructure may figure as economic activity, what will be the economic return? According to the aforementioned economists that question has not been properly answered. In their defence, the proponents of the logistical strategy argue that we need to build our infrastructure in such a way that we attract much more logistical activity carried out by the likes of Nike and Hessenatie Logistics. But this brings us to the third question: how will we manage the escalating flow of goods over our territory, in the light of our ageing infrastructure and the increasing concern about environmental issues? In years past, the short answer to that question was modal shift, i.e. pushing goods off the road onto rail and inland waterways. That hasn’t worked out as planned though. The waterways have seen strong growth in their traffic volumes but since the overall volume of freight increased simultaneously, their market share has remained reasonably stable at 13% of total ton-km (2005). Rail too has struggled to make a breakthrough, leaving its share at 12%. And in the ‘business as usual’ scenario of the Federal Planning Bureau that isn’t about to change. It predicts that by 2030 those market shares will rise to respectively 15% (water) and 14% (rail). Hence, something structural needs to change. This is where the Extended Gateways plan is supposed to offer

an answer. Developed by the Flanders Institute for Logistics (see article page 46), the Extended Gateways plan is currently being adopted by the Flemish government as a key framework for implementing its logistics strategy. There are two key elements to this plan: one is concerned with infrastructure and spatial planning, the other with technology and new business models. With regard to infrastructure and spatial planning the idea is to demarcate dedicated zones in Flanders for logistical activities. These zones are to be equipped with multi-modal freight terminals, which accomplish two things: on the one hand they connect the three transport networks (road, rail, water) to each other so that ‘co-modal’ transport is enabled. In essence this means pushing freight away, in bulk, from the sea ports via inland waterways and rail, so that it can be processed and/or transferred to another mode at the inland logistical ‘hotspot.’ In principle there is nothing new about this. Nike’s distribution centre, for example, fits perfectly in this model. Its facility is located just next to the WCT (Water Container Terminal) on the Albert Canal in Meerhout. Nike’s supply comes mainly from Asia and hence arrives via the sea ports and subsequently barge to the WCT facility. In the distribution centre the goods are subsequently sorted and processed to be sent on to 50,000 clients in Europe. Much of this second phase of the trajectory happens by lorry, but an increasing amount is sent on via rail too. The value of the Extended Gateway plan is that it offers the government a framework for spatial planning and infrastructure works, so that many more companies join Nike at this particular hotspot. It is in this clustering strategy that the second element of the plan becomes possible.


How will we manage the escalating flow of goods over our territory, in the light of our ageing infrastructure and the increasing concern about environmental issues?


By concentrating both the flow and processing of goods along logistical axes and hotspots, the idea is that new opportunities emerge for bundling the supply chains of different companies. This can range from the reasonably straightforward (e.g. sharing warehouse infrastructure) to the more sophisticated (e.g. joining up transport planning). In essence this is what logistics service providers already do. Hessenatie Logistics, for example, is trying to take it a step further by designing services that will allow companies to share their product inventories in a transparent manner. That logistics is and will become more ‘intelligent’ is not in dispute. However, among some logistical companies there is a fair amount of cynicism toward the ‘intelligent logistics’ mantra. According to them, logistics is already intelligent. It became so years ago when manufacturing companies began outsourcing their logistical activities to specialised services providers (today few manufacturing companies own lorries). Logistical service providers are inherently motivated to optimize their transport planning as much as is possible. According to them, those ‘empty lorries’ people keep on complaining about do not exist. Others, like Alex Van Breedam (now partner at Tri-Vizor) argue that there is an opportunity to create new markets for logistic service providers. If logistics companies exchange their planning information via a neutral entity like Tri-Vizor there should be opportunity to bundle additional flows, which in turn should open up opportunities to offer specialised services like reverse logistics, assembly services, etc, that would not otherwise be viable for a single player. Again, however, there seems to be lack of data about how full or empty those trucks on our roads really are.


A 'business as usual' approach won’t suffice.


So much for intelligent logistics and better spatial planning. For many in the sector, however, none of these proposed solutions should be used as an excuse to avoid having to make significant investment in road, rail and waterways. Capacity of the waterways—especially the Albert canal—needs to be increased (to handle container traffic) by raising bridges and building larger lock systems. Also, it is hoped that clustering of logistical activity will lead to the development of larger terminals and service providers. At present the waterway transport market is criticised for being too fragmented, i.e. many of the shipping lines and terminal operators are far too small, creating problems back at the sea port where large loads need to be split up into many smaller loads, spread over numerous suppliers. More concentration and scale is needed, both to reduce cost and to make feasible value added logistics services. The sector is also looking for improvement in the rail service, which is criticised for being too inflexible in its service offering (the perception is that it can only handle high-volume loads based on rigid schedules). In response, B-Cargo is reorganising its operation. Specifically, it wants to be able bundle goods from various customers more effectively, and begin to offer a more complete solution (e.g. offer first- and last-mile transport by working with partners across Europe).

Finally, the road network needs to be addressed, especially the main international ‘crossroads’ on our territory; the Ring roads of Brussels and Antwerp. The plans exist—the Oosterweel connection for Antwerp and a smaller number of projects (extra lanes) for Brussel—but these are extremely contentious, given the environmental and social cost of extra road traffic. But even if we do go ahead and build the additional roads being proposed, and upgrade rail and the waterways, then still we may not be in the clear. If international trade picks up its earlier growth trajectory; if the two new container docks at the Port of Antwerp operate at full capacity; then indeed we could still be heading for gridlock on our road system, with all the commensurate costs in congestion, emissions, noise, urban degradation, etc. This is why experts like Willy Winkelmans propose that we invest in an additional transport mode, i.e. underground freight transport (see Professor Winkelmans’ article on page 62). The argument is an elegant one and deserves attention. The new transport mode could be designed specifically for the needs of freight (dual use modes such as road and rail are less effective than dedicated modes like high speed rail), and carries nearly none of the costs associated with surface transport, i.e. no carving up of urban and rural space, no noise, no emissions (if powered by renewable energy) and much lower maintenance costs. To conclude, the vision of this country as a logistics powerhouse remains contentious. Nevertheless, it seems clear that the proponents of our logistical future hold all the cards at present. If we are to succeed in this endeavour—i.e., create economic value while minimizing the environmental costs—then we clearly have work to do. A 'business as usual' approach won’t suffice. The principles of the Extended Gateways plan need urgent implementation and we need the courage to look at ‘radical’ ideas like tubular transport.


“Beam me up, Scotty!”

—Ben Devis to important cost savings for all parties involved and may yield new business opportunities. Cost savings are related to reductions in inventories, in warehousing space and in transport capacities. New business opportunities will occur when parties start using each others products and expertise in a collaborative manner.

Logistics was not a big challenge for Captain Kirk and his mates during their Star Trek adventures. Captain Kirk’s transporter chief, Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, was capable of beaming people and things toward remote places in near-realtime. True, people sometimes got lost. But generally spoken, Scotty’s machinery did the job perfectly - without any delay, at a cost within budget and without apparent impact on the carbon foot print of space. Unfortunately, our present technologies are not capable of beaming things. We cannot achieve the service level offered to captain Kirk. Our technologies are less capable. Nevertheless, our logistics should strive to match Scotty’s service level by making smart use of concepts and technologies. Transport, Storage, Handling, Information & Communication technologies have to be lined up in order to execute logistic processes which aim to be as capable as Scotty’s. In the same way, logistics processes have to be rethought and have to be re-designed whenever technology evolutions offer new opportunities. Collaboration in logistics is a huge opportunity. Collaboration means that different parties allow each other to make use of each other’s resources. Resources such as infrastructure, equipment, people and even products. Collaboration happens for example when two (or more) independent manufacturing

companies decide to make use of each others warehouse infrastructure as a base for the European Distribution Centre of their final products. More collaboration occurs when these manufacturers join up their transport planning in order to maximize truck loads towards their European customer base. Extended collaboration happens when such companies offer each others products to their European customers with an open book approach.

Notwithstanding these opportunities, it is a fact that the number of successful collaboration projects in logistics is small. New projects are scarce. The reasons for the gap between theory and practice probably may be quite simple. Collaboration implies that parties decide to share their resources, with full respect for each others autonomy. Such autonomy can only be warranted if:

Extended collaboration happens when such companies offer each others' products to their European customers with an open book approach.

Great opportunities can be realized when health care organizations decide to collaborate and to share warehouses and inventories for their medical supplies.

++ Parties have a clear understanding of the TO BE processes, service levels, related costs and the sharing mechanisms for cost savings. The TO BE processes will need to ensure that parties will respect each others markets. ++ Parties can monitor such processes, costs and service levels in a near real time. Collaborating parties will have to be able intervene in these processes if they wish to.

Collaborative environments undoubtedly lead

Undoubtedly evolutions in Information &

A similar example can be found when service organizations such as insurance or banking companies would share warehouses, inventories and transport means for the supply of stationary, collateral and promotional materials to their local offices.

Communication technologies over the last decade have enabled collaboration in logistics technically (ii). Logistic Solution Providers are nowadays in a position to implement and to execute collaborative Supply Chain Projects on behalf of several parties whereby these parties are actively involved and participating in the processes. The problem with (i) is that parties operating in similar markets often are reluctant to share information with each other. Furthermore parties may lack sufficient expertise in order to document TO BE processes in a contractual and objective manner, safeguarding their business goals. The challenge posed by (i) may be solved when collaborating parties are able rely on professional and independent “Orchestration Partners”, who have the capabilities and the expertise to shape collaboration projects. Effectively, new “Orchestration Partners” are today emerging, trying to identify and to implement collaboration projects. It is their challenge to boost our logistics by enabling collaboration projects. Collaboration in logistics will allow us to deliver products into places at lower costs, with higher response times and with a smaller carbon foot print. Similar to what Kirk and his mates are doing somewhere up there between the stars….

Dr ir Ben Devis is Product Development Manager at Hessenatie Logistics. Hessenatie Logistics is a service provider, designing and implementing logistics solutions & supply chain management for third parties. Ben manages the conceptual design of these solutions.


Know. Apply. Grow.

— Flanders Institute for Logistics is delivering breakthroughs in sustainable, value added logistics

Ever wondered how Flanders will strengthen its position as the logistics powerhouse of Europe? The Flanders Institute for Logistics (Vlaams Instituut voor de Logistiek – VIL) may have the answer. Their Extended Gateway Flanders plan (a 300 page tome, known as ‘the bible’ in logistics circles) is the organisation’s bid to solve the transport dilemma while guaranteeing a continued growth in value-adding logistic activities. One of the most important obstacles standing in the way of continued growth in international trade is the road congestion around the world’s major sea ports. Building ever bigger ships is all good and well but you still need to get those goods away from the sea port once the ship docks. In Antwerp, the existing road infrastructure is pretty much at capacity. Hence VIL’s plan is to extend elements of the four Flemish sea ports and the airport (the gateways) into the interior utilising superior connections. Why unload everything at the sea port, when you can ship goods in bulk onward via inland waterways or rail to new areas zoned specifically for value-added logistical activity?


Even companies in stiff competition realise that together they can do more, hence the idea to encourage cooperation around innovative projects.


These ideas and more have taken hold in Flanders—in fact, the Flemish government has adopted the plan and is currently studying new infrastructure needs, new market organisation and labour policy initiatives. This is one plan (albeit a large one)—VIL has more in the pipeline. Primarily VIL is an organisation that wants to enhance the performance of its members through research and projects. Founded in 2003 under the initiative of a number of logistics service providers—and with financial support from the Flemish government—VIL’s mission is to stimulate innovation in the logistics sector and to help leverage Flanders as the leading sustainable logistics gateway to Europe. Even companies in stiff competition realise that together they can do more, hence the idea to encourage cooperation around innovative projects. Much has been achieved since then with the result that logistics today is recognised as a strategic sector in Flanders. Having spent the past six years doing much research work—some of it in support of the Extended Gateway ‘masterplan’—today the VIL, in context of its second covenant with the Flemish government, is changing gear somewhat to focus on practical, shorter-term innovation projects. This means replicating the success of earlier projects like Zeebrugge Food Logistics and Combinant nv. In 2007 at the request of the Zeebrugge Fish Auction, VIL researched the potential for consolidating logistical activities of multiple fresh food companies at the Port of Zeebrugge. Two years later in 2009 Zeebrugge Food Logistics formally opened its doors. This new 5,000 m2 warehouse, entailing an investment of 10 million Euros, offers fresh food companies in the area all the facilities they need to handle value-added logistical activity. Combinant nv is a new multimodal rail terminal being built close to the BASF site at the Port of Antwerp. It concerns an investment of 29 million Euros and will eventually transfer 150,000 container movements to rail (thus reducing road congestion). VIL played an instrumental role in the project via its preparatory research in the project’s feasibility.



++ Innovation platform for the Flemish logistics sector ++ Developed the reputed Extended Gateway plan ++

VIL aims to build on these successes by tightening its approach so that pragmatic results—in terms of investments in new innovative projects or ventures—are practically guaranteed. Firstly, the VIL is in ongoing consultation with the sector to identify the most pressing challenges and opportunities. Possible opportunities are tentatively explored to understand the key issues better but a formal research project is only launched once real commitment (practical and financial) is secured from players in the sector. There needs to be serious commitment upfront to invest in a new initiative. The research itself also is focused heavily on finding a pragmatic solution—be it in building a business case via market analysis and forecast or via the pilot testing of new technology applications. As a publically funded institute, the VIL also leverages its research results as much as possible across the entire sector. In other words, this is not proprietary contractresearch for individual companies. On the contrary, the VIL tries to engage players across the board, including SMEs. Basically this approach translates into the VIL being more company-driven. Practical solutions directly affect the bottom line of all the participants. While many of the VIL’s projects are reasonably small-scale, the institute nevertheless aims to initiate a ‘breakthrough’ project every 2 years. This type of project involves numerous stakeholders in the sector and will lead to a pretty fundamental change in a major logistical process. Such projects will in essence put the Flanders region on the world map as a leading innovator in logistics.

The Flemish e-Logistics Platform (VeLP - Vlaams e-Logistiek Platform), a project currently being finalised, is an example of a breakthrough project. This project deals with the tracking and tracing of containers (and their contents) using electronic devices, as opposed to today’s system of seals and labels. This is a sector-wide project involving numerous international stakeholders. Hence the VIL is ideally positioned to facilitate cooperation between the various parties, and take responsibility for coordinating the pilot project. The impact of this project could be tremendous.

For example, by setting up a proof of concept (PoC), VIL wants to demonstrate that the developed technology can effectively support the customs processes and as such can contribute to the realization of future secured trade lanes (STL).

The Fifth Conference with



We can only win with logistics if we can reduce its impact.

And that is possible, but we’ll have to work together. —Luc Hooybergs There are not a lot of industries out there today that generate as many conflicting opinions in our region as logistics does. According to the believers, there is enormous economic potential in the logistics industry. According to the non believers, there is a potential environmental and social drama in the making. Both are possible. If we don’t act in a timely, appropriate and effective way, we will not harvest the economic potential that the logistics industry has for the coming decade(s). We run the risk of facing a heavy hit on the social and environmental side. But why would we? We have more than enough intelligence available to enable a prosperous economic growth while reducing the social and environmental impact. Doing that is the only sustainable goal I believe we can aim for with logistics.


Due to globalisation, the mass production of standard goods now happens in Asia or Eastern Europe. The final touch on these goods happens in warehouses or distribution centres (DCs) typically built in the centre of economic regions. That is why we find 2000 DCs in Flanders and the Netherlands. The finishing touch of goods manufactured in e.g. Asia often varies dependent on the customer or country it is destined for. It can vary from the final assembly of printer units by adding the required power cord and

a manual in the correct language, the price ticketing and security tagging of clothing and shoes, to the installations of customer requested car equipment like radios or GPS systems. The important social dimension of this evolution is that DCs allow a very diverse workforce to be employed. As an example, at the Nike European Logistics Centre in Laakdal, 60% of our on average 2000 employees are women. 85% of our employees work in the warehouse, the rest works in engineering or administrative activities. The warehouse employees are not recruited based on degree or educational level, but get selected on attitude, flexibility and teamwork. This implies that the DCs are one of the few industries in our region where lower educated people can start and even grow a career. This is not just the case at Nike, but typical for the industry of 'value added logistics'. The social and economic impact of these jobs is large. A recent study of the National Bank of Belgium has indicated that 210.000 people in Flanders or 8% of total workforce work in the logistics industry and 9% of the total added value is generated by Logistics. Valueadding activities play a key role in these numbers. But the growth of globalisation has undoubtedly also led to negative impacts with an increasing flow of containers in and out of the ports, causing mobility issues as we all experience in such logistics intense

regions like Flanders and the Netherlands. To counter these negative influences, a number of non-governmental organisations as well as political parties advocate for a drastic reduction in investments for the logistics industry, arguing that continued growth in logistics would choke our region due to traffic jams and polluted air. Their opponents excel in quantifying the economic advantages of the added value and the large employment the industry provides these days. The increasing weight behind these conflicting views is now creating a total standstill in critical cases like the mobility crisis around the Antwerp area. It feels like we have become a world champion in raising new studies while not making any decisions.

I am a logistics bel­iever, but not at all costs. Consumers are increasingly concerned and informed on how brands and companies perform on the social, ethical, cultural and environmental scale. Consumers no longer accept that companies do the wrong thing for our planet or the people on it, and they shouldn’t. The speed and volume of information is immense already and will continue to rise. The influential forces that will be generated against companies and brands that do the wrong thing will be devastating for those companies. Non-governmental organisations and media are and will continue to report increasingly on the bad examples. There will also be

an increased regulatory pressure to prevent companies making money on the back of our planet. When you buy food today that comes in standard packaging, you will find the energetic value on the packaging. We can expect that there will be a time not too far away that everything we buy has an environmental footprint rating on it. Those types of regulations will become a tsunami for companies that have not yet innovated their supply chain to become more sustainable. So what does all that imply for the logistics industry? I believe we will only be able to afford to grow our economic added value if at the same time we can reduce our social and environmental impact. And we can, big time!

We need to look ahead to find the solution. Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding. The level of diversification in the products they buy is higher than ever before; the ability to customise a product and make it unique is available in an increasing range of industries, and the speed with which consumers want to see these customised products delivered is shorter than ever before. This customisation will happen in the DCs close to the market, a great economic opportunity! Consumers want something unique and they want it immediately. And more and more, they will only pick the product from a brand or company


The only way to survive in this rapidly changing society is to work together, i.e. companies must collaborate, not just amongst themselves but also with knowledge institutes and social organisations. that represents good citizenship for society through strong ethical, cultural and environmental standards. Companies that are not using their intelligence in redesigning their supply chain to respond to these trends are doomed to fail. Sustainability will rise as the supreme metric above costs, value and speed. And due to consumers that only specify very late what they want, we need to have very responsive, agile and flexible supply chains. And this is where our biggest opportunity lies!

Open source innovation No company can find the solution just by themselves, let alone define the appropriate solutions in a timely manner. The good thing is that companies are beginning to realise this. I believe the solution lies in open source innovation. The only way to survive in this rapidly changing society is to work together, i.e. companies must collaborate, not just amongst themselves but also with knowledge institutes and social organisations. The ones that are able and willing to share their talents and even intellectual property will be the ones that design, develop and run the really sustainable solutions. They will succeed quicker than the ones who run by themselves. In some industries, this already happens. Not so in logistics. This is a traditionally very fragmented industry where tough competition for contracts leads everybody to protect their interests very

carefully. That is a paradigm that needs to be broken. I truly believe that only the ones that open up and work together will survive. What do I expect to be some of the key components of these innovative and sustainable logistics solutions? ++ Enhanced multimodal freight through smart spatial planning and adequate infrastructure investments. We need to secure adequate availability of industrial land in identified hot spots for the logistics industry and put new DCs in those areas. Only when we cluster logistical activity can we achieve the bundling of cargo streams in the same direction. Why not see to it that all containers heading from the port of Antwerp to an identified hot spot in Limburg are shipped via the Albert Canal, for example, to the container terminal in Meerhout? Road is not quicker, and for logistics centres likes ours that are located close to a terminal like this, this form transport is also cheaper than road. Still there are numerous containers being trucked into the hinterland and being trucked back empty. That generates a lot of environmental waste and mobility impacts. ++ Collaboration between shippers to bundle flows. A truck on the road today is only filled, on average, to the tune of 60%! If shippers were to bundle their goods, we would

need fewer trucks. The potential impact is significant, both in terms of environmental impact as well as congestion on the roads. But unfortunately the current examples where 2 or 3 shippers load trucks together are still very exceptional. And the number of trucks leaving daily within a radius of 50 km from each other in Belgium to arrive in a radius of 50km in the north of Italy can not be measured by 2 digits. The knowledge platform referred to earlier could be a source to develop and implement collaboration opportunities. This is not rocket science, but without a knowledge platform where the logistics industry gathers and collaborates to design the future, it will take much longer. ++ Supply chain orchestration through enhanced visibility and integrated networks. Collaboration as specified in the previous bullet point is typically between 2 or 3 shippers, but what if we take this much further? If all goods of all shippers would come together in 1 point, we could optimise fill rates and use available multimodal solutions in an optimal way. New information tools that allow companies to visualise and share all of their supply chain traffic will be developed. These tools will call for a new role in the industry, i.e. the “supply chain orchestrators,” that navigate through all of this information to

optimise transportation solutions. This is even possible on a global scale! Even if only five different companies that have their DCs in, for example, the Tongeren region, start combining their goods in a single container to China, as opposed to five separate containers, then the environmental impact will be significant, the economic savings as well. When looking at the hundreds of DCs in our region that bring goods in from Asia, just think of the environmental and economic opportunities if we could only orchestrate all this better. Some say this cannot be done. I don’t believe we should think in terms of limits to the evolution in technology. We have the intellectual knowledge to do all of this-at companies, knowledge centres, social organisations, etc. We just have to be willing to put our heads together to innovate for a better future. The first true innovation platform of this kind is in the make, at the newly created supply chain campus and top institute in Breda, Netherlands. I hope more will follow. Only then will we be truly contributing to a better world through smart logistics. I’m a believer. Logistics can be a prime source for sustainable growth in our region, but only when we work together.

Luc Hooybergs is CEO of Nike EMEA Distribution Centre in Laakdal


Reconsidering the ground rules of logistics

—Alex Van Breedam The fact that the world economy is currently dwindling into a recession could in some cases be considered as an opportunity, rather than as a threat. At such rare moments of creative destruction the global logistics industry is forced to reconsider its ground rules and traditional ways of working, and radical new ideas can gain ground. In the area of supply chains and logistics, like in most other areas, improved and tighter collaboration is on top of the agenda.


Moreover, the winning companies and economies of tomorrow, will be those that are the swiftest to adapt to the new global playing field by creating strong alliances and by working together to consolidate their supply chains. Horizontal collaboration, even between (semi-) competitors, and the bundling of freight flows across multiple companies, is expected to reshape the logistics landscape in the next decade. By clustering specific logistics activities and consolidating supply chains, significant economies of scale can be achieved in terms of efficiency (logistics cost), effectiveness (customer service) and environmental sustainability (carbon footprint). The traditional belief in supply chain management used to be that simultaneous improvements in all three of these dimensions is impossible to realize. Even in large multinational corporations, there exist too many tradeoffs; freight volumes and activities are just too small or fragmented. As a result, a company that wants to guarantee high service levels and just-in-time deliveries to its customers pays a stiff price. It cannot use cheaper or more sustainable modes of transportation such as rail or inland shipping. Because it has to ship its products in half empty vehicles, the company will also be held accountable for a relatively high CO2-emission or carbon

footprint. For several years now, the logistics world has been adamantly pleading for more collaboration as the only escape from this deadlock. Until today, a major obstacle on the road towards collaboration was the lack of a neutral go-between that owns the necessary methodologies, technologies and credibility to enable collaboration between independent players, sometimes even competitors. This neutral go-between will act as an orchestrator, a community manager.

with respect to their position in the supply chain, a neutral referee is required to manage the collaboration and to guarantee an objective redistribution of the gains. The orchestrator will play this role of neutral referee among the participants of the community. With respect to the bundled supply chain, the orchestrator could even be considered as its supply chain manager. As with the traditional onecompany supply chain, logistics service providers

If these ideas and concepts turn out to be realized in the next decade, a new market will emerge: a market for the cross-company supply chains. If these ideas and concepts turn out to be realized in the next decade, a new market will emerge: a market for the cross-company supply chains. This new market will exist beside the traditional supply chain market in which a company only manages its own supply chains. If some flows appear to be insufficiently efficient, effective or sustainable, a company can decide to bundle these flows with those of other companies in order to form a new cross-company supply chain. Hence, different shippers share a cross-supply chain and thus participate in a community. As these shippers are peers

will continue to play their role in the cross-supply chain market. The operation of a cross-supply chain is comparable to that of a traditional supply chain. However, this horizontal collaboration also requires an attitudinal shift among the logistics service providers. Logistics service providers must accept that they operate in a transparent mode towards the community. Also some of their processes and their ICT needs to be adapted to cross-supply chain operations. Given these barriers, the opportunity that goes with operating cross-supply chains is huge: a new market based on partnerships

and gain-sharing more than on subcontracting relations, leading to higher and more sustainable margins. Clearly, the market for crosssupply chains could eradicate a great deal of costly imperfections out of the traditional logistics market by substantially improving efficiency, effectiveness and the sustainability of supply chains and thus creating a multiple-win effect for all parties involved. Undoubtedly, this would be beneficial both for enterprise and society. The question is not ‘if’ this new market of crosscompany supply chains will emerge, but ‘when.’

Alex Van Breedam is CEO of Tri-Vizor, a cross-supply chain orchestrator. He previously led the Flanders Institute for Logistics and was principal author of the Extended Gateways plan.


We simply must have the courage to assess matters really critically.

Does logistics add sufficient value to justify subsidised infrastructure investment?

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Ivan Van de Cloot

Logistics and Flanders have always been associated with each other. Think of the harbour of Bruges which since the Middle Ages played a central role in the textile trade in which English wool was processed and exported again. A major difference from those days, however, is that today there is a powerful call for government money to make Flanders into a stronger logistics pivot point. But if we want to use tax revenue, there is a duty to show that the subsidised activity effectively adds value which is more than the cost price. In fact, one should also show that this activity represents a better use of resources than possible alternatives (for example, stimulating biotechnology), that socalled market failures are the reason why the private sector cannot do it alone and that the government must therefore help out1.

1) Development of a Strategy for Port Expansion: An Optimal Control Approach , Dekker, Sander; Verhaeghe, Maritime Economics & Logistics, Volume 10, Number 3, September 2008. , pp. 258-274(17)

Especially the heavy infrastructural works for container traffic of the last few years must be examined closely. With many investments the macro-economic proceeds largely end up somewhere else. The profit ends up in the balance sheets of foreign shipping companies and goods processors that rule the maritime market. Heavy and expensive harbour developments are hardly necessary for the non-maritime sector and even threaten to drive out local industry. According to the Flemish traffic centre, Flemish drivers spend 9 to 10 million hours per year in traffic jams. The cost of this is 2 percent of GDP. The congestion is becoming even worse as a result of new maritime investments. The rest of the economy will then be affected. Migration abroad will become a real danger. Non-maritime companies with high added value and large numbers of employees will become increasingly difficult to supply. People from the port sector themselves declare that the evolution from maritime to industrial activities has reached a ceiling, as a result of which, especially now, projects with lower added value are in the pipeline. I find it a step forward at any rate that the conclusion is being drawn to self-finance if necessary, without subsidy support. As a public economist I have no opinion to express about purely private investments.

Eyebrows are often raised when advocates of the sector come forward with highly exaggerated estimates of jobs and added value. That indicates that they are aware that their case is less strong than they would like it to be. We simply must have the courage to assess matters really critically.

Ivan Van de Cloot is chief economist at the Itinera Institute


B-Cargo —The key to sustainable logistics

If you’re a regular commuter on Belgian roads, chances are nothing can make you happier than the sight of a cargo train. Seeing cargo on a train means it’s not on the road in front of you. Annually in Belgium, about 60 million tons are transported by rail. Containers represents about a third of this total. Other important categories are metals, bulk, petrochemicals, agricultural and consumer products, and even cars – essentially all the things that you’d find in huge trucks impeding your progress to work in the morning.

Things haven’t been easy for rail cargo lately. B-Cargo, the cargo branch of the SNCB, has seen a significant drop in orders in line with the current global economic crisis. The company is nevertheless committed to regaining profitability and securing for itself a strong position before the market opens up, bringing in other international carriers onto Belgian rail. At first focussing inward to tighten the nuts and bolts, in 2003 the company conducted an extensive internal analysis. The result: a multi-pronged strategy to focus on the company’s existing strengths. B-Cargo does indeed have some impressive strengths. For instance, the company is particularly well positioned as a local service provider for major Belgian industries, such as the steel industry in Wallonia. Similarly, B-Cargo is active at the Belgian sea ports, especially the Port of Antwerp. This is crucial because rail is seen as one of the key pieces of the puzzle in ensuring the country’s position as a logistics powerhouse. As the sea Ports continue their expansion, rail will need to do its bit to get those incoming goods out to the hinterland.


Finally, B-Cargo is regarded as a ‘corridor’ specialist in the way they’ve organised international routes that traverse different national networks. This is no easy task since the classic rail network (as opposed to the high-speed rail network) is still a patchwork of national networks that are not standardised at the level of infrastructure (e.g. electrification voltage, security equipment, etc). As a result, locomotives (and their drivers) typically need to be changed at national borders. This



The commercial arm especially will be critical to the company’s future. While B-Cargo has always been well equipped from a technical and operation perspective, it is now making more effort to understand and meet its customers’ complete logistics need.

is a big time-sink. Nevertheless, the process can be optimised if good arrangements are made with the other national operators and via the use of specialised locomotives that can cope with different networks. In this way B-Cargo has organised a number of key European routes. For example, B-Cargo travels with its own trains and drivers from Zeebrugge and Antwerp to Dourges in France (close to Lillle). Similarly, routes have been organised to Milan in Italy, to Eastern Europe (Poland, Romania and Slovenia), to the Ruhr in Germany, and even as far afield as Turkey. Currently the group is in phase two of their internal reshuffle, with the organisation splitting up into three specialised units: commercial, technical and operational. The commercial arm especially will be critical to the company’s future. While B-Cargo has always been well equipped from a technical and operation perspective, it is now making more effort to understand and meet its customers’ complete logistics need. This means working more closely with other transport operators in order to offer clients an end-to-end solution (i.e. also taking care of the first- and last-mile services as opposed to simply the main rail route). Managing intermodal container traffic fits in perfectly here. B-Cargo’s intermodal unit, IFB, has co-invested in a new tri-modal terminal at the Port of Antwerp (Associated Terminal Operators - ATO), and is beginning to win some significant new contracts. For example, IFB recently convinced Procter & Gamble (P&G) to let it handle its goods transport. Trucks take responsibility for the first part of the route from the production sites of P&G in Mechelen and Aarschot to the rail terminal in Muizen. From there the goods are transport by rail

to the Port of Zeebrugge, where they’re loaded onto ship. This ongoing intermodal partnership involves 240 return trips per year or, looking at it another way, two fully P&G-dedicated trains of 30 railcars each per week.


++ Cargo branch of the SNCB ++ Transports approximately 60 million tons of cargo per year ++

These kinds of projects aren’t just good for the partners involved; they also show the way to a more sustainable form of logistics. In the period 1990-2005, the CO2 emissions from rail cargo declined by 26%. With emissions at about 1/5th that of using heavy lorry road transport, this is good news for everyone. Looking ahead, the company is keen on stimulating discussion around the ‘Iron Rhine’ (the disused rail connection between Antwerp and Duisburg in Germany). While this line is currently an old unelectrified single track, it’s nevertheless an ideal line for international goods freighting. To illustrate the point, B-Cargo recently did a successful test run along its entire length using a diesel locomotive. With new routes and new international corridors opening up, the company intends to continue building on its strengths to become a key player in the European rail cargo market. This means that pretty soon everyone might see the woods through the trees, or the cars through the trucks, as international goods move off the roads and onto rail, the future of goods transport.

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The possibilities for Intermodal Transport in Belgium

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Cathy Macharis

Due to the globalisation of the economy and the associated growth of international trade, the increase in goods flow became higher than GDP growth. The containerisation of goods from the sixties onwards had a lot to do with this evolution as it made overseas transport substantially cheaper and more efficient. As ports, ships and logistics adapted towards this containerisation of goods, even more scale advantages were possible and this further triggered the global production of goods. A number of major ports faced a significant increase in the amount of containers to be handled.

The port of Antwerp, for example, faced an annual increase of approximately 10%. Of course these containers need to be transported on to the hinterland and this is where intermodal transport plays an ever increasing role. Intermodal transport combines different transport modes, and will bring the containers from the seaport by barge or by rail (or even by short sea shipping) to an intermodal terminal in the hinterland from where they are subsequently delivered to their end destinations by road.

decided to set up the Narcon (National Rail Container Network) concept in order to offer intermodal transport by establishing rail/ road services between the port of Antwerp and the port of Zeebrugge and various inland terminals. In the modal split of the port of Antwerp we see clearly a move towards the inland waterways and rail for containers. In 1997, 66% of the containers were transported by road, 7% by rail and 27% by barge. In 2007 this was already 11% by rail, 34% by

Even with this positive evolution, in absolutely terms, there is still an increasing amount of containers that are transported by road every year. In Belgium we see clearly that the possibilities for the hinterland traffic have been adapting themselves towards the new volumes that are handled at the sea terminals. The number of intermodal terminals increased considerably during the last decade. At the moment thirteen inland waterway terminals exist in Belgium, and new projects are underway. The rail/road terminal landscape has not evolved as rapidly, but new services were nevertheless set up. In 2004, the railway company B-Cargo

barge, leaving 55% for the road sector. Even with this positive evolution, in absolute terms, there is still an increasing amount of containers that are transported by road every year. As inland waterway transport and rail transport have lower external costs for society (in terms of emissions, accidents, congestion, and so on), intermodal transport has received an increased attention from the policy side.

Figure 1: Intermodal terminal landscape in Belgium

Antwerpen Main Hub


Deurne Gent Wielsbeke Kortrijk Moeskroen


Willebroek Muizen Grimbergen Herent Brussel

Mol Meerhout Genk


Haven Genk


Charleroi Sea ports Inland waterway terminals Railroad terminals Trimodal terminals Waterways 0




80 Kilometers Athus


Source: Macharis et al., 2008

Different stimulation schemes were set up to support the growth of intermodal transport in Belgium. For example, one subsidy (N 249/04) is specifically designed for national intermodal rail transport. The Belgian government grants an annual budget of â&#x201A;Ź 30 million to the intermodal operators, who offer transport services within Belgium of minimum 51 kilometres. The subsidy is composed of a fixed part (20 euros/intermodal transport unit) and a variable part (maximum 0.40 Euros per kilometre). The Narcon network is benefiting from this scheme. In order to promote the inland waterways, the Flemish government developed a policy measure that stimulates the construction of new quay walls coupled with a reduction of canaldues. The public private partnership programme allows the co-financing of the construction of quay walls for 80% by the Flemish government and 20 per cent by the private sector. The quays remain property of the Flemish government and the private investor guarantees that a fixed tonnage of freight will be transported by inland waterways in the ten years to come. In May 2007, the European Commission authorized another Flemish measure to grant a subsidy of 20 Euros per each container transhipped to a Flemish inland container terminal from or to an inland waterway vessel (N 682/06). In the other regions (Brussels and Walloon) similar subsidies are foreseen for the container barge terminals but with different tariffs.


For the further evolution of the intermodal transport market, some attention points needs to be kept in mind:

1. Policies oriented towards the stimulation of intermodal transport should be coordinated As said before, several policy measures were launched. The subsidies can indeed help to increase the market share of intermodal transport. The current policy can significantly reduce the transhipment costs for the user, making intermodal transport much more attractive. However, one has to keep in mind that the current situation with a rail/road policy at the federal level, different inland waterways/road policies in the three regions and no coordination between these policies creates inefficiencies in the transport system. Some of the rail/ road terminals are taking the market shares from the barge terminals in the surroundings. This cannot be the objective of an intermodal transport policy.

with care. A coordinated policy in terms of spatial planning should also be set up so that the intermodal terminals become the logistical hot spots around which several logistical activities can be organised. In this sense intermodal terminals become an integral part of the logistic chains of shippers, where added value and employment is created.

3. The environmental ‘friendliness’ of the intermodal transport chain is not a given Intermodal transport is in most cases more environmentally friendly than road transport (Kreutzberger et al., 2006). This should however not be taken as a given, and effort should be made to further reduce the environmental burden from the intermodal transport chain. As a priority, use must be made of latestgeneration ship engines, after-treatment equipment for barge transport, and ultra-low sulphur fuel in order to further decrease harmful emissions, NOx and fine dust. For rail transport,

A coordinated policy in terms of spatial planning should also be set up so that the intermodal terminals become the logistical hot spots around which several logistical activities can be organised. 2. The implementation of new intermodal terminals relative to the existing terminals should be done with care As said before, the terminal landscape is already quite dense. Several new projects are underway especially in Wallonia. In the past several terminals have been set up, just over the regions/country border resulting in two locations neither of which have enough market potential. So in order to avoid these costly unnecessary investments, these implementations should be done

energy saving measures can also be taken. And if we look at the complete intermodal chain, we still have the endor pre-haulage that is done by road transport. Here the introduction of environmentally friendly electric/ hybrid vehicles would make a significant contribution toward a more ecological intermodal transport chain. The pre-and post-haulage routes are usually not longer than 30km and hence could be handled by electric or hybrid vehicles. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) combine electric and other drive systems, such as internal combustion engines, gas

turbines and fuel cells. Hybrid electric vehicles merge the zero pollution and high efficiency benefits of electric traction with the energy density benefits of a thermal engine. The use of electrically driven vehicles for parcel goods distribution to end-users has already successfully proven its value in international demonstration projects like ELCIDIS. The use of it has not been introduced for intermodal transport yet.

4. the image of intermodal transport should be enhanced Shippers and transport organizers still have a negative perception toward the use of intermodal transport: it is supposedly slower, more difficult, and less secure compared to uni-modal road transport. In order to avoid this threshold, transport experts were hired by the waterway managers to go to firms with specific questions on the use of inland waterways. A onestop multimodal shop would also help companies find their way among the multimodal opportunities. In the future, electronic platforms will be available to find the best and cheapest combination of transportation modes for a given trajectory. These platforms will also enable freight to be bundled over many companies. So to conclude, intermodal transport is certainly an important element in the pursuit of sustainable mobility. A clear and consistent vision and an open view towards the future are necessary to keep the possibilities of intermodal transport open!

Professor Cathy Macharis is transport economist at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), where she conducts research on intermodal transport, logistics and sustainable mobility. Professor Macharis is also an advisor for Flanders in Action and is the Chair of the Mobility Commission of the Brussels Region. She has been involved in several national and European research projects dealing with topics such as the location of intermodal terminals,  assessment of policy measures in the field of logistics and sustainable mobility,  etc. Website: MOSI-T


Impact of container terminal locations on the efficiency of the European intermodal freight transport market â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Bart Jourquin

The European transport policy has focused on sustainable transport solutions, among which intermodal transport is a key player. However, its efficiency is strongly dependent on the location of the container terminals. The success of road transport results in ever-worsening congestion and more environmental problems. That is why one of the objectives of the European Common Transport Policy is to restore the balance between modes of transport and to develop intermodality.

Indeed, the aim of the common transport policy is to remove obstacles at the borders between Member States so as to facilitate the free movement of persons and goods. To that end its prime objectives are to complete the internal market for transport, ensure sustainable development, manage funding programmes and spatial planning, improve safety and develop international cooperation. To promote this, and among other initiatives, the Commission has launched the Marco Polo programme, the objective of which is to transfer 12 billion ton-km/ year from road to other modes of transportation in Phase 1, rising to 20.5 bn ton-km/year in Phase II.

Figure 1 : Example of a Hub&Spoke network


Intermodal freight transport can be organised in several ways. Among the identified network topologies, railroad combined transport using terminals embedded in a hub-and-spoke rail network is often cited. A hub and spoke system (Figure 1) is one in which some main terminals (A, F, K) are directly connected to each other by means of railway lines. Containers being transported from one non-hub city (M, N, B, E, J, ..) to another usually have to connect through a hub. This kind of topology is supposed to reduce transportation costs by consolidating shipments at the hubs. The efficiency of such a network depends on the locations of the hubs and the problem is thus to find the optimal locations for these facilities. Such a solution can be found using a p-hub median formulation, making it possible to compare the efficiency of the existing configuration with the optimal solution. The technical details of the mathematical formulation of the problem to solve and its computer implementation are obviously beyond the scope of this short article and will therefore not be presented. The interested reader can refer to Limbourg and Jourquin (2009) for an extensive discussion of the suitable approaches. Only a brief outline of the methodology will be given here.

The potential locations are often determined using common-sense and a lot of information collected on the field, but it is also possible to use a flow-based approach which takes the flows of commodities and their geographic spread into account to identify a set of possible locations. These flows can be obtained using a multi-modal assignment algorithm on a digitized network. The set of potential locations can then be used in an iterative procedure based on both the p-hub median problem and the multimodal assignment problem. The objective function of the p-hub median formulation has to include the costs for pre- and post-haulages by road, trans-shipment (according to the number of handled containers into account) and rail haulage. At equilibrium, it is then possible to compute a series of indicators, such as the quantities transported by each transportation mode (including intermodal transport), the total transportation cost on the system or the total emissions of CO2 for instance. These indicators can finally be compared to those computed for the actual hub configuration. According to Ballis (2002), hubs are located in Metz, Villeneuve St. George (Paris), Schaerbeek (Brussels), Cologne, Hanover and Mannheim (i.e. in the North of Europe). The same author points out that a hub


The efficiency of such a network depends on the locations of the hubs and the problem is thus to find the optimal locations for these facilities. near Milan would be useful. When the reference scenario (without terminals) is compared to the results obtained when trans-shipments at the seven international hubs mentioned above are made possible, the model estimates that road transport decreases by 1.16 bn ton-km/yr and that the total cost on the transportation system decreases by 0.22%. The existing terminals have thus a positive impact on the modal shift.

Terminal Inter-hubs connection

S. Limbourg and B. Jourquin, 2008



Figure 2 : Optimal hub-and-spoke topology with 7 hubs


1000 Km

The optimal location model applied to a topology with seven hubs proposes to implement facilities in Paris, Lyon, Milan, Barcelona, Darmstadt, London and Namur (Figure 2). This solution, compared to the reference scenario, results in a decrease of 4.2 bn of tonkm/yr transported by road, which represents 35% of the annual objective of the Marco Polo I programme. This configuration decreases the total cost by 1.54%. The performance of the optimal configuration that results from the model is thus more than three times better in terms of reduction of the transported by road than the existing topology. It is thus clear that the current locations on the European territory are sub-optimal. The decision to open a terminal is indeed most often taken at the national or even regional level, ignoring the international network

effects. These local decisions can lead to a reduction of the global efficiency of the intermodal transportation system. Moreover policy makers don’t have a set of adequate support tools that can help to make the right strategic decision at the trans-national level. The methodology outlined in this short article, and its computer implementation, offer an optimisation tool that can be used by policy makers in the framework of an international huband-spoke railway network that interfaces road and rail transport. The tool can compute the optimal locations of a given number of hubs or find out the best location(s) for one or more additional hubs, taking an existing configuration into account. Obviously, the results depend on the quality of the used demand matrices and the existence of other types of terminals, as their interaction with the hubs still remains to be considered and incorporated in the model. Further, no capacity constraints were considered on the railway network, although it is known that some chunks suffer from congestion. Finally, one must be aware that the second best configuration obtained for a given number of hubs can be very comparable, in terms of total costs, to the optimal solution. Therefore, local consideration such as

ground availability or price could make the difference for decision makers.

Bart JOURQUIN is Professor at the Louvain School of Management – FUCaM – Mons Campus, where he also heads the interdisciplinary research unit ‘Group Transport & Mobility.’

References Ballis A. and Golias J. (2002), Comparative evaluation of existing and innovative rail-road freight transport terminals, Transportation Research A, 36, 593−611. Limbourg S. and Jourquin B. (2009), Optimal rail-road container terminal locations on the European network,Transportation Research E, 45, 551-563.



Investing in inland shipping

—De Scheepvaart nv takes goods traffic off the road


An inland navigation vessel of 1.200 tons can transport freight corresponding to 40 railway carriages and 50 lorries on the road.

Flanders has many inland waterways which form an excellent network for the transportation of goods. Since the 1990s goods transport via this country’s waterways has increased considerably, but because the total volume of goods transportation also increased sharply the market share of the waterways has remained largely the same. To build on their success, the waterway authorities—Waterwegen en Zeekanaal (for most of the waterways in the west) and De Scheepvaart nv (the eastern waterways)— face some significant challenges, particularly with regard to the adaption of the waterways’ infrastructure.

De Scheepvaart nv was established in 2004 as an autonomous agency and limited liability company under public law for the maintenance, operation, management and commercialisation of the Albert Canal, the Kempen Canals, the Schelde-Rhine River connection and the common Grensmaas. Its most important task consists of stimulating goods traffic on the Albert Canal and the Kempen Canals and thereby contributing towards improved mobility and safety on the road. The agency not only invests in infrastructure on and around the canal, it also owns a significant amount of real estate along the canal banks which it leases to companies. To be able to carry out an integral waterway policy De Scheepvaart nv continually works on maintaining and renovating the canal infrastructure. An important step in the promotion of inland shipping, for instance, was the investment in quay walls. It furthermore manages its real estate in a commercial and market-oriented manner. Companies that wish to make active and intensive use of transportation via water enjoy priority when it comes to granting concessions. In this respect De Scheepvaart nv finds itself in the privileged position of being able to co-determine who may occupy land connected to waterways. Industrial areas are after all becoming scarce in Flanders, especially those situated next to waterways. An inland navigation vessel of 1.200 tons can transport freight corresponding to 40 railway carriages and


50 lorries on the road. Hence it is immediately clear that a further expansion of transport along our inland waterways will mean significant relief of the congested roads. Inland shipping has done well in previous years. The waterways have not only seen increases in the volume of traffic, but also a larger diversity in the types of goods. If in the past the emphasis was on more traditional segments such as fuel oil, concrete, fertilisers, construction materials etc, today an increasing volume of containers are also being transported by water. Container transport has increased uninterruptedly over the last few years by an average of 10 percent per year, so that to date approximately 330.000 TEU container units per year are being transported along the Albert Canal. Several new container terminals have been built along the banks, often belonging to private logistics companies such as Euroshoe in Lummen. The companies which run the terminals often charter their own vessels, using these to offer scheduled services to their clients. But quite a lot of work remains to be done. The capacity of the canals can still be increased. In previous years the operating hours of the locks in the Albert Canal have already been extended several times, but it is clear that more far-reaching measures are necessary. At the moment, with its current infrastructure, the Albert Canal has just about reached the limits of its potential. But there is room for further expansion if the bridges over the canal are raised slightly and by widening the canal itself in certain places. In the context

of the Antwerp Masterplan this is a key priority, with completion being planned for 2010. A subsequent priority will then be to modernise the six lock complexes along the Albert Canal. This will be a plan for the long term, however, and the possibility of financing it via a public-private cooperation model is still very much under review. Acquiring new real estate for maritime development is also a top priority. Thanks to its right of pre-emption the agency enjoys priority in the acquisition of new properties and is working closely with the local authorities to rezone land along the canal for commercial or maritime use.


++ Manages the Albert Canal and other waterways in the east of Flanders ++ Approximately 330,000 TEU container units per year transported along the Albert Canal ++ Focused on increasing the capacity of the Albert Canal for freight transport ++ A sustainable balance between demand and supply in

De Scheepvaart nv also tries to work with potential clients in investigating the potential for a shift from road transport to transport by water and possibly even set up a pilot project. Together with VOKA and Unizo it is approaching companies to discuss traffic, cost structures, the current logistical organisation, the advantages of inland shipping, etc. A transport expert assists the company with practical questions: how the changeover can best be organised, how much it will cost, making trial voyages, whether it is possible to take freight also on the return sailing, and so on. These are all parts of the puzzle to increase goods traffic on the waterways, which itself is a key part of the puzzle in solving the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mobility challenges. The challenges are significant, but the potential is clearly still there to shift more goods traffic on to the waterways.

mobility can only be achieved by the realisation of one or more new modes of transport ++

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It is remarkable that no-one has managed to make these 3 modes of transport interact in a coherent manner, also referred to as comodality.

The Flemish area is unique for sustainable mobility

—Georges Allaert Mobility is increasingly being recognised as the “lubricant” of the economy and society. A sustainable society can be recognised by its mobility and in this regard Flanders is still not getting it right, in spite of the many advantages we have in respect of sustainable mobility.

Flanders has a unique infrastructural fabric modulated by industry, harbours and a multitude of settlements (urban and rural) in close proximity to each other. Flanders can be regarded as an urban field with the densest infrastructure in the world: a dense road network combined with dense railway and waterway networks. It is remarkable that no-one has managed to make these 3 modes of transport interact in a coherent manner, also referred to as co-modality. We must make these uniquely located grids (the Flemish area) more robust in such a way that co-modality becomes the point of departure of a multiplicity of innovative energy-friendly and environmentally-friendly regional developments concerning sustainable mobility: the coast with the urban region OstendBruges, the metropolisation of Lille-Courtrai, the E17 transport corridor, the city/ harbour dynamic in Antwerp and Ghent, the ‘Limburg

Cross’ (Lommel-Hasselt), the A-B multi-level corridor (Antwerp/Brussels). In terms of mobility, after all, Flanders is much more than the Flemish Diamond (the Antwerp-Ghent-Brussels triangle). Specific territorial holding companies (mobilising private and government capital) ensure that these Flemish urban-regional areas focus on futureoriented sustainable transport systems with a view to logistics with added value and transport quality. In the case of each territory one is looking for the most optimal development bearing in mind the investment opportunities of the territorial holding company. In any event it already seems necessary in all these areas to extend specific research parks producing spin-offs in which sustainable LoMo (Logistics/Mobility) is developed which will then be tested in these areas and valorised for the market. Such territorial developments (regional developments) also demand a total rethink of the government apparatus: from top-down to horizontal decision-making.

Prof. Dr. G. Allaert, head of the Institute for Sustainable Mobility at Ghent University




Sustainable mobility: a dream or a necessity?

—Willy Winkelmans

Since the emergence of globalisation, the transport industry is one of the most rapid growing sectors, so much so that freight transport based upon the produced ton kilometres has been growing at a higher pace than the underlying economic determinant – e.g. GDP – at least for the last two decades. This is the result, among other things, of: ++ growth of world population and income per head ++ growth of economic activity due to globalisation and liberalisation ++ growth in terms of specialisation and diversification ++ growth in socio-economic flexibility as regards localisation (shifts), production (quantities) and consumption (habits) ++ growth of containerisation, telecommunication, internet, etc. representing new ways of transportation enhancing delocalisation or relocation of industrial plants and commercial firms.


Consequently, our civilisation is increasingly confronted with the negative external effects of transportation, such as horizon and air pollution, congestion and traffic accidents. This is occurring all over the world as a function of economic growth. The consequence thereof is an aggravating imbalance between the demand for mobility – both in terms of passengers and freight - and the supply of transport - mainly in terms of infrastructure. Traffic congestion on roads, for example, is becoming a real structural problem and is no longer just an accidental phenomenon. On the other hand the amount of necessary investments

in infrastructure has been declining seriously since the last decennia: in Europe in the seventies, for example, an average of 3% of GNP went to transport infrastructure, whereas since the eighties merely 1% is budgetarily reserved for such investments. No wonder that eventually a disturbing discrepancy came into existence between demand and supply, i.e. between the ongoing increase in demand for more mobility and the relatively shrinking available transport capacity.1 Social science states that the absence of “equilibrium” sooner or later always creates undesirable sideeffects. No wonder therefore that especially in and around large cities traffic congestion and the related queuing or waiting times often cause a great deal of discontent, whence intolerance, unhappiness and even social hostilities together with various accidents and fatalities arise amongst carriers and travellers. According to economic theory, “price” can be used as an instrument to maintain balance between demand and supply. However in the field of transportation this is not that easy, for plenty of reasons. The conviction that mobility is not just a private economic good but a public good as well – think of the idea of mobility as a human right – slowly but steadily has been creating a gap between demand and supply of transport, so wide that it cannot be bridged by “pricing rules” only. Moreover, the success of globalisation 1) Mind that the shortage in infrastructural investment is also responsible for failing intra- and inter-modal interconnectivity. Inland navigation and railway transport are by nature less ramified than road transport, but on top these environmentally friendly modes are weighed down by the existence of a high degree of dis-connectivity (cf. differences in rail tracks, blind waterway alleys, etc.).

is largely dependent upon “cheap transportation”! On the other hand it is true that sustainable mobility will only be achieved when transport users are confronted with the integral cost of their transport demand. Up to now this seems to be a dilemma. Hence, we need innovative thinking, even out-of-the-box thinking.

various ways: by extending existing “roads”, by bringing into use larger vehicles, by re-organising transportation spatially and timely (i.e. by disconnecting the [fast] passenger transport from the much slower freight transportation and by using all 24 hours per day), and by implementing technological improvements such as dou-

A sustainable balance between demand and supply in mobility can only be achieved by the realisation of one or more new modes of transport. Ultimately a modern mobility policy should take care of the urgent need to increase the capacity of transport substantially, irrespective of the mode of transport, and the more because current measures to reduce speed on roads result into a lower traffic capacity as well. Extension of transport capacity can be realised in

ble stacked railway wagons, enlarged pushed convoys, or... by creating “new ways (modes) of transportation”! Because almost all surface transport capacity extensions are confronted by severe limitations in speed and size as a function of the density of population and the existence of biotopes, especially in and around towns and natural parks, surface transport no longer presents a structural solution for the degrading mobility over land in Europe and soon the rest of the world. Hence, we believe that, given the continuing enormous transport expansion all over the world (in terms of vkm, tkm and pkm), a sustainable balance between demand and supply in mobility can only be achieved by the realisation of one or more new modes of transport.


The feasibility of a new transport mode depends of course upon its cost recovering potential. But first of all, let’s not forget that every transport mode requires huge amounts of capital and in the end needs to excel in low energy consumption. Hence, a new transport mode therefore should possess, at a minimum, the following qualities: ++ low spatial intensity, i.e. transport networks preferably to be developed in the air or underground;

and “UTT” (Underground Tubular Transport). Technologically and economically these new modes of transport have been studied thoroughly. Moreover, technologically neither construction nor maintenance of UTT today poses any problem: a new breed of (tunnel or tube) drilling machines has emerged. The so-called “pipe-jacking” is an auto-guided drilling and building machine for tubes

Today, there are least two new modes of transportation, which are in a reasonable state of readiness for gradual installation: i.e. “airships” and “UTT” (Underground Tubular Transport). ++ optimal market segmentation, i.e. dislocation of passenger and freight transportation as far as possible; ++ highest possible safety and security guarantees; ++ very high velocity whenever required; ++ highest possible energy efficiency and ++ lower and positive ecological footprints. Over the past centuries several new transport modes have come into operation: why should this no longer be possible in a period, an age, of vigorous and energetic technological evolutions and innovations that are far more effective than ever before? Today, there are at least two new modes of transportation, which are in a reasonable state of readiness for gradual installation: i.e. “airships”2 2) These hybrid aircrafts were first developed by the US army. They are now called “skyfreighters” and are ready to become commercialised by the Hybrid Aircraft CorporationTM. They can transport general cargoes up to net payloads of 1000 tons at a speed between 188 and 222 km/h over a range w/o refuelling of 10,000 km!

with diameters ranging from 1 to 7 meters and up to 50m underground. This kind of underground building incurs practically no nuisance above ground. Every two kilometres a “construction pit”3 is built, from where the pipe-jacking will create fully finished tubes at a speed of about 1m per hour. In other words every 3 months a fully finished underground “road” of more than 2 km can be built! Yet, to demonstrate their fitness as a new mode of transport, what is needed is the establishment of specific pilot projects. Especially the concept of “Underground Logistics Systems” (ULS) deserves to receive more interest given all the before mentioned mobility issues. The creation of a broad social basis and positive commitment by representatives of the government, the shippers and the carriers is therefore greatly needed. 3) These vertical shafts can be used as emergency exits as well as entrances for inspection and maintenance.

In this relation it is useful to understand the fundamental difference between tunnels and tubes: a tunnel is a “road” which allows above ground transportation to continue under water or under ground for a shorter or longer while. Tubes represent a new kind of infrastructure, allowing new (adapted) vehicles to operate underground.4 At the moment some relevant UTT-projects can be mentioned, which are more or less ready to be finalised: ++ “UNIT (URBAN) TRANSPORT by PIPELINE” or “OLS AALSMEER –SCHIPHOL” (The Netherlands), connecting the flower auction with the airport of Schiphol; ++ SwissMetro connecting all big cities in Switzerland by means of high speed trains running at a speed of 500 km/h in partial vacuum tubes by contact free magnetic induction motors; ++ UCM® 5 a tri-modal underground transport system connecting the Deurganckdok (Left Bank of the Port of Antwerp) with various container terminal gates at the Right Bank (incl. railway shunting yard and inland navigation berths) and if necessary other terminals outside the port. In conclusion: if the necessary technical, ecological and economic feasibility studies prove to be positive—which for some is already the case—and if one takes into account that many aboveground transport infrastructures and constructions often require extra works 4) Tubes are monolithic and therefore very solid and robust. Tubes with prefab concrete elements in combination with steel core plates are so sustainable that a 50 year guarantee on the construction can easily be given. 5) UCM (Underground Container Mover) is the proposed codeword by the construction firm DENYS Company Lt.

to protect the surrounding environment, and knowing that above ground maintenance and operation costs are rather high, it can be stated that UTT finally is not at all that expensive! On the contrary, on a life cycle basis it guarantees, best of all modes, a real sustainable mobility, the more because intrinsically it possesses high valued advantages, such as: very small spatial implications ++ preservation of all above ground opportunities (socalled double space use) ++ very high performance in terms of frequency, speed, reliability and accurateness ++ very good performance in terms of rotation times, capacity and capacity utilisation (cf. the absence of bad weather circumstances, congestion, etc.) ++ extremely low social transport cost or life cycle cost, largely compensating for the relative high construction cost.

Professor Willy Winkelmans teaches courses in Transport Economics, Maritime and Port Economics, Maritime Technology and Transport Policy at the Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwerp. After having established the Institute of Transport and Maritime Management Antwerp, he has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of ITMMA since 1996 as well as course co-ordinator of several courses, such as Advanced Port Economics, Transport Policy Workshop and Maritime Technology Workshop. Outside the university he is President of the Flemish Port Commission and the Flemish Institute of Logistics.


5| Roads & Traffic R

oads have a poor reputation, but they are important: the vast majority of goods and people movement in this country occurs via road. The point was made in chapter two: our roads are congested and not as safe as they should be. Furthermore, under a ‘business as usual’ scenario, congestion will only get worse since traffic volumes in all categories are expected to continue growing. But our road system comes under criticism from every direction. Traffic volumes have grown year on year, far outstripping the growth in road capacity. Much of the investment in this country’s highway system was made in the 60s and 70s; since then investment has continued, but at a slower pace. In recent years, investment has picked up significantly, but according to the critics this is too little too late. Congestion ironically also creates capacity problems, due to lower travel speeds and the domino effect of incidents. Just when the road network is asked to perform optimally, it performs at its worst.

The highway network is criticised for its lack of redundancy. If one of the main E-highways is closed due to an incident, absolute chaos results since there are no suitable alternatives. Drivers switch on their GPS en mass and within minutes clog up the secondary N-routes. In recent years it has become increasingly common to observe the entire system come grinding to a halt.


In trying to come up with solutions, one can address both supply (infrastructure) and demand (for mobility), but either way one needs a solid understanding of demand (in order to design an optimal supply). This too is an issue since the various ‘causes’ of demand all blame each other for being the main culprit. Some stakeholders resist the expansion of Antwerp’s Port because the container traffic will cause gridlock on the Antwerp Ring. But according to the Port’s own statistics, less than 5% of today’s traffic on the Ring has anything to do with the port. Many people point to freight as the problem but the official statistics show that the personal car is still by far the dominant vehicle on the road. The Federal Planning Bureau, in its analysis, expects the car to be the main cause of traffic growth toward 2030 (freight will grow rapidly too, but comes from a smaller base). Yet others point to transit traffic. Indeed the Brussels and Antwerp Ring roads are major international crossroads, but the statistics for the network as a whole show that only about 14% of freight traffic (in km-ton)1 is pure transit. Finally, a number of experts bemoan the absence of data in the mobility area, arguing that there is a lack of transparency in the way the various stakeholders go about collecting and analysing their 1) Federal

Planning Bureau. Langetermijnvooruitzichten voor transport in België: referentiescenario. 24/04/2009.

data. Some critical commentators argue that this needs to be addressed urgently, so that government policy can be based more on science and hard facts, as opposed to 'ideological' choices. Modal shift is the classic response to the road problem: shift freight to water and rail, and people to public transport. To date, that approach has not been very effective. Water, rail and public transport have succeeded in attracting more users, but in the bigger picture, market shares have not budged much. This is partly because overall traffic volumes have increased significantly, but also—according to many stakeholders—because these alternatives have not managed to compete effectively against the low cost and flexibility of road transport. Ironically, the fact that road is becoming a victim of its own success is increasing the cost of road transport for the user. This is an important point to consider when assessing the possible merits of new road infrastructure or road pricing. But first things first: what are the solutions being proposed today? Today stakeholders look upon two broad approaches to tackling the road challenge: traffic management and new infrastructure. Over the first there is a fair degree of consensus, over the second there is not.


Modal shift is the classic response to the road problem: shift freight to water and rail, and people to public transport. To date, that approach has not been very effective.

In the realm of traffic management various methods are currently being used and proposed to optimise the performance of the existing road network and, eventually, to manage demand for the road network. The best equipped part of the road network today is the Antwerp Ring (Ghent is currently being equipped; the Brussels Ring is being studied). According to the Flemish Traffic Centre, the key opportunity for traffic management is incident management. Given the tremendous domino effect of incidents during congestion, it makes sense to introduce measures that help avoid and manage incidents more effectively. Traffic management technology has been shown to be especially useful in preventing secondary incidents (accidents that happen in the tail of a traffic jam that themselves were caused by an acci-


dent). Technology can be used to spot incidents quickly (automatically) and to subsequently divert traffic proactively and reduce speed further upstream in the flow, so as to reduce the impact of the primary incident’s shockwave. Lanes can also be freed up quickly to give access to emergency services. Indeed, since the installation of the necessary detection and signalling equipment along the Antwerp Ring, the incidence of secondary accidents has almost disappeared. Much more is possible, however, if the proponents of traffic management are to be believed. Thus, more can be done to coordinate traffic lights in cities, creating ‘green waves’ that push traffic more effectively through major arteries. Also, road works can be coordinated more intelligently, to avoid the sorts of gridlocks created by ill-timed road works that create monster bottlenecks. A company like Eurotronics has taken initiative here, setting up an online platform for announcing and sharing road works information. In the longer term it could be possible to control traffic flows much like a railway operator controls its trains. ‘Platoon driving’ or the Automated Highway System (AHS) are being proposed by various stakeholders to improve safety and congestion. Here the idea is to manage the speed of traffic in a horizontal and vertical sense, creating large ‘blocks’ of traffic that travel at a harmonised and controlled speed. Since cars could be spaced only 30 centimetres apart it could translate into

much more efficient use of the road’s capacity. Exactly how this could work technologically speaking is not yet clear: it could involve roadside beacons that deliver instructions to onboard computers of cars, or could simply involve onboard computers talking to each other (or a mix of the two). To manage demand for the road, it is looking increasingly likely that a form of road pricing will be introduced, initially for lorries, but possibly later for cars. Here the idea is to work with a GPS-GPRS based system (to track vehicles via satellite) and a dynamic pricing model that more accurately represents the external costs of travel. Thus, travel during peak time on the Brussels Ring will be expensive; while off-peak travel on uncongested roads will be cheap. It sounds like an elegant solution but the debate on this matter is still a heated one. Will it be an additional tax, or will it replace the existing tax regime? Will there be sufficient consensus among neighbouring countries to introduce a harmonised system? Will a congestion charge for freight really make a difference, given the logic that the lorries currently in the traffic jam have little choice anyway (i.e. those who do have the flexibility already choose alternative travel times and routes)? Also, by reducing congestion we end up reducing the cost of congestion, which in turn could release latent demand (e.g. the companies that shifted freight to rail or water—like Heineken—could shift it back to road). Finally, is it politically viable to introduce road charging for private individuals?



While the debate around road pricing is still reasonably cerebral, with general consensus that it will and should be introduced under some form or other, the discussion around new road infrastructure is of a different order all together.

While the debate around road pricing is still reasonably cerebral, with general consensus that it will and should be introduced under some form or other, the discussion around new road infrastructure is of a different order altogether. Some in the car users lobby, for example, are insistent about the need for new road infrastructure, expressing indignation that the tax proceeds from road users are not used on road infrastructure. The prime cause of congestion is a chronic shortage of road capacity, hence the solution is self-evident: increase capacity. Other stakeholders are equally indignant about the social and environmental cost of motorised road transport, and hence vehemently oppose the building of new roads. Fortunately, in the vast arena separating these viewpoints, there are some solid arguments and interesting ideas being proposed.


Firstly, to be clear, new roads are being built today. The Flemish government has published a list of 27 ‘missing links’ or bottlenecks that it wants to address. Included here is the controversial closure of the circle of the Antwerp Ring (the Oosterweel link) but not included is the equally contentious idea to complete the Brussels Ring. Most of these works make sense because they address bottlenecks and hence should make the system as a whole more effective (there is plenty of space available on our roads – easing bottlenecks will help fill up that space). Another idea that seems to makes sense is to split local and transit traffic on the major ring roads (via a physical barrier and extra on- and off-ramps), so that congestion in one flow does not clog up the other flow. Indeed, the Management Company Antwerp Mobile (BAM) intends to reorganise the Antwerp Ring in this manner. A more radical idea comes from Chris Tampère at the Catholic University of Leuven, who proposes a new ‘regional’ network of roads to cater for the increasingly important mid-distance or inter-regional commute. In this way pressure is taken off the highway system (which should be used for longer distance travel) and the local road network (where congestion is leading to urban decay and road safety problems).

There are also plenty of good arguments that should convince us to take heed when considering new infrastructure works. Firstly, there are some inherent factors that limit road capacity. One of these is space. Especially in Flanders there is little room for more concrete and any new project is likely to come up against particularly hostile resistance from local communities. Secondly, road capacity is limited by the (declining) capacity of the cities to absorb incoming traffic. Widening the E40 to Brussels is not likely to make much sense. But the most common argument used against new infrastructure is that it will simply lead to more traffic, thereby worsening the environmental and social impact of road traffic. This argument in turn is based on the assumption that there is plenty of ‘latent demand’ out there waiting for improved conditions on our road. This latent demand can include commuters who currently rely on public transport or companies who switched to rail or waterways, since the cost of congestion (in excess travel time or unpredictable travel time) had become too high. An interesting theory often used here is that commuters have a psychological limit to the travel time they can deal with per day: approximately one hour. Thus, when the highway network was built, we ended up creating demand and a specifically car-orientated spatial development—suddenly it became possible to live in Ghent’s suburbia and work in Zaventem on the outskirts of Brussels. Today that commute zone is shrinking again as that 40 min trip quickly becomes a 1-2 hour trip during peak periods. Similar things are supposed to happen when public transport links are built. Ghent-Brussels is still possible under an hour, if you live close enough to the station and work in central Brussels. It is this sort of reasoning that leads many experts to the conclusion that we should not be focusing on our roads to solve the mobility puzzle, but on the broader remit of spatial planning, i.e. clustering urban zones (for work, residence, commerce, etc.) around intermodal transport hubs.



Tomorrow’s traffic technology

—In conversation with Jo Versavel Jo Versavel, the man behind the globally successful Belgian video detection company Traficon has been in the road traffic industry for 25 years – and a motorist for even longer – during which time he has observed many changes to road safety and to mobility in general.


During his days in research, driving to the University of Louvain involved fairly small secondary roads that offered smooth journeys without the hassle of major highways. But then, as more big highways were built and attracted more drivers, a shift occurred: “The smaller roads are now becoming heavily pedestrianised shopping centers where you can cross the road from one shop to the other on foot. We’re losing all our secondary roads and it is barely safe to drive more than 30km per hour,” he explains wistfully. Today’s increasingly dangerous and stressful motoring has led Traficon’s managing director to the conclusion that three main areas need to be improved upon: cars, drivers and infrastructure. The latter is a particular bugbear: “If a vehicle has an accident and ends up on the opposite lane, then clearly the crash barriers are not up to scratch. In Belgium you see plenty of roads with a 90km/h speed limit and trees growing 30cm from the road: in that situation, sneezing is enough to kill you.”

To a man immersed in technology and logic, the lack of common sense at play is frustrating. And he is realistic about how long it will take to put things right: “The problem with safer infrastructure is that it takes more than 10 years to correct 30 years of letting these roads deteriorate.”

activity for those around you. Safe speed is not only about lowering speeds.” A strong advocate of personal freedom, he believes that providing drivers with useful, timely information is the key to improving their behavior. As such, he is pushing for more

Safe speed is not only about lowering speeds. Creating safer drivers, however, could be more immediate: “We need better education and retesting every 10 years. Also vital is a driver’s license with points; as you make mistakes, you lose points until you have to re-take the license,” he says emphatically. Encouraging drivers to obey the rules of the road— particularly those regarding speed—is a matter of enforcement. Versavel believes a more intelligent approach is needed: “If you drive on a deserted highway at 3am, speeding is stupid but you only harm yourself. But in an urban area, it becomes a dangerous

developments in this field: “The work Traficon does is to analyze traffic based on video images. The data we collect is used to help traffic managers; to provide them with more information on what’s happening on their roads. The next step is to get that information directly to the road user – what we call infrastructure to vehicle communication. The means we use to guide drivers today are passive road signs, variable message panels and intersection traffic lights; these are all installed at the roadside. People can get distracted by them and forget to concentrate on their actual driving, so if we bombard them with even


more information outside the vehicle, we’ll distract them.” So what is the best way to keep the driver up to date without undue distractions? Versavel believes that “with the coming technology and advanced displays, you could have a GPS that also gives local, real-time information. You can inform the driver so he can make the right choices.” The argument is persuasive: imagine you are driving in an unfamiliar urban area. An interactive GPS that alerts you to the fact you will soon be approaching a school (and that allows you to moderate your behavior accordingly) would be far more effective than a big flashing sign a few meters away from those children. Such a scenario is part of Versavel’s vision of future technical evolution. “Traficon started off by gathering data (e.g. speed, flow and occupancy), then we moved over to automatic incident detection where we detect stopped cars, wrong-way drivers and more. I believe that the next generation of products will be geared more towards automatic

incident prevention—we will not drop the former two; however safe you make the roads, they will always need to be monitored—but will move toward helping the driver avoid danger. It’s all about informing road users

see what’s happening in a certain zone and if we can find a way to make the driver aware of it, that will save many lives. At the moment, we just deliver the data and it is down to other manufacturers to make sure

If you alert a truck driver that traffic is queuing immediately in front of him and he needs to slow down now, then you can prevent him from plowing into the queue and you save lives; it’s that simple of what’s ahead. If you alert a truck driver that traffic is queuing immediately in front of him and he needs to slow down now, then you can prevent him from plowing into the queue and you save lives; it’s that simple. Therefore intelligent cars, intelligent infrastructure and the ability to communicate between the two would be a great step forwards in road safety.” Versavel’s personal desire is to see his company play a pioneering role in this evolution: “What we deliver is already a kind of intelligent infrastructure – we

the road users can access it. We provide the data and the images now, so we are halfway there already.” With regard to intelligent vehicles, he is a fan of technologies such as in-built speed limiters, but not at the cost of human freedom: “I believe in intelligent speed adaptation, but with the ability for the driver to override it. But it is about going further than building cars that are unable to break the speed limit: consider a system that nudges you below the limit as you move into a lower speed zone; now that’s an intelligent car!”

There has been much fanfare on vehicle-to-vehicle communication representing the path to future road safety, but Versavel is refreshingly honest on this: “It’s just one piece of the jigsaw; there’s no one solution that will bring a safer future. Look at seatbelts; they practically halved injuries, and then came ABS with all of its safety benefits. I think vehicle to vehicle communication will come; the problem is who will start it off. “We already have some intelligent GPS being brought to cars – if this progresses swiftly, then some of the luxury brands will eventually begin to introduce vehicleto-vehicle communications. We’ll reach a situation where if I want to drive to Brussels in say, a BMW, I can link it to another BMW that is also heading there, follow it at 30cm and sit back and read my newspaper in complete safety. Once the top brands start offering this, prices will fall and the technology will, in time, become accessible to all drivers.” Much of Versavel’s forward thinking is focused on developments in the area of Vision Zero; originally a

Swedish concept (in 1997 its Parliament introduced a policy that requires road deaths and serious injurious to be reduced to zero by 2020) but one that is also gathering momentum elsewhere. He believes Vision Zero is a good target, but not obtainable: “You can’t ever exclude all accidents – if a meteor were to fall on your car, then you’d have an accident! But the crucial thing is to keep trying.” While developing countries will take time to go through the paradigm shifts experienced by the likes of Europe and the USA (and necessary to change the established thinking), developed countries do already regard reducing road deaths as a top priority. But Versavel is not naïve enough to think this is for purely altruistic reasons: “I see many reports on the financial cost to a country’s economy from deaths and serious injuries on the roads. Likewise, for any strategies to reduce these KSIs, cost is always a consideration. But there is never an acceptable tradeoff for safety. Whether the motivation to reduce these figures is economic or philanthropic, the point is that

even one death is one too many. We must do whatever it takes to stop people being killed on our roads.”

Jo Versavel is CEO of Traficon, an international leader in video image processing for traffic analysis


A call for a regional road network —Chris Tampère

The motorway has reached its limits The traffic jams on our motorways are gradually taking on impressive dimensions. For some time now our policy has tried to cope with the problems on the road network by stimulating public transport and directing as much traffic as possible via the motorways (criteria Policy Plan Sustainable Mobility Flanders). But the spread of traffic congestion (mobility) shows that these solutions can only solve the problem to a limited extent.

On the other hand, everyone knows that unbridledly constructing of new asphalt is also not the solution. Not only is it very expensive, it also leads to an unacceptable encroachment on the limited available space and on the environment, inside and outside the cities. Every citizen can experience this dilemma personally: one moment he’s a motorist and in favour of more roads, the next he’s enjoying his living environment and opposing the construction of this new road through his back garden. By means of a pricing policy we could possibly arrive at a better distribution of mobility, although from an economic viewpoint it is undesirable to curtail mobility by means of the price mechanism to such an extent that traffic jams will disappear.

The structure of the road network no longer meets current needs The nature of the problem becomes clearer if we look at the development of the road network in a historic perspective. The current structure of the network of main roads still dates from the 1970s. Not only did we then have far fewer cars, our daily mobility pattern looked very different from today’s. The population was more heavily concentrated in the cities than today and daily travelling was largely within the cities. To make it possible to drive comfortably and quickly from one city to the next, a network of motorways covering the whole country was gradually constructed. However, the volume of traffic between the cities was modest. Smaller towns and villages which were not on the motorways were accessible via the network of secondary roads.

While the regional traffic has therefore increased enormously, the structure of our road network in broad lines is still geared to the situation of about forty years ago.


In recent decades, however, much has changed: traffic patterns today look very different from those of roughly 30 years ago. Firstly, there is far more driving: car ownership has increased sharply. Secondly, making grateful use of the possibilities of the car, we have moved en masse from the city to spacious residential plots in the surrounding countryside, egged on by the typical Belgian lack of spatial planning,. Thirdly, in conjunction with our ever-increasing prosperity we have significantly enlarged our daily activity radius. Not only do we work further and further away from home, our social networks are also less and less limited to where we live. All this has led to a robust growth of automobile traffic. This increase has taken place especially in regional traffic, that is traffic over a distance of about 20 to 30 kilometres. Nowadays a large part of our daily hometo-work traffic takes place within this range. While the regional traffic has therefore increased enormously, the structure of our road network in broad lines is still geared to the situation of about forty years ago. The traditional design of the road network no longer meets the current movement patterns and needs.


The implications for motorways On the motorways we are seeing the consequences of this strong increase in regional traffic. Originally the motorways were intended for relatively thin traffic flows over longer distances. In designing these roads special attention was paid to speed (120 km/h) and comfort. Especially in the Flemish Diamond, but also outside it increasingly, we have seen the traditional function of the motorways being snowed under by heavy traffic flows over short distances: the traffic jams on the motorways are to a large extent caused by regional traffic. For this type of traffic, circulation is far more important than speed: if one makes a short drive, one prefers to continue driving on at 80 km/h than being stuck in a traffic jam on a road where 120 km/h is allowed. We also see that the motorway is often the only high-quality connection between two areas; there is no alternative that even approaches it in terms of speed and capacity. This makes the road network very vulnerable. Such a strong concentration of traffic on a small number of routes often leads to environmental and liveability problems in urban areas.

The consequences for the secondary roads What once used to be the ‘countryside’ has become more and more built up in recent decades. As a result the secondary roads have had to handle more and more traffic, even though they were not designed for this. Because many secondary roads go through built-up areas, the biggest problems being experienced are road safety and damage to the environment. In addition, the secondary roads also show us the consequences of a policy that encourages traffic to get on to a motorway as quickly as possible. This often leads to major detours and illogical routes, which are not only a nuisance for the motorist but also cause many unnecessary kilometres driven by car and therefore unnecessary congestion and emissions. The junctions of these heavily congested secondary roads with the motorway have grown significantly in recent years, and the large amount of traffic filtering in and out causes major disruptions to traffic flow on the motorways, often resulting in the formation of traffic jams.

It would mean added capacity, precisely where it is needed.

Does the current policy offer relief? We are currently seeing in Belgium a typical reflex which we also saw in the Netherlands in the 1990s. The Netherlands was confronted with an explosive growth of traffic congestion on the motorway network much earlier than Belgium. This was caused by a combination of strong population growth, prosperity and economic activity in the Randstad with the fact that this area is not centrally situated. In addition, our northern neighbours do not have residual capacity in the form of a system of secondary roads because, for civil engineering reasons (many bridges, soil with carrying capacity...) the motorways in the Netherlands were constructed not parallel to, but in the place of the old connecting roads. In an attempt to achieve more growth and prosperity, but without incurring the high social cost of expensive infrastructure, all hope and all policy initiatives were focussed for years on better public transport and better utilisation of existing capacity, which we also see in Belgium today. Although it is generally accepted that this Dutch policy brought some temporary mitigation, traffic congestion continued to increase by an average of 5% per year. And under pressure everything becomes fluid (unfortunately with the exception of traffic!), even public opinion which is not keen on new roads. Under pressure of an impending traffic gridlock with sporadic record days of traffic jams reaching almost 1000 km, the Dutch have in

the last few years increasingly shelved their objections against new concrete and massive investment in road infrastructure is taking place. But they are doing it cleverly. Instead of concentrating capacity even more (adding additional lanes to existing motorways), the principle of ‘unravelling’ is often used in the management of bottlenecks, whereby separate lanes are constructed for regional and long-distance traffic. In addition, the most congested regions are investing in a robust and coherent system of regional through routes. These are roads with a relatively low speed limit (+/- 70 km/h) – this is necessary in order not to compete with motorways, and not to invite longer journeys. But these regional through routes can reliably handle large volumes of traffic because important intersections are grade-separated (parallel in and out filtering). In this way the policy not only recognises the need for more and more spatially distributed capacity (in the interest of the regional transport market); in the network of main roads, too, more high-quality alternatives are created for the otherwise very vulnerable motorways. In this way one avoids all traffic getting trapped during roadworks or accidents, bringing a whole region to a standstill.

A solution for Flanders? Is a cohesive regional network of through routes of this nature an effective solution for Flanders also? Most certainly. Firstly it would mean added capacity, precisely where it is needed. It would reduce the existing pressure on motorways and moreover create space for further growth of traffic. This growth would comprise genuinely new traffic with all its social and/or economic added value and would come not so much from longer journeys (e.g. people who move to live further away from their work, or look for work further away from home), an effect that is noticeable after the construction of motorways or fast rail connections (IC-lines – the average commuting distance to Brussels of 48 km among train users is more than twice that of car commuters (20 km)). Secondly, the road network would become less vulnerable to disruptions (accidents, road works, events). Motorways and regional through routes, after all, can to a large extent take over each other’s function when problems arise, so that real alternatives are created for route navigation and diversion. Furthermore, as a result of more direct quality connections, routes will on average become shorter so that fewer kilometres will be covered in the same journey pattern (environmental gain, safer). Lastly, these new roads can be constructed more safely than the existing N-roads downgraded by ribbon development, which can now be redesigned with a view to more local purposes and better quality of


life. Dutch studies have calculated all these advantages and show that the benefits far outstrip the costs. Is a cohesive regional network of through routes like this an attainable solution for Flanders as well? That is less obvious. With our ever advancing ribbon developments the flow function of our N-roads has been significantly affected, becoming intermingled with the function of opening up areas and even providing access to premises. As a result it has in many cases become practically impossible to upgrade these roads to regional through routes at an acceptable cost. The choice remaining is that between massive expropriations or laying claim to scarce open space; and for both of these it is difficult to create public support. A more acceptable alternative might be to make the regional through routes coincide with other line infrastructure (motorways, railways). These can be adjacent as well as – for spatially difficult passages – at higher or lower levels. But regional through routes in our country will in any event end up being more expensive than in our neighbouring countries that are spatially better planned.


Is there actually room for new roads in our small and densely built-up country; do we not already have the densest road network in the world? Belgium indeed has a dense road network. But if one compares the trunk road network of our country with that of comparable European regions (Randstad, the Ruhr, Île de France, Greater London) then we are far from being a front runner. For example, Flanders with 216 lane-kilometre of motorway per 1.000 km2 has manifestly fewer motorways than the Ruhr (630 lane-km/1.000 km2) or the Randstad (901 lanekm/1.000 km2). And with 446 km per 1000 km2 the densely populated Flanders also has fewer trunk roads (motorways + numbered N and R roads) than the Dutch

Randstad (490 km/1.000 km2), even without taking into account the latest Dutch investment in road infrastructure. So we have many local roads in particular, but our trunk road network is hardly disproportionate, although from a motorist’s perspective our perception might be different as a result of the rampant ribbon developments (if you take a look from an aeroplane or on Google Earth, our country actually still seems relatively empty).

Conclusion Our lack of spatial planning means that our country has a great need of regional transport, a typical automobile market which—with the exception of commuter traffic to Brussels and Antwerp—could never be replaced by cost-efficient public transport. For that very reason our country badly needs a coherent regional network of through routes. Ironically, this same lack of spatial planning makes this solution expensive and politically and socially difficult to sell. Yet, come what may, the feasibility and applicability of this concept in our Flemish context needs to be examined from different disciplines: planners, transport experts, architects, economists... We do after all have to look for a way out of this ironic stalemate, or else accept that the mobility of Flanders—once the pride of the region—will be completely lost.

Chris Tampère (Ph.D.) is a member of the Traffic and Infrastructure research group at the Catholic University of Leuven.


Dare to think out of the box

—Claude Van Rooten

Mobility must become sustainable. So at the start of our 21st century a major modal shift was announced: the roads are a thing of the past, everything must be transported via canals and rail. It certainly is a good idea to relieve the roads by means of good public transport and good alternatives by rail. But if we know that the expected growth of transport will be difficult to match at the level of infrastructure, then we should not forget our main mode of transport, and that is still the road. It is clear by now that if you want economic growth, you will get growth in transport. If our regional governments want Belgium to become the logistics platform of Europe, this will require a freeflowing transport network in every mode of transport. In a country such as Belgium a compromise between quality of life and economy will always need to be found. So if you conceptualise and construct infrastructure, you must think long-term with a multidisciplinary approach. And we must transcend all boundaries: there is a Flemish Institute for Mobility, there exist Walloon initiatives on mobility, there are countless studies done at federal and/or regional or local level. We urgently need to move towards a more global approach and the best way to do that, given that it is politically difficult, is to do it at a research level—let us exchange experiences. The challenge is that balance, that conflict, between the objective of making Belgium a logistics platform, the crossroads of Europe, and the problems of the environment, quality of life, health, spatial planning etc... I believe that we urgently need to start thinking more out of the box and really long term. Let me take an example. We have so many airports in Belgium that are all situated very close to urban areas. Why don’t we

investigate the possibility of building an airport at sea, on a sandbank? We are busy constructing wind turbines there, why not an airport? Such a project did exist and in the Netherlands the expansion of Schiphol will be on the sea. Imagine: a grand airport on a sandbank. And from there, underground express train connections to London, Brussels or Amsterdam—connections of about half an hour. No more noise at night ... Take Hong Kong as an example. The airport of Hong Kong is now situated on an island 30 km from the mainland. There is a motorway with a few large bridges between different islands which takes you to Hong Kong. And the financing comes from the building sites freed up from the old airport, close to the city. That land is priceless.

as much tomorrow but will be quieter, produce less CO2, require less maintenance, therefore fewer road works, therefore fewer traffic-jams due to road works, then it will be worth it and that is what we now want to work towards. For sustainable mobility we must also address a totally different parameter, namely transport demand. A shocking example: why do we still accept that shrimps should be caught at Ostend, shelled in Morocco and then returned? It is one of our freedoms and that is the contradiction: Europe has come about precisely to promote the free movement of goods and people. It is therefore very difficult to determine limits. One way is to charge for the external costs of transport, for exam-

Why don’t we investigate the possibility of building an airport at sea, on a sandbank? We are busy constructing wind turbines there, why not an airport? Another possibly surprising example of innovative thinking: a road of sugar. A road must be coarse, but also smooth (for driving comfort) and clearly visible. Sugar is ideal – the surface would be rough and hard enough, and clearly visible at night. We only need to find something to stop sugar from dissolving in the rain. But that must be possible. And when we want to demolish the road, we just let it dissolve. Greater sustainability cannot be imagined. With all of this I only want to illustrate that it is possible to think out of the box about the mobility problem, also in a so-called traditional sector such as road construction. We must dare to transcend the boundaries of our own expertise. If you think only in terms of concrete or asphalt, you are on the wrong track. If a motorway will cost twice

ple through road pricing. But that is not obvious; there are many conflicting opinions about this. Yet it does seem very important to me that we should try to harmonise such systems at a European level. The central problem, therefore, is this balance between logistics (our economic future?) as opposed to quality of life and environmental problems. For some this is simply a conflict, it is either the one or the other. Others believe that we can find solutions, that we should manage the balance wisely, via mobility concepts such as co-modality, but also via new technologies. We are definitely taking part in this search for long-term solutions.

Claude Van Rooten is directorgeneral of the Belgian Road Research Centre

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - cleaner, smarter vehicles

6| Cleaner, Smarter Vehicles T

his is car country, whichever way you look at it. There are about five million cars registered in this country. The car is responsible for about 80% of the vehicle kilometres travelled on our roads, and again as much for the person-kilometres travelled. In fact, the very way this country is organised spatially has been influenced by the car, just think of the ribbon development along the main N-roads, the vast expanses of suburbia, the office parks along the major highways. For many, the car is an essential tool in one’s life, used to get to work, to taxi the kids around, to shop for groceries, to drive to the coast, and much more. Similarly in freight, the lorry is the transport mode of choice, representing about 75% of total ton-kilometres.


This is car country, whichever way you look at it.

While the car has played a remarkable role in our evolution sociologically speaking (by vastly increasing our personal mobility and hence our autonomy as individuals, our freedom to pursue education, career, leisure activities etc.), today the car’s reputation is, in no uncertain terms, miserable. Held responsible for most of modern society’s ills, including environmental degradation, chronic health problems, stress, urban decay, congestion (immobility), it seems almost fitting that the industry finds itself in near collapse. Not surprisingly, the call for modal shift is louder than ever—leave the car at home and walk, cycle or take the tram. But what if technology could come to the rescue, leading to the emergence of a truly clean and much smarter vehicle? In fact, as argued in a recent WIRED feature article1, the current crisis in the automotive industry may end up being just the right medicine.


carnage. The main difference is that today there are many more of them running about, with the result that we’re only seeing the negative side—the pollution, the congestion, the danger, the noise. The hierarchically organised automotive industry also has changed little. WIRED quotes Henry Chesbrough, executive director at UC Berkeley’s Center for Open Innovation; “It’s as if the computer industry were still dominated by Wang and Data General and DEC, and they were still selling minicomputers.” What the industry needs is a solid dose of disruptive innovation, similar to what happened to the computer industry when the PC, with its more open and collaborative business model, emerged. In the words of Mr Mann; “opening the gates to outsiders unleashed a flood of innovation that gave rise to firms like Microsoft, Dell, and Oracle. It destroyed many of the old computer giants—but guaranteed a generation of American leadership in a critical sector of the world economy. It is late in the day, but the same could still happen in the car industry...” Indeed, perhaps Shai Agassi’s Better Place could end up as the Microsoft of the automotive sector. So what can be expected in the coming decade or two? There are at least two broad categories of evolution that can be detected today. Vehicles are becoming both smarter and cleaner.


The remarkable thing about the car industry is how little it has actually changed since the 1950s and 60s.

The remarkable thing about the car industry is how little it has actually changed since the 1950s and 60s. Sure, the machines look different and they’re vastly more efficient, but essentially we’re still talking about mainly steel constructions, that run on fossil fuels, and that are entirely reliant on the alertness of their drivers to avoid

The smart, or ‘connected car’, as the Economist described it in a recent article2 started with the rise of the GPS, connecting cars to navigation satellites. This market took off once cheaper portable devices became available and indeed in Belgium the technology seems as ubiquitous as the GSM. Finding your way in the road network today is less challenging. The next major evolution is the result of cars being connected to mobile networks (via smartphones or GSM equipped

1) Charles C. Mann. ‘Detroit Reimagined.’ Wired Magazine, issue 17.06.

2) ‘The connected car.’ The Economist, 4 June 2009.

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - Cleaner, Smarter Vehicles

GPS devices). This is allowing much richer and more dynamic data to be pushed to drivers, for example about traffic conditions or the availability of parking. Behind the scenes it also enables the tracking of large numbers of vehicles. Be-Mobile, for example, is able to monitor traffic conditions by anonymously tracking vehicles equipped with cell phones or tracking devices based on GPS. Similarly, map maker Tele Atlas uses this type of technology to spot inconsistencies in its maps. Looking further ahead, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicleto-infrastructure connections (via shorter-range communication standards) will emerge. It is at this point that the experience of driving may evolve into something entirely different. Initially such technology may be used simply to push more information to the driver, for example about a sharp corner or slowing traffic ahead. Eventually, however, we may end up end relinquishing full or partial control over the vehicle to intelligent systems. We have already talked about platoon driving and Automated Highway Systems whereby vehicles are guided into tight blocks of traffic via roadside beacons and vehicle-to-vehicle communication (see chapter: Roads & Traffic). But platoon driving may develop in a more bottoms-up manner too. As Jo Versavel reflects in this article, if a single car manufacturer were to start introducing such vehicle-to-vehicle systems, it could get the ball rolling (since drivers of compatible vehicles could quite easily spot each other and begin forming mini-platoons). Other Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) should emerge that will trigger an alert or even take direct vehicle control in case of impending danger or collision. While smarter cars should eventually enable a safer drive and a more efficient use of road infrastructure, the other main priority is to clean them up. It must be said

that tremendous progress has been made since the early 1990s, especially in the area of air pollution. The European emissions standards have been instrumental in that regard, in the way they have consistently pushed down the limits for emissions of new vehicles sold in the EU. Indeed, the norms laid down for 2013-14 are tiny fractions of what they were in the 1990s. Much of this technical and regulatory progress still needs to translate into lower emissions on our roads, however, since older vehicles remain on the road. Nevertheless, by 2020 at the latest we should be seeing vast improvements in the air pollution situation. In its 2030 traffic scenario, the Federal Planning Bureau forecasts that total emissions of NOX, fine particulate matter (PM), NMVOS and SO2 will more than halve compared to 2005 (this while traffic increases by more than 30%). To speed things up the remedy is straightforward: replace the fleet of vehicles faster and encourage (fiscally) the use of cleaner vehicles. This is where our friendly company car policies could in fact come in useful. While the criticism of these policies is logical (fiscally stimulating the use of cars seems in contradiction to the many efforts to reduce pollution, develop public transport etc.), the fiscal lever could be used very effectively to encourage adoption of cleaner cars. Unfortunately, the progress in air pollution is unrelated to that other challenge: CO2 emissions and its role in global warming. This is because CO2 is inherent to the burning of a carbon fuelâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;you cannot filter it out, the only option is to reduce the consumption of fuel. While vehicles have become more fuel efficient (about 50% over the past 25 years) it is becoming increasingly difficult to extract further reductions. Progress will continue (the 2020 target is 95g/km, compared to todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 150g/ km) but it will not be enough to compensate the growth in traffic overall. The choice here is starker: either we accept failure in our global warming commitments or we transition (quicker) to renewable energy. While it is likely that the transition will happen it needs to happen much faster. We cannot afford a 20% increase in greenhouse gas emissions from transport (over the period 2005-2030) when our total emissions (at OECD level) should be declining by 40%. The solution to the CO2 problem is being fought from four fronts. In the shorter term, the focus is on efficiency; trying to extract as much energy as possible from the energy source(s) by, for example, start-stop systems, energy recuperation from braking and high-precision fuel injection. In this way BMW achieved about 25%

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - Cleaner, Smarter Vehicles


We are talking about a transformation of the system, involving government, city planners, energy suppliers, grid operators, car manufacturers, and possibly entirely new business models

reduction in CO2 emissions for its fleet. Secondly, biofuels are being introduced. By 2020, 10% of the fuel sold in the EU should be biofuel. This is a challenging approach, partly because it so contentious (the debate around food prices and more recently about the greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy crop farming). Nevertheless, in the years ahead there should be potential to transform a great deal of waste (e.g. used coffee grinds) into fuel. Thirdly, in the mid-term manufacturers are introducing hybrid vehicles of various types (e.g. petrol/diesel-electric, diesel-natural gas, hydrogen fuel cell–electric). In the longer term, a full switch to alternative drive systems is foreseen. Some manufacturers are expected to launch pure electric vehicles in the near future, but for electric vehicles to become truly mainstream a simultaneous transformation of the energy system is required. The electricity grid will need a total revamp to be able to deal with the tremendous variations in the demand and supply of electricity (e.g. at 7 p.m. millions of cars will be drawing power from the grid, while at other times fully charged cars could be used to supply power on the grid). Also, a network of plug-in stations (e.g. at parking lots) and battery-change stations will need to be developed. Clearly we are talking about a transformation of the system, involving government, city planners, energy suppliers, grid operators, car manufacturers, and possibly entirely new business models (e.g. Better Place).


The electric motor is not the only alternative to fossil fuels. Some manufacturers are also looking into hydrogen as a possible energy carrier. Here there are two options. Hydrogen can be used to drive a fuel cell, in turn used to drive an electric motor (Van Hool sells buses based on this technology). Alternatively, hydrogen can be fired directly in a classic combustion engine, as BMW is experimenting with in its 7-series range. Obviously it is important to recognise that hydrogen itself is not an energy source but an energy carrier. Electricity is needed to make hydrogen, hence we can only speak here of a ‘green’ drive system if the hydrogen was made using electricity from renewable sources (e.g. wind or solar power).

To conclude, there are some fundamental changes happening, both in automotive technology and in the automotive industry itself. This is arguably a good thing, since the car—and its entire eco-system (energy system, traffic system)—is in urgent need of a thorough revamp if it is to address its increasingly unacceptable external costs.

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - Cleaner, Smarter Vehicles

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - Cleaner, Smarter Vehicles

Tomorrow’s motorcar —In conversation with Philipp von Sahr

Something quite fundamental is happening to the motorcar. While today’s cars are in principle quite similar to the vehicles of the 50s or 60s (i.e. powered by the internal combustion engine, a reasonably ‘passive’ machine controlled by the driver), tomorrow’s car is likely to be a very different machine indeed. Indeed, at least two key trends are changing the face of the motorcar. Firstly, there are the increasing concerns about climate change and fossil fuels, requiring a fundamental rethink of drive systems. Secondly, the revolution in IT and communications technology is beginning to change key assumptions about how ‘smart’ or ‘connected’ the car can or should be. The work going on at BMW—certainly one of the most innovative car manufacturers around—illustrates this well. For Philipp von Sahr, who has been part of BMW since the early 1980s and recently became President & CEO of BMW Belgium Luxemburg, the future of the BMW brand lies in increasing the motorcar’s efficiency and sustainability without losing sight of individual freedom and driving pleasure. This is an important point. While many may imagine tomorrow’s car to be a small electric car that practically drives itself, BMW wants to remain committed to both the principle and joy of individual mobility. In other words, ‘sheer driving pleasure’ is no empty slogan here—it is the crux of the company’s strategy.


At present each newly manufactured BMW already contains a bundle of various technological applications which make the vehicle more efficient, but not at the expense of its power. Think of start-stop systems, energy recoup during braking, low resistance tyres, high precision injection, and much more. “In the current economic crisis our ‘EfficientDynamics’ technology has turned out to be a considerable advantage, because it gave us an enormous headstart in the area of energy efficiency and emission reduction”, Philipp von Sahr relates. “For the BMW Group as a whole we were able to reduce CO2 emissions by 25 percent between 1996 and 2008.”

is another key area. Of importance here is that the system can anticipate possible collisions and thus take some measures to protect and alert the driver, but that it will not take over complete control of the vehicle. The principle of driver control remains pivotal. Other R&D avenues include a permanent internet connection in the car, an intelligent navigation system that ‘learns’ your regular routes and can anticipate your behaviour, and an automated road recovery system (if there is a problem, the car transmits an automatic diagnosis of the technical problem to the recovery service—that way the support folks are on their way with the required parts and equipment).

While many may imagine tomorrow’s car to be a small electric car that practically drives itself, BMW wants to remain committed to both the principle and joy of individual mobility. Today the BMW and MINI fleet emit 156 grams per km on average, which is the best performance in the premium segment of the automotive industry. Moreover, twenty BMW models and 7 MINIs have average emissions below 140 grams. And new technology keeps coming: solar panels on the roof, better recovery of heat from the exhaust system and much more. “Of the energy that is produced, only one third is transmitted into mechanical energy”, explains Philipp von Sahr. “Two-thirds of the energy that is generated is therefore lost. This obviously remains a great opportunity for further efficiency improvements.” BMW’s are becoming smarter and safer too. For example, much R&D work is being invested in the car-tocar network connection so that vehicles can warn each other about danger—e.g. an ice patch, slowing traffic, etc. Collision detection

In the medium to long term car manufacturers are working hard on finding hybrid solutions. But while most manufacturers begin this process with the smallest car in their range, BMW opted for a top-down approach. Philipp von Sahr: “We’re starting with the top of our range, and are working amongst other things on a fully hybrid X6, one of the 4x4 versions of BMW. It runs on two separate drive systems, petrol and electricity, and can switch between the two. For the 7-series, on the other hand, we chose a ‘mild’ hybrid system. These vehicles will not operate completely on electricity, but the electric engine is used to support the petrol engine so that it has to work less hard. In this way we retain engine power and driving pleasure, while fuel consumption is reduced.”

Hybrid models are generally regarded as a transition technology, since they remain in principle rather inefficient due to the fact that two separate drive systems are required (meaning more use of materials, more weight, etc). In the longer-term, cars will run on ‘pure’ alternative drive systems. While most manufacturers, including BMW, are looking at electric motors in this regard, BMW is also exploring hydrogen as an alternative drive system. Thus, the company has developed a prototype of a hydrogen-powered 7-series BMW. Important here is that the hydrogen is used as fuel for an internal combustion engine—in other words, it is not a fuel-cell system (where the hydrogen is used to make electricity, in turn used to drive an electric motor). With a full tank of hydrogen the car can drive 200 kilometres (emitting nothing but water vapour), but it also has a petrol tank to extend its range another 500 kilometres. At present there is only one hydrogen filling station in this country, in Ruisbroek, but the whole idea behind this project is to stimulate the debate on the possible merits of this technology—and obviously to encourage more R&D work. BMW’s work on electric drive systems is applied mainly to the MINI. The prototype (the MINI E) is proving its mettle in the BMW philosophy: it drives fast, accelerates well and can run for two hours on a full battery. It is ideal, in other words, for city driving. “In collaboration with energy companies E.ON and Vattenfal we are testing several hundred cars in cities like Los Angeles, Berlin and Munich”, says Philipp von Sahr. “They are being used by ordinary people under varying conditions, such as in freezing weather or on extremely hot days.” The objective is not simply to produce electric MINIs that perform well under lab or test-track conditions. Ultimately the electric car must fit in a wider city

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - Cleaner, Smarter Vehicles

mobility system. “We are increasingly moving towards a world of enormous cities— megacities—where millions of people live, work and travel together. To manage this mobility optimally we need a systems approach. This is why we’re testing the MINI E in real-world city conditions, in collaboration with the electricity companies. Also, in next phases of this R&D programme we want to work with traffic management authorities. We believe in a systems approach, but simultaneously we remain committed to individual mobility.”

Philipp von Sahr is President & CEO of BMW Belgium Luxemburg

We are increasingly moving towards a world of enormous cities— megacities—where millions of people live, work and travel together. To manage this mobility optimally we need a systems approach.

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - Cleaner, Smarter Vehicles

The Future of Navigation and Location-Based Services

—In conversation with Rob van Essen

What kind of new content is coming out that is proving useful to drivers? Content that is making car driving more reliable, safer and environmentally cleaner. Reliable relates to a more accurate estimate of the factors which influence travel time — when will you arrive, and therefore when do you have to leave. Examples include higher quality traffic information and speed profile information. Traffic information has actually been available for quite some time. But it was collected by a number of relatively expensive sources, such as loops in the road or reports from policemen. As a consequence, the information where traffic data was available was limited. The new generation of traffic solutions makes use of the traffic itself as a source. We can see more detailed information from mobile phones travelling in cars to see exactly where there is static or fluid traffic. So we can see traffic on a much wider set of locations than before. In the past, GPS devices calculated routes and travel times based on road characteristics, and theories about how long it would take to travel on a particular kind of road. Now new technologies such as speed profiles give a much more accurate estimate because they are based on the actual average speed real drivers have taken along a certain road throughout the day, at specific times. When integrated in a navigation system, speed profiles help navigation systems more precisely calculate travel times.


There’s also new content that helps make driving safer, and that can help reduce the likelihood of accidents. This relates to in-car systems

which are called Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. ADAS uses map information present in a highly accurate map like speed limits, lane information, accurate curve information etc. In the future speed profiles will also help make driving environmentally cleaner. The information will help navigation systems calculate the route that consumes the least amount of fuel. Road gradient or slope is another type of new map content with environmental significance because it will help vehicles better anticipate gear shifts and as such reduce fuel consumption.

What’s emerging on the mobile phone? Today’s maps focus mainly on the car driver, and tend to route people over motorways. But mobile phone users are more likely to be walking in a city center,

with respect to numbers and different categories. What will people be doing with digital maps five years from now? They will have them at their disposal all the time, be it on their device or accessed via wireless internet and they will help them meet their friends, arrive on time, explore the world, find anything they need, at any moment in time. You can expect that the maps of the future will have the most detailed traffic information for anywhere in the world, with safety features that will guide drivers more smoothly. Maps will have deeper content, perhaps even the full yellow pages or the telephone book will be included. Really anything that has a spatial aspect will have been integrated within maps. As such they will be easier to use, available with content sorted alphabetically or other traditional ways, or

With community input, the map of the future will be an ecosystem maintained by people like us and made available to users almost instantly. and interested in finding a footpath through a park, the nearest bus stop, or crossing a square diagonally. Newer content is being offered to help them get around on foot. Content will continue to become richer to show that user everything that surrounds him, wherever he is, and more options to get him where he needs to go, like public transport. In addition there will be POI content more focused on the pedestrian. So POI content on the map will increase significantly both

accessible spatially. Maps will be offered in a location context so you have the full view of what, and who, is near or far from you. What industry trend are you most excited about? The biggest challenge to realize a world in which any type of location information is available anytime is to have all that information, including the map, as fresh as possible. For the map, the best way to do that is by tapping into the people who are already using it and to

use their real time feedback in the map update process. We call this feedback “community input.” With community input, the map of the future will be an ecosystem maintained by people like us and made available to users almost instantly. Those users provide information that allows us to update the map in real time, and send it back out as fresh as possible, starting the loop that instantly updates the ecosystem all over again.

Rob van Essen is Vice President of Research and Development at Tele Atlas

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - Cleaner, Smarter Vehicles

No (sustainable) traffic without cars

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Joost Kaesemans Road traffic must become sustainable. Sustainable mobility for FEBIAC (Federation of Belgian Automotive and Bicycle Industries) means increasing accessibility and traffic safety, while at the same time reducing the impact on the environment and quality of life. This can be achieved by targeted investments in multimodality, in transport efficiency and in the road network.

Multimodal focus For many journeys the car remains a necessary and efficient means of transport. Because of the multitude of journeys within the limited time budget of a family, the carâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;whether a private or company carâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is often the only option. The increasing amount of traffic during peak hours without much room for new roads increases the need to offer satisfactory alternatives. Therefore, more and more people opt for motorbikes, scooters or bicycles: individual transport after all, means a lot to them. In addition, public transport is practical and affordable to the extent that its development is concentrated on places where, and times when, mobility demand is at its peak. Here a multimodal mobility policy must be able to yield results. For a suburban public transport net to be successful, several conditions need to be fulfilled: quick, punctual and frequent service as well as smooth transfer and parking facilities for twowheeled and four-wheeled vehicles.

Railway transport and inland and coastal shipping are suitable for long distance transport between large urban and economic areas and will partly have to absorb the growth in transport. However, more than 95% of businesses are not situated next to a railway line or canal: pre-transport and post-transport therefore still has to happen by road, hence the need for multimodal transfer terminals.

and the Netherlands shows that the number of freight journeys and number of kilometres driven decrease by 10% to 15% without any additional safety risk. For short distance freight transport there are no economically viable alternatives apart from trucks and delivery vans. Consequently, measures should be taken to bring about more efficient use of these vehicles

More than 95% of businesses are not situated next to a railway line or canal. Transport efficiency Railways and canals, however, are not found everywhere. Part of the expected growth in transport will need to be absorbed via the roads. A mobility policy must therefore bear in mind the deployment of longer lorries to and from the economic portals in our country. Practical experience with such vehicles in Scandinavia

and their carrying capacity. This can be achieved by improving the collaboration among companies located within the same supply chains. Information and communications technology are an important lever for making this happen. Via ICT, carriers and clients can fine-tune demand and supply each other in real time, so that many of those empty kilometres will be avoided. When it comes to supplying urban areas, logistical partnerships between companies can bring about a significant reduction in the number of freight journeys in the city traffic.

Optimising the road network Missing links continue to exist in the network of major roads. These need to be eliminated urgently, especially in areas with heavy traffic volumes such as those near our airports and seaports. This will benefit the mobility of passengers as well as goods, certainly in and around Antwerp and Brussels, the busiest and economically most important regions. Optimal road capacity does not guarantee its efficient use. Here, too, information technology and communications within vehicles and along the roads can ensure a smoother traffic flow. The car sector is currently working on the integration of information technology and communications in vehicles. In this way the occupants can consult numerous mobility services: traffic information, alternative routes, navigation systems, roadside assistance in the event of breakdowns or accidents, etc. On the other hand regional authorities in Belgium need to speed up the development of traffic control centres.

Joost Kaesemans is Director of Communication of FEBIAC, the Belgian automotive federation


7| Public Transport A

s discussed in chapter two, the reputation of public transport in this country is a mixed picture. The Flemish bus and tram operator De Lijn came under particular criticism for its poor cost-coverage and a network that does not cover the needs of the commuter. Also, there is dispute about the numbers of passengers being moved by public transport.


If public transport wants to increase its market share of the passenger kilometres then some serious action will need to be taken.

Indeed, the statistics are not consistent. According to Eurostat (the official stats collated by the European Commission), Belgium’s public transport services are pretty successful, achieving in 2007 a 20% share of total passenger kilometres (with buses taking the lion’s share—13.3%). That is significantly more than in The Netherlands. But according to the Federal Planning Bureau’s reference scenario to 2030 (which informs government policy), public transport only managed a 12% share of the total passenger kilometres in 2005 (with rail and bus/tram/metro each taking a 6% share)— which places us more in the range of The Netherlands. Something is clearly amiss with the statistics.


Looking ahead, if public transport wants to increase its market share of the passenger kilometres then some serious action will need to be taken. According to the Planning Bureau’s ‘business as usual’ forecast for 2030, the market share of public transport versus the passenger car will not budge, although rail will be taking a

share from bus/tram/metro (since buses and trams will be hampered by road congestion). The question can obviously be asked whether it is necessary for public transport to increase its market share, or in other words, whether a modal shift is really necessary. Indeed, some stakeholders do argue that we are throwing too much tax payers’ money at public transport services. Especially the Flemish concept of ‘basic mobility’ comes under fire in this regard. Under Flemish law, every citizen must have access to public transport at least 500 meters from his or her home. De Lijn, being a publically subsidised entity, duly designed its network to comply with that legislation—which ended up being a network that did not meet the needs of companies. It also led to somewhat bizarre situations where the state pays for people’s taxi, or where a dedicated ‘bell bus’ is dispatched to collect people on-demand. This while you can’t catch a bus to work. The criticism doesn’t stop there. Since buses are increasingly caught in road congestion, dedicated lanes have been demarcated on major axes, but in the process reducing road capacity for passenger cars and lorries. Whatever one’s standpoint on these matters, it has made it increasingly difficult to argue that public transport is more ‘sustainable.’ On the contrary, the detractors argue, by offering dirt cheap to free services in outlying areas of the country, De Lijn has simply created more mobility and possible taken market share from the one truly sustainable mode, the bicycle. Obviously this is a gross over-simplification of the situation. De Lijn does ferry plenty of commuters and does have systems to ensure that it does not keep running ‘unsustainable’ routes. Nevertheless, the debacle does seem symptomatic of a strategic error (and blame the policy makers, not De Lijn). Because looking toward the future, the case for public transport is rock solid. It just so happens that the most urgent justifications for public transport do not seem to be sufficiently exploited by De Lijn. There are at least three reasons why public transport needs a breakthrough. One, as the Planning Bureau concluded in its ‘business as usual’ scenario, road traffic


will become unmanageable. In other words, we face immobility on the roads. Thus, we best arrange alternatives, especially on the routes that are under most pressure, i.e. the commuter routes. Two, under the ‘business as usual’ scenario CO2 emissions will keep growing while they should be declining. This is important since we are tied into EU-level commitments—failure will cost us dearly in carbon off-setting payments (if not in changing climate, rising sea levels, etc.). Thus, we best introduce cleaner alternatives (i.e. rail or tram) that compete head-on with the car. Three, cars are being pushed out of cities. This is an international trend that is vastly improving quality of life in the cities, witness Ghent, Bruges and Leuven. Brussels and Antwerp are tougher nuts to crack, but are nevertheless next in line. While the media has put its spotlight on the controversial Oosterweel link (with its Lange Wapper bridge) in Antwerp, the Antwerp plan also includes a number of key measures to reorient the inner city toward public transport. Finally, a fourth point could be made: if public transport does manage to up its game then the scale advantages should go some way in addressing the costbenefit issue.


The main breakthrough for the NMBS/SNCB will be the new Rapid Transit Rail system (GEN/RER) network being built to improve the commuter connections to Brussels.

As it happens, the public transport operators are playing into these trends, some faster than others. The national rail operator (NMBS/SNCB), for example, fits perfectly into this picture: the vast majority of its passengers are commuters; its carbon footprint is much lower than the car (and has potential for further reduction); and it serves the major cities very well. Its major challenge is that it can barely keep up with demand. The company has been investing as rapidly as it can in double-decker trains and advanced planning systems to enable more frequent trains. A key bottleneck, however, is the rail infrastructure. Originally designed as a star with Brussels as the central hub, the rail network is hampered by a bottleneck right in the centre of Brussels, the North-South link that connects the three largest stations in central Brussels. The main breakthrough for the NMBS/SNCB will be the new Rapid Transit Rail system (GEN/RER) network being built to improve the commuter connections to Brussels. Due for completion by 2015-2016, the GEN/RER project will increase the frequency of trains on certain lines, will introduce several new lines, and will increase the number of stations and stops. STIB/MIVB, which runs the bus, tram and metro services in Brussels, has also been investing at breakneck speed to meet increasing demand. It has also set itself ambitious targets that in no uncertain terms seek to change the way people move both within, and to and from Brussels. Numerous new tram lines are planned that play into (changing) demand and should change the face of the inner city. Obviously, good integration with the GEN/RER network is a key element of its plan. Finally, De Lijn too has recently launched its vision for 2020. It proposes to radically expand its existing network, an expansion that it claims is purely demanddriven. A key concept in its plan is to meet the need for inter-regional transport (recall the criticism from Chris Tampere that this is the underserved—and mainly commuter-based—transport market). De Lijn’s new ‘wish-net’ proposes numerous rapid commuter connections based on light rail, fast tram and fast bus. Not


only does the proposed network connect well with the GEN/RER, De Lijn also proposes to run light-rail services on the rail infrastructure (thus competing with the rail operator). So much for the vision, but obstacles obviously remain. One issue is the money needed to pay for all this new infrastructure. Given the budgetary restrictions on the federal and regional governments (made worse by the economic crisis) there is little room to fund large infrastructure projects. This is why recourse has been taken to public-private partnership (PPP) contracts to get parts of the GEN/RER works going (e.g. the Diabolo works). But PPP constructions are proving no silver bullet (see next chapter). While De Lijn’s 2020 vision has been welcomed by its various stakeholders, the critics remain cautious about the economics of the plan, arguing that both the plan and the existing network should undergo stringent cost-benefit analyses.


De Lijn’s new ‘wish-net’ proposes numerous rapid commuter connections based on light rail, fast tram and fast bus.


Another matter is the cooperation between the various operators, the rail infrastructure owner (Infrabel), and the regional and city governments. Clearly the vision of a public transport breakthrough will only work out if all stakeholders are on the same wavelength. This means that the operators need to design networks that slot well into each other, both at the level of core design, but also in terms of time planning. Also, ticketing systems must be integrated so that passengers can ‘jump’ from

one network to another using a single ticket. This is being worked on today (a new chip card will be introduced), but critics argue that it is all taking far too long. City councils also need to cooperate in their spatial planning strategy—but this is food for the next chapter. To conclude, it is clear that the public transport operators and the various governments (federal, regional, city) are serious about forcing a ‘breakthrough’ for public transport. While the operators have all witnessed significant growth in their passenger numbers in recent years, this has not translated in a structural change in the way we move into this country. The market share of public transport in our total passenger kilometres has increased by only 3.5% over the period 1995-2007 (and recall, the numbers are in dispute).1 Also, at this rate it is not going to solve our core mobility challenges. Hence the need for a breakthrough. That this is possible is best illustrated by the case of high speed rail, which is revolutionising the short-haul market. Eurostar especially is a remarkable success story given the complexity and scale of the project: expensive infrastructure works that cross borders needed to be funded and coordinated, and a new operational entity (Eurostar group) needed to be set up as a joint venture between three national rail operators. Today the results speak for themselves. In 2001, Eurostar’s market share of the Brussels-London route was approximately 40%—today that is more along the order of 70%. The latest infrastructure works in the UK (the connection to St Pancreas, reducing the travel time to under 2 hours), was completed on time and within budget. In the mean time, the Eurostar brand has become a showcase of strong marketing. What the Eurostar case also shows, however, is that a long-term perspective is required in this business. Structural changes in travel patterns do not happen overnight—a great deal of long-term investment is needed, but when they eventually do change the money certainly seems worth it.

1) ref: Studiedienst van de Vlaamse Regering



Domestic passenger rail services

—Expanding capacity at breakneck speed If Belgium is to solve its mobility crisis, it’s clear that domestic rail travel is pivotal. With domestic road transportation at bursting point and greenhouse gas pollution out of control, the emphasis on rail commuting couldn’t be more relevant. The equation is fairly simple: you can fit more people on a train. But balancing the equation—i.e., making it all work given the tremendous challenges and costs involved—is trickier. Domestic rail certainly is growing rapidly: 45% growth in passenger numbers over the past 8 years. In 2008 more than 206 million rail trips were clocked, with this number expected to reach 230 million by 2012. To date, not even the economic crisis has affected these figures. It’s clear that domestic rail is absolutely critical to the functioning of Belgium’s transport system especially in the commuting sector and specifically in the commute to Brussels—where most of the growth is evidenced as companies and organisations continue to move in. While realising that utilising rail to solve some of the gridlock problems in Belgium might seem a ray of sunshine, it’s quickly obscured by heavy clouds: there’s simply a lack of capacity. In fact, the situation is even more complex than that. Firstly, it’s important to appreciate that the Belgian rail network is built in a star shape format—in the morning most of the trains travel into Brussels, with the reverse happening in the evening. While Brussels is the key hub, it’s also the key bottleneck, especially the north-south connection passing underground through central Brussels. With a tremendous amount of trains needing to pass through this stretch of tunnel, capacity has pretty much already been reached. However solutions are afoot, and are being tackled on several fronts; some from SNCB as the rail operator and some from the infrastructure company involved, namely Infrabel.


For many years SNCB’s approach has been to expand capacity by increasing the frequency as well as the length of trains. While new planning software might be able to increase frequency marginally, both of these

stopgaps are in danger of being steamrollered with the massive increase in demand. At present, one area where there’s still some room to move is the use of double-decker trains. By the end of the year, 420 new double-decker M6 trains will be in use, with modernisation of the old M5 double-deckers also taking place. While the key issue here has been just how fast new equipment can be manufactured and implemented things seem to be quite literally on track now.


In the 1990-2005 period the CO2 emissions for people transport declined 32% despite the massive increase in demand.

The good news for commuters is that other major plans are also taking place. Crucial to solving the mobility puzzle for Brussels is tackling the broader mobility plan to improve public transport connections for the major cities—turning the star pattern into a spider web. With 400,000 commuters travelling to Brussels daily and no respite from road travel, this figure is expected to continue rising. The much heralded expansion of the rail network, known as the Rapid Transit Rail System (RTR) or GEN/RER network is essentially a rail plan to improve mobility in and around the capital city. The plan involves 9 closely interconnected rail links, with additional bus routes going to areas not served by trains. Laid bare, the plan is to increase the frequency of trains (where possible), introduce new lines and construct new stations and stops. This is no small task: extensive works are required to build new lines and to increase capacity on existing lines. Also, up to 120 sta-



++ Served more than 206 million passenger journeys in 2008 ++ 45% growth in passenger numbers over the past 8 years ++ Major increase in capacity expected via Rapid Transit Rail System (GEN/RER network) ++


Domestic rail will be absolutely critical to solving this country’s mobility challenges.

tions and stop places will be upgraded or newly built. At present work is fully underway in two key components of the project. Firstly, links to the airport are being improved so that the incumbent station serves as a kind of diabolo (multiple in, multiple out) nexus as opposed to the singular terminal line it is now. This will increase traffic to and through the airport station fivefold, and of course necessitate a major upgrade of the station infrastructure. Secondly, works in the east of Brussels involve constructing a two-track 1250m tunnel linking the Brussels - Ottignies line to the Halle - Vilvoorde one with the entrance near Schuman station and exit near Meiser, partly built under the Cortenbergh road tunnel. In addition to this, 10 bridges in the region will either be replaced or upgraded—essentially to allow for an increase in the number of trains and improve service to the European quarter, major towns in the surrounding area and the Brussels-National airport. These new underground spider web-like links will also help ease the north-south bottleneck, with the added bonus of offering good connections to the Brussels metro.

With the anticipated increase in traffic frequency, much of the work for the RTR involves expanding the number of tracks from 2 to 4 lines along several routes, so that lines can have specific dedicated functions—two for intercity and high speed rail, and the other two for RTR. With the RTR slated to become operational in 2016, the SNCB’ total number of seats is set to rise from 280,000 to 365,000 (an almost unbelievable 30% increase). Clearly this is long-term strategic project. The implications of these projects are greater than just more bums on seats; there are important environmental benefits too. In the 1990-2005 period the CO2 emissions for people transport declined 32%—despite the massive increase in demand. With less than 40 grams of CO2 evidenced per traveller kilometre (much less during peak periods) as opposed to 160 grams for the average car, this is a statistic that can’t be ignored. While punctuality of trains is pretty decent (93-95% mark) a key challenge is the fact that the network is already pretty much at capacity—delays due to incidents have tremendous domino effects and are currently very

difficult to manage. Belgium is not alone here. Around the world railway operators and IT companies are trying to solve this puzzle. Indeed, it is looking increasingly likely that the next generation of systems will allow operators to model and simulate their traffic under different conditions instantaneously, and thereby enable much faster decision making in case of incidents. In the mean time, what can be done is improving communication to passengers; informing them better about potential delays both at stations and whilst onboard. Progress is already being made in improving ways of disseminating information on a real time basis via a number of channels, such as SMS. Looking ahead, it’s clear that domestic rail will be absolutely critical to solving this country’s mobility challenges. It already plays an essential role in serving the commuter market to the country’s major cities. This role will only become more critical as our cities grow. In response, the SNCB is expanding capacity as fast as it can, mainly by investing in double decked trains and improving its planning. Investment in new infrastructure is, however, unavoidable and the RTR system is essential in this strategy. To succeed, all stakeholders—the SNCB, the other public transport operators (bus, metro, tram), local authorities—will need to work together to create seamless intermodal connections and to cluster new development at the major public transport hubs.

The Fifth Conference with


Rail is the future —Bombardier Transportation innovates in energy efficiency and sustainable transport solutions

The design of Bombardier’s “M6” double-decker vehicles for SNCB is based on the well-recognized success of the “I-11”-type vehicles in terms of comfort, as well as the expectations and needs expressed by passengers.

Belgium is a densely populated country, and part of an industrious region with a highly developed economy. It comprises of major harbours to access the vast continental hinterland and encompasses some of Europe’s busiest rail corridors. As such, the country experiences on a daily basis the stringent need to quickly, comfortably, safely and efficiently move large numbers of people and goods to and from multiple destinations—with minimal environmental impact. Research indicates that rail is environmentally more favourable than other modes of transport, due to lower energy consumption, less land usage, accessibility for all, reduced congestion and fewer accidents compared with road transportation. Some examples: ++ For every passenger-km shifted from road to rail transport, two-thirds of the emitted CO2 would be avoided ++ In terms of land use per unit and per passenger km, one train can replace 10 busses or 180 cars ++ According to the OECD, the transport sector accounts for 23% of world-related greenhouse gas emissions. The vast majority of that total is caused by road transport and around 1% by rail ++ Higher rail market share will play a crucial role in achieving the goals (unattained until now) set by the 1997 United Nations Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions


No wonder the country has chosen to develop a sustainable network of regional, commuter and intercity trains, metros and trams. Belgian National Railways (SNCB), for example, has embarked on a programme of investment, and the company has made significant efforts to increase both capacity and comfort of its fleet by introducing more of the latest generation doubledecker intercity trains to the network. Also, Brussels Public Transport Company STIB supports the efforts to curb traffic congestion and to reduce CO2 emissions and, on top of the 68 FLEXITY vehicles that already operate on significant parts of the 533km public transport network that serves more than 286 million riders each year, commissioned from Bombardier an

The successful refurbishment of SNCB’s “M5” double-deck vehicles represents Bombardier’s ability to combine complementary strengths that offer: superior design and execution, competitive prices for quality service, and the synergy with the SNCB’s type M6 vehicles.

additional 102 bi-directional 100% low-floor trams in January 2008. Two of these very same trams will also be shipped to Vancouver (Canada) for a unique streetcar demonstration project that will help the city provide public transit service during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Public transport is an important element in the pursuit of more energy-efficient mobility. Addressing the growing challenges to reduce Energy consumption, improve Efficiency, protect Ecology while making sense Economically, Bombardier is setting a new industry standard with its innovative ECO4 product portfolio. The ECO4 portfolio of solutions, services, products and technologies comes at a time when rail operators are increasingly challenged by the pressures of volatile energy costs, operating efficiency and global climate change. ECO4 is the concrete validation of Bombardier’s declaration: "The Climate is Right for Trains". All ECO4 technologies, some of which are first-in-industry, are fully operable and can easily be customized to any fleet, creating substantial overall energy savings of up to 50%. Solutions range from planning energy efficiency of new transportation systems and new aerodynamically enhanced train design to optimizing the energy consumption of existing fleet. Amongst the innovations is the MITRAC Energy Saver, a clever device that stores regenerative braking energy of a light rail vehicle and re-uses it during acceleration or operation, thus saving up to 30% of energy. Unlike conventional batteries, the MITRAC Energy Saver provides vehicles with an energy storage source that allows frequent starting and braking, coupled with considerably longer service life. Moreover, lower peak current demand means that fewer substations are needed and they can be further apart, which reduces infrastructure costs. Alternatively, the stored energy can be used as a performance booster: the MITRAC Energy Saver enhances the performance of a vehicle by adding extra power during acceleration. The MITRAC Energy Saver is an important contribution to a more sustainable transport system, enhancing the already established


Flexity Outlook: Bombardier’s beautifully designed, award winning tram for the Capital of Europe. Design Flanders awarded this vehicle a Henry Van de Velde label 2007 for its contemporary interpretation of the Art Nouveau style. In October 2008, the Brussels FLEXITY Outlook trams also won a “Design at Work” Award. This Award attests to Bombardier’s innovative product development and outstanding design qualities. “Design at Work” was the first event under the logo of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009.”

environmental advantage of public rail transport not only for trams or metro systems, but also for diesel electric multiple units.


Bombardier is setting a new industry standard with its innovative ECO4 product portfolio.

Another ECO4 innovation is PRIMOVE Catenary-free operation. This revolutionary system is the first-inindustry and enables the complete catenary-free operation of FLEXITY trams over distances of varying lengths and in all surroundings. The benefits for operators include the elimination of overhead wires, thus increasing the attractiveness of cities, the safe and contactless inductive power transfer and the low wear of parts and components. The system functions independently of weather conditions and ensures that full power is always available. The PRIMOVE Catenary-free operation offers an entirely new prospect, particularly for trams operating in historic city centres where impressive cityscapes can now exist unencumbered by visual pollution from overhead lines. The site of Bruges was acquired by Bombardier Transportation over 20 years ago, and has continuously contributed to sustainable mobility solutions for customers throughout the continent. The successful track record ranges from the high speed trains for Eurostar and Thalys, “Shuttle” vehicles for the Channel Tunnel (Eurotunnel, UK/Fr), via carriages for Virgin Rail (UK), coaches for Midland Mainline and Hull Trains (UK), to the “M6” double-deck coaches for SNCB (B). In addition to the light rail vehicles Bruges produced for all major cities in the Netherlands and

Johan Van den Bussche, Chief Country Representative Bombardier Transportation Benelux: "Bombardier Transportation endeavours to bring you state-of-the-art railway vehicles, because we believe both customers and passengers have a right to expect comfortable trains that are reliable, safe, efficient, spacious and comfortable – all features that make a journey enjoyable."

the automated city-metros for London’s Docklands (UK), the site is also the cradle of light rail vehicles in Belgium. Bruges also hosts important fleet services activities, making it one of the true diversified sites of Bombardier across Europe. In December 2008, the site was awarded the prestigious IRIS Certificate, the highest recognized standards for railway industry excellence across the complete spectrum of railway equipment production – from evaluation processes and auditing to a scoring methodology and total transparency of the entire supply chain.


++ Global leader in rail technology ++ The Bombardier ECO4 technologies are setting new standards in total rail performance and sustainable mobility ++

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Moving through Europe by highspeed rail

—Richard Brown In a fast-moving, ever-changing world, travelling from place to place in a seamless, time-efficient way will be a key to the future for Europe’s citizens. What better way than by high-speed rail? There is both a strong economic case and a clear environmental argument in favour of high-speed train travel. Firstly, there is no doubt that transport in general, and high-speed rail in particular, are key facilitators for economic development. New transport links or capabilities lead to changes in economic geography, making places or markets more accessible, and making interchanges easier. And in our modern servicedominated economy, journey times are one of the most important factors in facilitating economic development.

transport, or both, allowing people and goods to move more quickly, easily and cheaply. In an increasingly environmentally-conscious world, ensuring that travellers and businesses use the most carbon efficient transport mode will also be increasingly important in the years ahead. As the most effective alternative to both domestic air and longer distance car travel, high-speed rail makes a clear case. For instance, a Eurostar journey

The size of Europe’s high-speed rail network is set to double in size by 2015, with new lines across Belgium, Holland, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.


Transport links help to spread business activity over wider areas, attracting companies to locate in places where accessibility is newly improved. High-speed rail links do this on a regional, national and international scale. Usually this economic growth requires transport improvements that reduce journey times or the cost of

by rail between Brussels and London produces just one tenth of the harmful carbon dioxide emissions produced by an equivalent flight. Furthermore, electricallypowered high-speed rail is future-proofed, because it will be able to reduce emissions per passenger journey still further as more sources

of renewable electricity become available. In future, electricity will be generated from a wide range of primary energy sources— renewables, biomass, combined heat and power (CHP), and nuclear, as well as traditional fossil fuels. In a transport sector which is overwhelmingly dependent on oil-based fuels, it makes strong environmental sense to invest in alternatives wherever it is feasible to do so. The European Commission has already put the drive towards renewable energy at the top of its environmental agenda. The size of Europe’s highspeed rail network is set to double in size by 2015, with new lines across Belgium, Holland, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. The leading European high-speed rail operators have formed Railteam, an alliance that will ensure greater connectivity and excellence in customer service across the network. Some 67 million passengers per year are expected to travel internationally on the Railteam network by 2020, compared to 44 million in 2007.

Of course, it isn’t just the Europeans who are turning to high-speed trains. Japan was the starting point for high-speed rail and now has an extensive network, and countries such as Korea, China and the USA all have high-speed rail projects under way. For economic and environmental reasons, the future looks bright for high-speed rail travel.

Richard Brown is CEO of Eurostar



SNCB International Services

—Brussels to become hub of the European high-speed rail network In Belgium, rail has always played a key role in the country’s mobility. Indeed, it was Belgium that had the first rail network in Europe, over 170 years ago. Some things never change: today Belgium is still at the heart of European rail, with Brussels destined to become a major hub in the European high-speed rail network.


The SNCB, Belgium’s incumbent rail operator, was right in the thick of things when Europe’s high-speed rail network first began to take shape. Together with its partners in France and the UK, the SNCB set up Thalys and Eurostar over a decade ago. Today the SNCB is still a significant shareholder and plays a key operational role in both companies. Having been around at the beginnings of European high speed rail (HSR), the SNCB has helped steer both Thalys and Eurostar to unbridled success, even today, despite the current economic crisis. Indeed in 2008 the number of travellers grew by 7.4%, to pass the 10 million mark. This is an impressive figure, considering that the HSR component of SNCB, contrary to domestic services, is a fully commercial service, and not subsidised by the government. Today, international rail services are synonymous with high speed rail (HSR). At least, it is in Belgium, with 94% of the international offering now covered by high speed rail. In 1997 the first HSR line in Belgium, running between Brussels and the north of France (to connect to Paris), was opened. When Thalys began serving the ParisBrussels link it so drastically cut the travel time (compared to traditional rail, road or even flight) it was a near instant success. To date, more than 40 million people have travelled on this railway speed track, where speeds of 300km/h are reached. Following on the heels of this success was the Eurostar link to London, piggybacking on one of the most famous and most widely publicised rail links ever built. In the meantime, a vision for an HSR European network had started to develop. Spain had begun building its network, and closer to home, Germany and the Netherlands were making plans for their networks. Hence, also in Belgium work started on new lines to connect the major Belgian cities with the Netherlands and Germany. Today, in 2009 the Belgian part of the European high speed rail network is complete. The link Brussels-Antwerp-Amsterdam is complete and being tested. Also, Brussels is now connected to Liège and on to Cologne in Germany. Thalys is the key operator active on both these lines.



In this vision of an expanding European high speed network, with an increasing number of operators, the stage is being set for the Brussels terminus to be a major high speed hub in the European HSR network.

When the new lines are fully in use, the travel time between Brussels and Amsterdam will collapse from 2h44 to 1h45—that’s an hour saved. The BrusselsCologne link will take only 1h47 instead of the current 2h21. In addition to this, Eurostar has benefitted from works in the UK, reducing travel time to London to less than two hours. With these kinds of improvements, demand is soaring. Eurostar, for example, is clearly winning the battle against the airlines in the short-haul market. In 2001 the company had 40% market share in the Brussels – London route. Today this has soared to 70%. Spurred on by such success—and the opening up of the market in 2010—other players are beginning to enter the market. The French operator TGV has become a regular sighting at Brussels since it began serving the Brussels – Paris airport (Charles de Gaulle) and Southern France links. Thalys, the previous operator along these routes, is now focussed exclusively on the Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne connections. Other players also are on the horizon: Fyra, a joint venture of SNCB and NSHispeed will be active on BrusselsAmsterdam link and even KLM, Air France and Virgin are reportedly taking interest in HSR. Nevertheless, Eurostar and Thalys are sure to retain their strong positions in the market since they are already such tightly knit operations. Recall, these are not publically subsidised services and they have to compete aggressively against the airlines and bus services to reach where they are today. With such a surge in this kind of international activity, European rail operators have set up a new body to coordinate their activities better (operationally, communication with travellers, a common timetable application, etc) at the major high speed rail hubs (Brussels-South, Lille Europe, Stuttgart, Cologne). Known as Railteam High Speed Europe, the organisation has truly international roots, with all the major players involved in its conception (SNCB, DB, SNCF, NS Hispeed, Eurostar, ÖBB, and SBB).

In this vision of an expanding European high speed network, with an increasing number of operators, the stage is being set for the Brussels terminus to be a major high speed hub in the European HSR network. With major renovations having already taken place and continued investment in the surrounds (mainly in new offices complexes), the entire area is getting a facelift —setting the scene for a new era of modernisation that will characterise this hub in the coming decade. With the CO2 emissions per traveller kilometre about 1/10th of an equivalent flight (Eurostar is taking it further, pursuing CO2 neutrality) it seems international rail poses a win-win for all concerned. In fact, plans are underway to reduce emissions a further 25% by 2012. In that context, the future of short-haul travel in Europe is clearly high-speed rail.


++ Key shareholder in Eurostar and Thalys ++ 94% of Belgium’s international rail services are covered by high-speed rail ++ Belgian high-speed rail network was completed in 2009 ++

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8| Virtual Mobility T

o make this publication, our team clocked up a fair number of kilometres. About 50-60 interviews and meetings in all, most of which were done faceto-face. In the process we experienced first-hand the mobility challenges discussed herein: the ludicrous amounts of time needed for a single meeting, the copious inhalation of NOx, VOCs and other nasty particles, the kamikaze experience of doing the E313 in driving rain... Less evident but no less present were the greenhouse gas emissions we caused, the danger we posed to other drivers and the delays we caused behind us. In frustration your correspondent took recourse to public transport but following an unpleasant delay in a stiflingly hot carriage, the car was grudgingly welcomed back. Fortunately, a quiet revolution is happening in the world of communications technology, which could change the way we work considerably. In fact, to some extent it already has. Videoconferencing is the obvious alternative to physical travel and indeed it is beginning to make a significant impact, especially for companies who work with geographically dispersed project teams. But it is more than that. The key trend in the world of communication technology today is the gradual integration (or convergence) of various communication channels (fixed phone, mobile phone, video, email, instant messaging), that is enabling more seamless communication independent of channel and device. Thus, whereas previously you needed a PC for email, your work desktop for company applications, a mobile phone for mobile voice, a chat client for instant messaging, and a dedicated videoconferencing facility for video, you now need a single communication platform—with a single ID— that is accessible from your home pc, work laptop and Smartphone. In other words, work and communicate anywhere, anytime. We are once again becoming more mobile, but this time in a purely virtual sense.


We are once again becoming more mobile, but this time in a purely virtual sense.


While this may certainly be a boon for productivity and customer service it is unclear whether virtual mobility is beginning to replace physical mobility. There are areas where this is the case, typically engineering or consulting companies who have replaced physical travel with

videoconferencing. Also noteworthy is the increasing use of teleworking or homeworking. Related here is the trend toward flexdesking, whereby companies scrap individual workspaces—and in the process manage to reduce their total office space. But the potential exists for a much greater transition to virtual mobility, barring a number of technical and cultural issues. Technically, the new converged communication platforms—typically referred to as Unified Communication systems—are mostly still reasonably closed systems. Thus, you can’t yet connect a Skype environment with a Microsoft environment. Videoconferencing is becoming more popular within organisations, but across organisations it remains rare. But it could change, once the various systems are able to plug into each other more effectively. Perhaps most decisively, however, will be the evolution of the videoconferencing market. Since Cisco launched its highly immersive telepresence technology (proving that videoconferencing can be a viable substitute to live meetings) the key question today is not if but when that sort of technology will be affordable and accessible (given the high bandwidth requirements) to small businesses and even consumers. There are those who argue, however, that the new communication technologies will in fact increase the demand for physical mobility—in the sense that we’ll be travelling to more meetings all over the place, as opposed to chatting at the coffee machine, or doing more errands (such as fetching the kids) since we can work on the road anyway. Possibly, but at least the traffic will be spread out more over time. And some, like our team at The Fifth Conference, will very definitely travel less.

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - virtual mobility


The New World of Work

Today’s economic climate fosters the need for cost efficiency, optimized revenue streams and innovation, and urges companies to change their way of working — specifically in the domains of collaboration, communication and search. Many companies are starting this transition to obtain a competitive advantage. Nevertheless, they need to carefully balance investments in people, technology and workplace to optimize their ROI impact.

—Steven Everaert

Socio-economic trends Over the last few years, disruptive socio-economic trends challenged the way organizations are collaborating, communicating and searching for information. ++ Globalization changed value chains and led to international specialization. Microsoft has an R&D center at headquarters, but also in Beijing, Bangalore and London. BMW is outsourcing the car assembly of its X3 to Magna Steyr. KBC expands heavily in Eastern Europe. The above examples imply significant challenges for collaboration (different locations, cultures or organizations), communication (different time zones, travel cost) and search (central availability of information, preserving global IP).


++ Mobility has become an important productivity factor. Every minute spent in a traffic jam or an airport lounge is lost money for the company. The challenge is twofold. First, how can you avoid travel time and

costs, by allowing home working and enabling web meetings with (foreign) colleagues instead of travelling there? Secondly, how can you ensure that ‘mobile’ employees can continue collaborating and communicating when on the road or in the airport? ++ Information overload is an acknowledged phenomenon of the 21st century. The channels, the sources and the amount of information grew exponentially over the last 10 years. In the consumer world, three technology streams help us to navigate this overload: search engines such as Google and Microsoft Live (now ‘Bing’), social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook1, and wikis where Wikipedia has become the reference encyclopedia site2. In an enterprise context, business leaders and their companies are challenged on their information access strategy and the collaboration process around it. The future winners will be those who invest in search (what is your Intranet equivalent of Google or Bing?), prioritize build-up of global IP (what is your internal equivalent of Wikipedia?) and leverage internal and external networks to accelerate innnovation and decision making (what is your internal equivalent of LinkedIn?).   1) The logic behind it is that you rather trust information coming from someone you know or trust. Also, finding an expert is much faster using a social network site. 2) Wikipedia is an example of end-user created content. It brings together information from people all over the world, puts context to it, and is refreshed on a daily basis.

++ Generation Y stands for the so-called ‘digital natives’, people born in 1984 or later. 76% of them use Messenger (chat) and Skype (voiceover-IP). 69% of them have a Facebook account. They are all taught at school how to use Wikipedia. They use the above tools because the process becomes much faster and more intuitive. Does your company have the environment and the culture to attract the best of them? Are your company’s processes and tools as efficient as those in the consumer world?

measured on crossgroup collaboration and contribution to the company’s IP as opposed to on individual excellence. A company’s culture is the leading indicator for successful attraction and retention of employees. Companies like Randstad and Microsoft have invested significantly in personal, functional and change leadership. These investments contributed to these companies’ cultures, confirmed by their nomination as ‘Best Employer of 2009’ (Vlerick/Vacature).

Home working and even ‘home shoring’ become standard business practices, and are a necessary condition for workforce diversity and the successful attraction of new employees. Consequently, the design of the office needs to be re-thought. The New World of Work Given the above trends and challenges, a new approach to collaboration, communication and search is needed. Change will typically need to take place in three areas: people, technology and workplace. ++ People are at the heart of your company. The work culture should empower them with freedom and accountability. They should have the freedom to make their own choices within the framework of core values for the company, whilst being held accountable for their results – and not for the time spent in the office. In the New World of Work, employees are

++ Technology is a key enabler of the New World of Work. Messenger, Skype, Facebook and Wikipedia are mainstream technologies in the consumer world. We should adopt the efficiency of these tools, whilst meeting enterprise requirements like security and application integration. In the New World of Work, employees are not sharing their information via email, but via workspaces. They use shared calendars and exchange meeting minutes in a digital file. They do not bump into the voicemail of another colleague, but use presence-aware unified communications

technology 3. Business units are reducing travel costs by setting up web conferences with other countries. The company’s social community site connects individuals by showing personal information, interests, projects and latest presentations. Wikis are used for accelerating product innovation. End user experiences are independent of the device they use: laptop, mobile device or just an Internet connection. Companies like Rabobank, Brepols Publishing and Microsoft have each gone a long way in implementing these technologies, with a clear ROI. ++ The workplace no longer equals the office. In the New World of Work, the office is the place where employees physically come together. All individual tasks (like preparing a presentation or budget) can be performed from anywhere and many meetings can be replaced by virtual meetings using the appropriate technology. Home working and even ‘home shoring’ become standard business practices, and are a necessary condition for workforce diversity and the successful attraction of new employees. Consequently, the design of the office needs to be re-thought: desk sharing, less workspaces, more meeting rooms. Companies like Ordina, Rabobank and Microsoft have relocated to another 3) Presence-aware unified communications technology leverages information on the connection of the employee (online/offline), his calendar information (e.g. in meeting, available, out of office) and his personal input (e.g. do not disturb at this moment). Based on this information, the system allows you to choose the appropriate communication channel (instant message, email, call, …) at that time.


building, or refurbished their existing office.

Business benefits Clearly, each company needs to individually articulate its ambitions in the New World of Work and balance its investments over peopletechnology-workplace. Although each business case is different, three main drivers will always be present. Today, most cases are centered on cost savings or internal efficiency. A New World of Work approach helps to reduce physical workplace costs (12.500 Euros per employee per year), travel costs (typically 30%) and telco costs (2040%). As important in today’s economic context is customer satisfaction. The New World of Work enables new communication channels with customers (e.g. ING experimenting with web casts to inform potential customers on mortgages). Successful interactions drive ‘emotional connection’ and emotional connection remains the most important buying criterium … Finally, innovation processes are much better supported by technology: R&D teams are exchanging complex schemes over web casts, wikis shorten the decision cycle for new programs, internal and external social community sites bring creative minds together.

Change Enterprise-wide adoption of the New World of Work requires a simple but solid change management process. It is critical that the CEO takes the business decision and drives a clear vision towards all employees. Each line organization needs to be involved (HR around culture, PR for communication, IT for enabling technology…). And most importantly: showing is believing! Once involved in a pilot approach, no single employee will want to return to the previous state. For hands-on experiences on adoption of the New World of Work, see the case studies on Rabobank (p 100), Microsoft (p 18) and Ordina (p 102).

Steven Everaert is Business Group Manager Information Worker at Microsoft Belux. ww w.lin k ed in .co m / in / steveneveraert


Rabobank creates a flexible work environment

Predictions of the future in the 1980s saw the rise of information as power and the dissemination of the formal working environment. While these are both right on the money, there’s a new wave breaking and it’s the common denominator behind every successful organisation: human We don’t need to look at the past to work out our future, but sometimes it’s interesting to see just how long ago the seeds of our success have been sown. One of the most cutting edge banks as far as business process is concerned was set up at the end of the 19th century as a federation of small farmer’s banks: Rabobank. Rabobank was set up at the end of the nineteenth century as a federation of small farmers’ banks. Even after all this time, the company’s corporate spotlight, involving the nurturing of local connections and cooperative structure remains at its heart, and ever the more relevant today. Rabobank realised some time back, that the most critical resource it needs to focus on is its people. Attracting the right kind of people and keeping them is the cornerstone to any successful powerhouse, but how? The answer is remarkably simple: instead of making them adapt to the business, the business adapts to them. The most difficult thing modern people seem to face is the collusion of the modern lifestyle and working activities. Using technology to create an environment where the individual can effectively balance business requirements and personal needs means both the individual and the business are going in the same direction. People join a company or stay at a company largely based on what works for them. Rabobank has picked up on this directly—forging an atmosphere that does exactly this. Rabo Unplugged is an integrated style of working along the lines of the New World of Work principle, where people are the focus of a flexible work environment, ably supported by innovative technology. In this world information is independent of time and place, which means working with fewer rules and less apparent structure, greater independence and better cooperation. Naturally this engenders a greater entrepreneurial spirit.


Basically staff are provided with the latest Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) facilities and the appropriate mobile equipment (such as laptops and smartphones) to make their own decisions as to where, when and how they will achieve the best results in the most efficient way. While the system means placing a fair whack of trust in the people by letting them take responsibility for their own work, it strikes at the heart of the main obstacle the company believes all businesses will face—holding on to good employees. Offering a way for people to balance their work and their home life in a modern way that suits them, is a great answer to this. In a way Rabobank is reverting back to

its cooperative past: working together to enable better results while still retaining individual independence. Creating a supple and robust working environment necessitates in turn the use of a flexible technological platform. Rabobank turned to Microsoft technologies to provide users with technology sensitive to wireless needs, with the aim of creating a single transparent workplace. While using software such as Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007, what the users don’t see is the underlying infrastructure such as management, enhanced security (provided by Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption) and storage capabilities—all critical to providing a reliable permanently available and safeguarded application platform.


Rabo Unplugged means putting your trust in people, letting them take responsibility for their own work and create a work-life balance in their own way.

This is only half the picture however. The other key strength to the system is the virtual communication lattice it provides. Effective office communication is provided via Office Communications Server 2007 enabling employees to locate and contact each other easily, wherever they may be working. Knowing at any given time what every single one of your colleagues is doing (whether in a meeting, available or unavailable for discussion) means that the entire communication flow of the business can be efficiently moulded and streamlined (via instant message, voice-over-IP and web conferencing) to suit the objective of the communication—no more trudging across the office only to find that the person has gone on lunch, or waiting hours just to have a 2 minute conversation... Underpinning all of this is Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, seamlessly collating all data in one centralised location, making collaboration much easier. It’s not just about the technology however; it comes down to the people themselves. It’s up to the individual employee to adopt this different way of working, the technology simply works as a lifestyle and workstyle enabler. Rabobank does facilitate the transition to this new mode of working through meetings and workshops however. The business benefits are quite clear: Moulding the environment to suit your employees means attracting



++ Rabobank is a full range financial services group that operates on cooperative principles ++ It is one of the world’s largest financial institutions and is reputed for its sustainability orientated banking ++

the right people, faster decision making, innovation via cross pollination (bring usually unconnected people together and you get the most amazing lateral thinking happening) and an optimal work-life balance that keeps the members of your company happy. The company is seeing just this happening at Beneluxstaete, a new 250 workstation modern and innovative working environment, where optimum support is provided for the Rabo Unplugged work paradigm. It’s already become apparent that managers and employees are finding it easier to locate each other, and clients are picking up the value-add from this style of working. Much of this translates to a core philosophy, ably summated by Piet van Schijndel, a member of the Board of Directors for Rabobank Nederland: “Rabo Unplugged means putting your trust in people, letting them take responsibility for their own work and create a work-life balance in their own way.” Who wouldn’t want to work for a company that allows you to be yourself and that clearly not only moves with the times but is ahead of them?

The Fifth Conference with


Ordina creates the 7-day weekend How would a company with no fixed offices and no fixed working times fare? What if employees could work on Sunday, go shopping on Monday and go pay their accounts on Tuesday afternoon? Ask Ordina. Started in 2004 when Ordina NL acquired The Vision Web, the company has grown from 110 staff to a present total of 750 in Belgium and Luxembourg. Rapid growth such as this requires new offices. While Ordina had naturally been partial to a decentralised office dynamic, a new philosophy (the brainchild of CEO Hans Vets) did more than just change where people worked, but also how and when. With a central HQ in Mechelen (completed recently) and satellite offices in Hasselt (which opened late 2008), Brussels, Gent and Luxembourg, the company put their unchained collaborative working environment concept forward. Hans Vets is a great believer in changing the way people work, much inspired by the ‘7-day weekend’ philosophy of Ricardo Semler of SEMCO, which deliberately blurs and blends the work and leisure time environments. Vets believes that it is this type of thinking—i.e. giving people the trust and tools to manage their own time optimally—is crucial if European business is going to retain a competitive edge globally. The key objective here is to create a work environment that feels like a 7-day weekend. And who wouldn’t want that? But making this all work depends on the careful balancing of a number of key factors.


Open space hot-desking environments aren’t exactly the flavour of the year—they’ve been around for some time, but are often afterthoughts in an already structured company—which translates to cramped and eccentric work spaces as room is haphazardly created out of nothing. To get this right you have to chuck everything out (quite literally) and start from the ground up. For Ordina the

basic principles to get right are openness, flexibility, integrity and a flat working structure. Giving people a sense of space isn’t about moving the water cooler against the wall; it’s about really creating open, flowing areas. When a client—and indeed an employee—enters the office he or she needs to be wowed. What’s wow? Wow is the feeling of instantly being at ease. Walking through a dimly lit maze to reach some badly cramped meeting space is always unnerving. Open space is easy to understand, and easy to enjoy. And this is true for everyone; clients and employees alike. This paradigm falls flat in the traditional sense— allocating people offices means that you have to partition space and carefully order the office environment. So the solution is simple: no more offices, no more specific work spaces—everyone can work wherever they please, anywhere within the company’s buildings, but also at home, at clients, on the road... With workspaces that are more like lounges, soundproofed focus booths (for concentrating or telephone work), discussion and brainstorm areas tied in with meeting rooms, the environment moulds itself around the actual business flow—no more ‘making do’ in the parking lot because the meeting room is taken. Large workspaces, the correct proportion of meeting rooms and no cupboards (we’re talking about a totally paperless environment here) keeps the space open, uncluttered and simple. That means friendly and enjoyable. Instead of being stuck in some dingy corner, or on the other side of the office to your friends you can now work where you please. In fact, the only person with a fixed chair is the receptionist.



++ Ordina is a major IT services company active in the Benelux ++ In 2007, the Ordina Group had 5,702 full-time employees, with more than 500 in Belgium ++

Sober tight design, with clean colours and the correct lighting stimulates the right mood and atmosphere for clarity, serenity and relaxation—the recipe for productivity. While the ICT infrastructure (IP telephony plus Microsoft Office Communications Server) is absolutely crucial, the actual hardware is largely hidden from view—there’s not a cable or wire to be seen in the entire building. Creating an easy going, dynamic environment ironically takes the exact opposite: careful and systematic research and planning. Vets spent plenty of time visiting other office locations and working with a whole host of suppliers, reviewing design proposals and preparing the right kind of briefing so that his unique flavour of change management could be realised. Making things easy for people really means understanding them: staff were segmented according to different mobility profiles and matched to the appropriate environment—with the office design working around them as opposed to the other way around. Developing a paperless work environment on the backbone of new technology is no small task, with plenty of time invested in making this a reality, working alongside the office receptionist, because when you think about it—the entire office becomes a reception area. Also, as one of the few permanent presences in the office, the receptionist now serves as a central communication and facilitation point for staff. The benefits of this approach are also immediately realised. Although major telephone costs were saved

the two most important drivers for the paradigm shift were flexibility (and of course the increased productivity spinoff by people being able to seamlessly integrate work into their lifestyles) and being able to attract and retain the best people. While it’s clear this is a recipe for success, it’s not an easy act to follow. Also, what works for one company won’t necessarily work for another—for one obvious reason—people are different. It’s the people and the values of the company that drive this kind of change management, and while IP telephones and OCS can underpin this kind of strategy, anything less than complete commitment to understanding and championing the unique spirit of the individual organisation will almost certainly end up half baked—which will hamper progress and buy in. To make this process work requires commitment, from numerous suppliers, and different employee segments—to create the kind of quilt that covers everyone comfortably—a concept that’s usually only associated with home life. To no surprise, employee buy-in is phenomenal—the social network of staff acts as a viral catalyst for spreading the word. People simply want to stay—because who doesn’t want to stay at home?

The Fifth Conference with


9| Leg Power I

t’s certainly the oldest form of transport and probably the most sustainable. Walk. The problem is that we don’t all live and work in medieval cities (built to suit walkers, who only have a travel range of about 3-4 km per hour). Also, some of us cannot walk, or cannot walk very easily. And it rains. The same applies to the bicycle, although this marvellous instrument does extend the user’s range to about 10-15 km—if he or she does not mind a spot of perspiration.

Notwithstanding these limitations, the opportunity for more walking and cycling in this country is in fact pretty significant. Patrick D’Haese of the Fietsersbond (non-profit cycling lobby group - see following article) makes the point well by comparing the Flemish cycling stats with the Netherlands (the Dutch cycle far more than us). It is quite remarkable how dependent we have become on the motorcar. The government’s research1 in our commuting behaviour shows, for example, that in the commutes that fall in the 0-5 km range, 65% of workers still rely on the car (17% cycle and 5% walk). In the Netherlands, 50% of commuters in the 0-7 km range travel by bicycle. Indeed, the opportunity exists and that is why government and a range of non-profit organisations are trying to stimulate more walking and cycling. This is happening at several levels. Education or awareness campaigning is one approach. Take the Korte Ritten Contract (Short Trips Contract) organised by non-profit Mobiel21 vzw. In this campaign, local authorities and other organisations promote walking and cycling for short (less than 5 km) distances. Going around the corner to your local bakery? Don’t take the car.


The opportunity for more walking and cycling in this country is in fact pretty significant.


Infrastructure is another approach. Here the Fietsersbond is appealing for accelerated investment in the ‘Supralocal Functional Cycle Route Network’ (an unfortunate name). Since many commuters cite safety reasons for not cycling to work it is necessary to create (or improve) cycle paths along the major functional routes (i.e. commute and school routes). This network is being built, but far too slowly. According to the Fietsersbond, at the current rate of investment it’ll take another 20-30 years to complete the network. Indeed, even if 90% of one’s route is along great cycle paths, it makes little difference to one’s choice of travel mode if that remaining 10% is a death trap. Spatial planning is another, albeit long term, approach. Consider the efforts by various cities to concentrate 1) FPS Mobility. DIAGNOSTIEK WOON-WERKVERKEER 30 JUNE 2005.

development, countering decades of decentralised development. Traffic law is also being applied; witness the 30 km/h speed limit introduced near schools. Another approach, currently being used by the Voetgangersbeweging (‘pedestrian movement’ – a Flemish non-profit), is what it describes as ‘engagement’ (see Tom Dhollander’s article below). Focusing on homeschool traffic, the Voetgangersbeweging is trying to encourage the various stakeholders—local authorities, schools, parents, police, etc—to work together on the ongoing management of school routes. It accomplishes this by delivering tools (e.g. an online school route mapping tool) that allow stakeholders to monitor (and thus manage) conditions on the ground. When the schools in a particular community begin to map their routes in a common platform, it allows the local authority and police service to manage those routes more effectively—e.g., walking and cycling routes need to be safe, car routes must not create bottlenecks in major throughways. In addition, all sorts of other opportunities emerge, for example, around car pooling or shared bus services. In this way the Voetgangersbeweging is not campaigning or lobbying for any particular point (all on foot!)—it is simply trying to facilitate dialogue between stakeholders, giving them the information and tools they need to take responsibility for managing transport problems. Finally, there is an approach that some lobby for, but with little success: destroy the competition, i.e. the car, and especially the company car. There is a reason why London residents do a great deal of walking—most don’t have access to a car. Leg power is an obvious part of the solution to this country’s mobility problems. It really is quite scandalous how lazy we have become. It is ironic that the average city dweller today is likely to do a great deal more walking than the average ‘countryside’ dweller. Walking and cycling really ought to be the transport modes of choice for short trips. Also, we need to shorten our trips by better spatial planning. In the short term the main opportunity is to improve safety for cyclists and walkers. Effort is being made in that regard, but clearly we can do more if we look at the examples of Denmark and the Netherlands. The hills in Brabant we can’t do much about, and neither can we do much about the rain, but then it only rains about 6% of the time—apparently.



Public engagement as a solution in the quest for sustainable mobility —Tom Dhollander

For many years now, experts have been in agreement that to solve traffic safety problems attention should be focussed on the socalled 3 E’s: education, enforcement and engineering. But after years of effort it seems that the high expectations which this approach elicited have not been met. Meanwhile a 4th E, engagement, has come into the picture: intensify public engagement in the pursuit of more traffic safety. The high number of accidents, after all, is nothing more than the sum total of individual accidents.

We can draw a parallel with the current mobility challenge that we are all trying to solve—i.e. the increasing congestion. Here, too, a mix of measures within the areas of infrastructure, behaviour and enforcement can be very significant. But as with traffic safety the 4th E is pertinent here. Every journey which contributes to congestion and pollution is driven by a pattern of individual needs. If we zoom in on the role of the individual, then we find that the processes aimed at involving or informing the public at large go no further than awareness campaigns or smallscale public hearings. With present-day technology and communication media, however, there are plenty of opportunities to take this a step further. But this remains a vacuum, receiving little attention, as not everyone seems convinced of the need for participation within the mobility policy domain.

ordinary citizens.

Octopus Plan The Octopusplan©® which was launched in 2006 testifies to this. The plan arose from the desire to promote traffic safety and sustainable transport behaviour to and from school. At the time when the project was launched, however, there was no uniform approach to the simultaneous addressing of infrastructure, the link with education inside the schools, and the involvement of relevant stakeholders. Neither was there any coordination between these elements. Thus, concretely, internet-based software with an adapted GIS module was developed, in which every school could systematically work on its plan. Schools can add information about their situation, such as the number of cyclists on a particular school route, the distance to school, bottlenecks etc., but they also

If you want to improve safety on busy school routes, it is essential that government knows where the busiest school routes are and what sorts of problems are experienced there.


The Voetgangersbeweging (Flemish Pedestrian Association), which for years has dedicated itself to promoting traffic safety and the right of movement of every individual, has been actively searching for methods to increase public involvement. Not only can this provide a wealth of information about popular transport habits; public involvement can also increase the engagement of

receive a great deal in return to support them in their key tasks. The integrated teaching method Octopus Traffic Land, for example, is a major stimulus for schools to do further work on the plan. Children or parents can likewise benefit from joining an Octopus Plan. The software, after all, offers concrete opportunities for simplifying the organisation of transport, and usually for the family as

well, in terms of walking, cycling and car pooling. Computerisation also means easier processing of large volumes of research data, exploring relationships with other data, and thereby saving costs. Schools no longer need intensive support. As a result of this approach, 20% of the schools in Flanders have already joined the project.

Participation Government, naturally, is also an important stakeholder in improving traffic safety and stimulating sustainable mobility. Adjustments made to school routes or specific traffic enforcement, after all, are part of government’s responsibility. It is, therefore, important that the information collected by schools is also made available to government. If you want to improve safety on busy school routes, it is essential that government knows where the busiest school routes are and what sorts of problems are experienced there. Only then can it take the right decisions to anticipate problems. Through its policy initiative Steunpunt Straten (Support centre Streets) the Voetgangersbeweging created the opportunity for municipalities to gain access to the information supplied by schools. The software allows information from different schools to be correlated and also be linked up with other policy data. For example, the integrated connection with speed cameras makes it possible to monitor the traffic situation along school routes automatically. Do lots of trucks pass along a busy school route? Are there many speed violations or is


road crossability adequate? By bringing together information from schools (citizens) with traffic and policy data, government can better align policy decisions with the needs of larger groups. Government has every reason to involve as many stakeholders as possible in the process. Then, too, policy decisions would enjoy much broader social support.

are aimed at enhancing individual comfort, but also offer interesting opportunities for monitoring mobility policy. On the other hand, these types of applications may at times also create traffic safety problems. Alternative routes through residential areas or village centres are happening all over, at the expense of people who do

By bringing together information from schools with traffic and policy data, government can better align policy decisions with the needs of larger groups. Through this approach a new participation process was created that is not aimed at a handful of individuals. Children too, who are at present far less or not at all involved in shaping policy procedures, can make their contribution in this way.

The future? The application of the Voetgangersbeweging was developed from an idealistic perspective. It is aimed at improving traffic safety on the ground and bringing about more sustainable mobility. All developments that happen within the framework of the project contribute to this. We find a parallel in quite a number of commercial practices which make use of individual mobility data. For example, route navigation systems report traffic jams to other road users who are then immediately given an alternative route. Data from mobile telephones is used to calculate journey times. These applications

not make use of these systems. Not exactly an example of good practice that contributes to more traffic safety and liveability or sustainable mobility. While government could act in a very interventionist manner in these developments, we find only limited anticipation taking place from its side. The road sign databank which is currently being prepared by the Flemish government seems a step in the right direction. Inspiring examples can also be found at a completely different level. Through computer games with accompanying pedometers children are stimulated to walk more. The steps (points) which they collect in this way can be used later in the game. In this way children are stimulated to move around sustainably and also to move more. The mobility data that could be obtained from this source might also be interesting to feed into mobility or road safety policy.

Provided the approach is good, further developments in this direction could have a very significant impact on our mobility in the future.

Tom Dhollander is Managing Director of the Voetgangersbeweging vzw


Increased bicycle use demands implementation of a Supra-local Functional Cycle Route Network

—Patrick D’haese 14.1% of the total number of journeys in Flanders are made by bicycle. For homeschool commuting this amounts to 36%, for home-work commuting 12.9%. In the Netherlands the proportion of cyclists in journeys of up to 7.5 km has increased to 34.3%. Clearly there is still enormous potential for the bicycle in our country.

According to the draft Total Bicycle Plan for Flanders the ‘bike’ share in daily journeys must increase to 19% in 2010. According to the Commuter Plan the ‘bike’ share must go as high as 20% in home-work commuting. From the Federal Survey of home-work commuting it appears that lack of safety for cyclists is a reason not to use the bicycle to go to work: 36.6% of employees highlight dangerous traffic on the bicycle routes to and from the workplace. In Flanders this figure amounts to 31.6%, in the Walloon provinces 35.1% and in the Brussels Metropolitan District as much as 63.5%. High time therefore for the effective implementation of the ‘Supra-local Functional Cycle Route Network’.


The objective of the ‘Supralocal Functional Cycle Route Network’ is to develop a plan for a cycle route network. In this plan the most important municipal centres, urban centres and attraction poles will be connected with each other. The aim is to develop a functional route network because it relates to the socalled “functional” journeys (work, going to school, shopping ...) and not to cycling for leisure. The supra-local functional cycle route network has to stimulate people to use the bicycle for functional journeys to work, to the shop or to school.

This plan serves as an evaluative framework for the existing and planned (road) infrastructure. This means examining to what extent the existing infrastructure on the network meets the necessary convenience and safety requirements for cycling and examining in which way the additional investments can be carried out most efficiently. Since the difference in speed between motorised and bicycle traffic on secondary roads does not permit combined traffic, these roads demand dedicated cycling paths that are separated from the road. Overpasses and underpasses in the form of bicycle tunnels and bridges can fill gaps in the bicycle connections.

as Kapellen, Stabroek and Kalmthout. To get to work, these employees must cross over or under the Kanaaldok. This is not possible by bike, except via a detour of dozens of kilometres. As a result many employees, who could and would like to commute by bike, are forced to go to work by car via the Tijsmanstunnel, which again results in additional moneywasting congestion on the motorways. Solving the congestion on our (express) motorways has for years been a priority for the Flemish authorities and employers’ organisations, supported of course by the transport companies. In this endeavour everything is pinned on removing the

Employees who regularly use the bicycle for home-work commuting on average take one day less sick leave per year than their non-cycling colleagues. The potential of the Supralocal Functional Cycle Route Network can be illustrated by means of an example. Tens of thousands of employees work in the port of Antwerp—after Rotterdam the second largest in Europe. The companies on the right bank attract their staff members from neighbouring municipalities such

so-called missing links in the motorway network. In other words, spreading out the present volume of motorised traffic over a larger motorway network. However, much can and should be expected from a modal shift between forms of transport. If more short distances can be covered by bicycle, additional space


is freed up on the motorways for those who have no choice but to travel by car.

undertook to map out and implement a supra-local cycle route network.

Mobility management requires the use of the correct means of transport for each specific type of journey. For short distances the bicycle is the quickest means of transport. It is good for the employee. But employers also benefit. This is shown by a recent study of the Netherlands Organisation of Applied Scientific Research (TNO). Employees who regularly use the bicycle for home-work commuting on average take one day less sick leave per year than their non-cycling colleagues. The potential gain of cycling to work is therefore significant. If the number of employees who cycle to work increases by 1%, regular cycling to work will bring Dutch employers a saving of approximately 27 million euro per year. Employers’ organisations therefore have every interest in an increase in bicycle use among their employees. Why are they waiting to put pressure on our authorities to create the necessary infrastructural conditions? Also for employers’ organisations the effective implementation of the Supra-local Functional Cycle Route Network should be at the top of their wish list.

By the end of May 2009 only 23% of the Supra-local Functional Cycle Route Network had been constructed. At the moment 77% of the network can thus be considered a missing link. It seems obvious to me that the Flemish government should effectively implement at least two-thirds of the Supra-local Functional Cycle Route Network during the 2009-2014 period of office.

About 10 years ago the Fl em ish govern m ent and provinces together

To this end the budget, which is currently only 60 million euro per annum, must be increased to 100 million euro per annum. After all, with the current investment tempo we will be at it for another 20 to 30 years. The investment tempo must therefore be stepped up urgently, if we want to get more cyclists on the road.

Patrick D’haese is general manager of the Fietsersbond vzw, a Flemish non-profit organisation that protects the interests of cyclists


10| Infrastructure & Spatial Planning N

early all the solutions proposed to this country’s mobility challenges involve infrastructure works: new roads, new railway lines, raised bridges and larger locks along the waterways, multimodal terminals, new container docks, and so on. We also have plenty of maintenance work to do given the chronic underinvestment since the 1980s. Indeed, a new era of investment does seem to have commenced. But the picture thus far is mixed: the works on the Antwerp ring (successful), the high-speed rail link north of Antwerp (took a while), the Leien in Antwerp (success), Diabolo works in context of the GEN/RER plan and improved Airport links (hiccups initially but got going now), the Liefkeshoek rail tunnel (nice contract), Oosterweel link (crisis). Why is it so challenging?

Firstly, infrastructure costs a great deal of money, money which the government does not have. The federal government is too deep in the red already and the regional governments are committed to being debtfree (to ensure Belgium meets its commitments to the Maastricht Treaty). This is why recourse was taken to public private partnerships (PPP). Secondly, it takes a great deal of time to plan and build infrastructure. The Oosterweel project is in its 10th year and not a stone has been laid. And during that time the context of the project can change. What looked like a good project ten years ago suddenly does not look so good anymore. Values have changed, new concerns have emerged, new technologies have become available, etc. Thirdly, the public tolerance of large infrastructure works is low—the NIMBY effect in other words; nobody wants a building site on their doorstep. But even the finished product is generally disliked. In the 60s people were impressed with great works simply because they were big (wow, look at those highways); today you need a work of art (e.g. Liège Guillemins designed by Santiago Calatrava) to impress.


Fourthly, once built we’re stuck with the infrastructure for a long time. For example, the works on the Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal started in 1550. Much of the rail network took shape in the 1800s. Even the highway network, built ‘recently’ in the 1960s and 70s,

will probably be with us for many decades, if not centuries, to come. Finally, and related to the latter point, new transport infrastructure can have a significant impact (intended and unintended) on spatial organisation. So how do we solve this puzzle? The financing piece of the puzzle remains a debate. Some in the infrastructure sector argue that PPP is unsuitable for the large public works we need, others argue that the principle is solid—it simply needs a little tweaking in practice. Generally there seems to be consensus that the larger, more long-term projects are best funded in the more traditional sense via public tender. This is because in such projects it is too difficult to quantify (and hence price) risk, leading to high prices (since the contractor wants to cover himself) and difficult negotiations. The proponents of PPP argue that there has been too much experimentation away from the ‘pure’ DBFM (Design, Build, Finance, Manage) contract. But lessons are being learnt. Infrabel is cited as an example in this regard. It first struggled with the Diabolo project but then got it right with the Liefkeshoek rail tunnel. The key lessons; stick to the pure DBFM contract (do not try to take out the finance part) and place risk where it can be carried (in other words, do not try push too much risk on the private sector).


Mobility is simply a component of spatial planning.

To ensure there is solid stakeholder commitment for a project (which in turn should speed the process up too), the experts recommend working with a project steering group. This group should include representatives from all key stakeholders, typically government (the relevant city government and regional government), the relevant transport operator, the retained engineering company, etc. This steering group is subsequently tasked to, quite


© Euro Immo Star en LaboS Scheldt Landscape Park

simply, make the project happen—i.e., deal with the obstacles as they emerge, including securing the required financing. In parallel it is essential to work with ‘sounding board’ groups in the community, in order to understand community concerns and deal with them effectively. Good communication is absolutely critical too, both in the integrity of the communication (i.e. that is based on solid stakeholder consultation) and in its packaging.


The challenge in this country is that we need to turn around decades of poor planning and automobileorientated planning.

Finally, and most importantly, planning must be seen in a much broader context than the infrastructure project itself. Infrastructure for mobility is primarily about spatial planning. As some of the experts argue, mobility is simply a component of spatial planning. Planning must be placed in a long-term context and also geographically one needs to think locally, regionally, and at a European level. The challenge in this country is that we need to turn around decades of poor planning and automobile-orientated planning. Antwerp, for example, is resolutely committed to pushing the car out of the city centre and creating denser residential, work and recreational zones. In Bruges and Ghent they already have pushed the car out; now both cities are investing heavily in their railway station surroundings, creating dense office, commercial and residential zones and improving intermodal links (trams, buses, car and cycle parking). Euro Immo Star, the engineers behind most of the new station projects, is taking its integrated approach a step further in the Scheldt Landscape Park. This project is a groundbreaking collaboration between 25 municipalities in the Scheldt valley, that wish to coordinate their planning around mobility, industry, agriculture, nature, tourism, agriculture, living, etc—in other words, the ambition is to create an integrated spatial vision for the whole Scheldt region. Indeed, it is this type of thinking and planning that the entire country needs.

© Eurostation & Euro Immo Star - Planned Ghent station surroundings

© Eurostation & Euro Immo Star - Planned Mechelen station surroundings


Public Private Partnership model for infrastructural work in Belgium no unqualified success. —Dirk Van Rompaey Over the past few years a number of large infrastructural projects in Belgium have been placed in market in the form of public-private partnerships — the socalled PPP projects. To date these models have not appeared to be very successful. The added value one hopes to find through collaboration between public and private partners has so far seldom materialised. Illustrative of the difficulty of getting PPP projects off the ground in Belgium is the tender for the Oosterweel connection. This infrastructural project has a value of more than 2 billion Euros and has to solve the traffic snarl-up around Antwerp. Since 2000 all political and technical authorities have been in agreement about the economic and logistical necessity of this project. It was then decided to implement this project as quickly as possible and a PPP model was chosen. In the year 2009, 9 years later, the balance of the situation might be described as extremely poor; public and private partners have already spent more than 150 million Euros son research costs, but no ground has yet been broken and nobody yet dares to predict when this project will finally be implemented. The Oosterweel connection tender is not the only example. A number of other tender processes are also progressing very laboriously.


The question therefore presents itself why Belgium does not appear to be a

fertile breeding ground for PPP infrastructural projects. An analysis of the snags which crop up in the above mentioned documents take us closer to the heart of the problem. It is not enough to bring public and private partners together, they must also work together. In other words: the third P of PPP is often where it goes wrong. Why?

groups) and carry the most risk. Ultimately it became clear that the interests of private and public partners do not always match. The fact that Belgium is a very densely populated country with an excess of legislation and regulation probably has something to do with this. The private partners want to

The third P of PPP is often where it goes wrong. The problem often already starts with the choice of the tender process. In choosing between a classic tender formula and a PPP model, government seems to be influenced more by financial arguments (budgeting) and less by technical considerations. Once the authorities have settled on the PPP tender model, they must go in search for the most suitable private partners. A point of criticism often heard in Belgium is that the PPP model is cut out for large international construction groups. The government is said to place too much emphasis on financial capacity and references based on achievements, without paying sufficient attention to the relevance of these references to the Belgian market. This has led to tensions between government and private partners: relatively smaller Belgian companies were excluded, while it is precisely these companies that will ultimately carry out the work (but then as subcontractors of international

maximise the design freedom offered to them in the tender process and thereby often introduce innovative solutions which could produce significant added value for government. But government, which should be welcoming this creativity, acts as a brake on creative solutions and in so doing goes against one of the most important reasons why PPP models exist in the first place. The reason why government seems to stifle creativity is that it has often gone through a long preparatory process—because of the excessive legislation, regulation and preconditions. In many instances government would rather have no innovative solutions because it is worried that it will have to repeat the preparatory process with much loss of time as a result. Government creates a tight straitjacket of preconditions, while the private partner prefers to challenge the preconditions in order to make its design freedom as wide as possible. So government

shoots itself in the foot: it creates PPP models to gain added value by means of creative solutions, but at the same time it stifles that creativity. One can pose the question whether PPP models for infrastructural projects in Belgium still offer added value. In its present form not much, except by making the budget look good. Involving the private partner at an earlier stage could be an alternative. The disadvantage, however, would be that the already lengthy preliminary phase for the private partner would be extended even further. Another solution could be to locate design responsibility with government to a larger extent. After all, the design freedom which the private partners expect to derive from the PPP model is in fact so limited that it only leads to wasted investment, futile hope and wasted energy. It is better to face up to reality; only this can lead to a rewarding collaboration between private and public partners.

Dirk Van Rompaey is director of Civil Works at Jan De Nul Group




The key to success in PPP is the third “P” standing for Partnership at all levels,

CFE is working towards smoother mobility in the harbour

—Government and private sector join forces

With the Liefkenshoek rail link, a 16.2 kilometre long direct rail link will be created between Waasland Harbour on Antwerp’s Left Bank and the Antwerp North shunting yard on Antwerp’s Right Bank. The Liefkenshoek rail link provides optimal direct railway access to the Deurganckdok on the Left Bank and the Antwerp marshalling yard. By taking pressure off the current route of the Kennedy rail tunnel and the Berchem-Antwerp Schijnpoort route, the Liefkenshoek rail link will ensure faster and more efficient train traffic. To construct the link the government agency Infrabel, the infrastructure manager of the Belgian rail network, set up a public-private partnership or PPP construction in the form of a DBFM contract (design, build, finance and maintain).

nel to be constructed, it will dig two single-track bore tunnels over a 6 km trajectory under the Schelde and the Kanaaldok B1-B2, and it will build a closed tunnel construction and open access ramp on Antwerp’s Right Bank.

After the official announcement in April 2004, 3 international construction consortia were retained following selection and first offer for the BAFO (best and final offer). On 5 November 2008 Locorail NV was commissioned to execute the project. Locorail NV is a project company (SPV) specifically established for the project with CFE NV, VINCI Concessions SA and BAM PPP Investments Belgium as its shareholders.

At a construction cost of 680 million Euros this project is one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever to be carried out in Belgium.

Locorail NV is responsible for the financing, design and construction of the infrastructure, will be responsible for the maintenance costs of the infrastructure for 38 years and will make it available for this period to Infrabel, who will in return pay compensation in an amount of 50 million Euros per year. In 2051 Locorail NV will transfer the right of use of the infrastructure to Infrabel in full. The private financing entity Locorail NV is financed on the one hand by the European Investment Bank and on the other hand by private investors such as ING, Fortis Banco Santander, Société Générale, the Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten and the Bayerische Landesbank.


The design and the actual construction activities will be carried out on behalf of Locorail NV by the Joint Venture, THV Locobouw, consisting of MBG (division of CFE), VINCI Construction Grands Projects, CEI-De Meyer and Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau. Locobouw will therefore construct the railway bedding from Bundel Zuid to the Beveren rail tunnel, which it will also renovate and adapt. It will also build an access tunnel between the Beveren rail tunnel and the railway tun-

Because the public and private sectors are working jointly on implementing the project, each of them is creating added value for itself on the basis of a clear division of work as well as risk. Thanks to PPP the government and the companies can each do what they are best at, so that both can benefit from their cooperation. An agreement between government and a private partner can contain different elements, in particular design, build, finance and maintain. PPP in itself is not new, but in the last few years it has been used more frequently for large infrastructural works in Belgium, such as the Diabolo project or the Oosterweel connection, in which the CFE group was involved in each case. For the private partner PPP provides a guarantee of stable revenue over an extended period of, usually, 25 to 38 years. Design, construction, maintenance and financing are regarded as one whole, which leads to optimisation, efficiency and cost savings. By means of PPP the public sector can execute large building projects for which no budgets exist and can thus implement an important mobility project such as the Liefkenshoek rail link more rapidly, whereby the building risk and the availability risk are transferred from the public to the private sector. ‘Building risk’ refers among other things to late delivery, not meeting specific requirements or additional costs. ‘Availability



++ CFE is a multidisciplinary contracting group with related services, listed on Euronext Brussels. VINCI owns 47% of the company’s capital. The group is active in the areas of concessions, construction, road construction, real estate, multi-technics (electrification, air conditioning, signalisation, rail) and in marine engineering via its participation in DEME. CFE owns 50% of DEME’s capital, a company that is active worldwide in dredging and environmental engineering. In its main activity as construction company, CFE is active mainly in Belgium, the rest of the BENELUX region and in Central Europe. MBG is a 100% owned business unit of the CFE group and is active in Flanders as a general contractor in buildings, industrial construction and civil engineering. Via its years of experience in complex, multidisciplinary infrastructure works such as, among others, the tunnel underneath Antwerp

risk’ in turn refers to the fact that the partner may be unable to deliver or meet the volume or level of quality that was contractually agreed or to meet the governmental safety and certification requirements stated in the agreement in respect of the service provision to the end users.

Central Station, the Antwerp Leien, the Deurganckdok; high quality building projects such as the courthouse of Antwerp, the Kievitplein office complex; and the capacity extensions for several industrial clients, MBG

The key to success in PPP is the third “P” standing for Partnership at all levels, during the tendering process and the implementation process, as well as the availability phase, on the basis of trust, transparency and coordination. During the tendering process transparency and consultation are needed between the client and the contractor (SPV) in order to arrive at the best possible division of risk (value for money); during implementation and the availability period a consultative structure should be established offering transparency and communication about possible problems. Between the SPV and the sub-contractor the objective should be to achieve the best possible division of risk and maximum common interest. Among shareholders there should be a common strategy and profit expectations. Consultation between the SPV and financiers will lead to the establishment of the best possible financing combination. Among building partners the same strategy should exist, especially in the case of a non-integrated Joint Venture. In conclusion one can state that the most important key to success is to achieve cooperation between the various disciplines (engineers, lawyers, financiers, advisors...) within one team, internally as well as externally and the various partners (client, SPV, D&C, M&O...) on the basis of trust, transparency and coordination. At the level of international recognition the “Liefkenshoek rail link” project received the 2008 PFI award in the category “European Infrastructure Deal of the Year”.

has earned its place as a trusted building partner for all possible constructions. “We build for YOU” ++

The Fifth Conference with


Sustainable solutions for Antwerp's mobility challenges

Solving the mobility problem in Antwerp is like tackling a hydra: cut off one head, and two grow back. Only, this hydra is so complex that it has hundreds of heads, each of them just as difficult to deal with as the next. While the government has known for some time that a mobility crisis is looming, fixing the problem involves dealing with things on such a massive scale and from so many angles that without all sectors operating in perfect unison, the task is almost insurmountable. While Antwerp boasts the second largest port in Europe and the industrial heart of Belgium, the actual implications of this business are quite unbelievable. With the new generation super-carrier vessels just around the corner, unload just one ship and you need 30 trains each a mile long. With anywhere from 50 to 200 vessels streaming into Antwerp daily, and most of this freight being moved on by road, congestion is reaching a critical level. If you’ve ever sat in rush-hour traffic on the ring road that circles the city, you might be forced to the conclusion that a critical level has already been surpassed. Fixing this problem means looking at both supply (trains, trams, road infrastructure, waterways, pedestrian and cycle paths) and the ever increasing demand for mobility. In response, the Flemish government set up the Mobility Management Company of Antwerp (BAM) in 2003. As an autonomous public-private framework the company operates in accordance with market-compliant principles, gathering funding from various sources, such as the European Investment Bank—recovered at a later stage via mechanisms such as toll gates. This is no insignificant amount of capital either, the Flemish government's Mobility Masterplan of Antwerp is the most ambitious ever attempted, with investments of more than EUR 3.5 billion. The main thrust of this plan involves balance: the fine balance between the headlong commitment to greasing the cogs in Belgium’s bid to be the transport hub of Europe and the government’s responsibility to its citizens—providing a safe, uncongested and environmentally sound place to live. To achieve this goal, BAM has realised the most integrated urban development plan in the country’s history, and with over 16 major projects on the cards, it’s fighting hydra with hydra.


One of the main heads of the beast which BAM is attempting to eliminate is the problem of the ring road. With the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east and France to the southwest the ring road acts as a crossroads of trade for the region—it’s as vital as it is suffocating. The ring suffers from numerous problems:

as of yet it’s incomplete on the northwest side of the city which means traffic on the south side of the ring is much heavier than it should be. Also, transportation on its way to France needs to go through the beleaguered Kennedy tunnel to cross the Scheldt River—nowadays a potentially hazardous experience—especially with the frequent movement of petrochemical goods. Competing with hundreds of trucks on your way to work can’t be the highlight of anyone’s day. BAM’s solution is twofold: firstly, the plan seeks to improve the traffic flows around the city. A vitally important component in this regard is completing the ring road via the proposed Oosterweel link in the north-west. This at once frees up congestion in the south and also means the Kennedy tunnel can be closed to heavy freight traffic—something that is long overdue. While the viaduct has been met with a certain measure of community criticism, its place in the greater scheme of things is not only indispensable but offers opportunities for further developments in the north of the city In addition, the ring will be split right down the middle, separating local from transit traffic. What this does is force the traffic to make a simple choice: are you wanting to end up in Antwerp (for instance people commuting to work) or are you simply passing through (such as container transport) on your way somewhere else? By forcibly splitting the traffic into these two groups, neither will be getting in the way of the other. Other projects are geared towards reducing traffic on the ring. Essential here are the plans to extend Antwerp’s tram lines deeper into the surrounding suburbs, and to improve the public transport connections within the city centre. Those who do drive into the city will be encouraged to park at a limited number of key transit areas (e.g. in the north at het Eilandje) where an easy switch to public transport will be possible. To reduce freight traffic on the road, the bridges over the Albert Canal will be raised. This will allow barges stacked four-high with containers to pass through on toward the inland logistics zones. This is an essential component of the plan that will enable further expansion of Antwerp’s Port.



++ BAM is responsible for the financing, implementation, management and operation of the traffic infrastructure in the Antwerp region ++ The company is executing the most ambitious mobility plan in Flanders, designed to address Antwerp’s multiple transport challenges ++

The second main component of the plan is to help the city function from the perspective of the people who live there—by opening it up. Sometimes these plans dovetail with other objectives: reducing road traffic often automatically makes an area more habitable. This is certainly the case in the areas saddling the Leien, where the car is gradually being pushed out. More of this is on the cards. For example, the plans for the Singel inner-ring road include drastically reducing the number of cars and transforming it into a tree-lined tram route. Making a city breathe better isn’t just about planting trees however. It can involve some ambitious engineering projects. Key in this regard is the planned transformation of the Opera area—currently a highly congested traffic crossing—where a key tram-metro hub will be built entirely underground, opening up pedestrian space above ground. Encouraging the clustering of residential and office zones near such transport hubs (such as het Eilandje in the north) are an essential piece of the puzzle here. The whole point is to make the city centre a more open, safer and hence liveable environment. Mobility will be assured via public transport, but this also means that the connections to the city and around the city need to be improved. Striking an all important balance between developing an efficient network of roads (essential to the vision of a trans-European internal market) and still honouring the requirements of any citizen in terms of sustainability are essential to making urban living viable, and means executing a very ambitious long term and integrated plan. The kinds of strategic priorities mandated in EU white paper and green paper don’t come cheap. Nor do the concerns of citizens. While some of BAM’s projects are more popular than others, when they’re seen together the clarity in the company’s vision emerges: to slay the mobility hydra you need a multi-pronged solution and you need commitment from all spheres of government as well as buy-in from all stakeholders. Some projects in the plan—e.g. the Leien from the South to the city centre—have been completed to date and others are firmly on track (e.g. raising the bridges over

the Albert Canal, renovation of locks, green areas on the left bank). The next key component, however, is the Oosterweel link. If the building permit is approved by the end of this year, then preparatory work could start in the middle of 2010 with the project largely completed by the end of 2014, beginning of 2015. With congestion reaching dizzying proportions, Antwerp’s mobility problem is haemorrhaging prosperity through lost employee hours, disrupted industrial schedules, and urban degradation. In that sense, the integrated, long-term approach of BAM is needed more than ever.


The whole point is to make the city centre a more open, safer and hence liveable environment.

The Fifth Conference with


Ghent, a city pioneering sustainable mobility…

—Daniël Termont

A city owes its vibrancy largely to the fact that people often move around in it: from home to work, from work to the shops, from home to the crèche and then to school, from one campus to the next, from home to the gym, from the cinema to a café, from one shop to the next, going for a jog, walking the dog...

All this movement contributes to a bustling city and pleasant meetings with acquaintances, but the way in which we move around can also cause nuisance and danger. To give free rein to car and truck traffic in a medium-sized city such as Ghent with a street pattern dating from the Middle Ages to the 16th Century, would inevitably have led to gridlock. That is why the City Council of Ghent has made fundamental political choices in the area of mobility, and the outcomes indicate that these were the right choices. Today we not only have a well thoughtout mobility plan with the largest pedestrian zone in Belgium, but we are also busy with the expansion of a public transport network that is accessible, reliable and affordable as well as a number of successful interventions to stimulate cycling. Walking, cycling and using public transport are cheaper, better for the environment, take up less space and often use less time (fewer traffic jams). Cycling and walking are also healthier. Nevertheless, those who still need to travel by car in the city will find a wellbalanced parking system with well-equipped parking areas at their disposal. This makes our city the absolute leader in Flanders in respect of mobility, road safety and traffic liveability.


The central location of Ghent at the intersection of important motorways, railway lines and waterways is a boon for our city, making it an interesting setting for businesses, educational and welfare institutions and other organisations. But this coin also has another side: all this traffic produces significant quantities of fine dust particles and CO² emissions.

From the numerous discussions I have with business leaders I have learnt that the business world is aware of the need for a radical change of direction. More and more companies see opportunities and possibilities for an innovative leap forward in this! And this brings me to another spearhead of our policy: innovation. With our university, our polytechnics, our leading research centres

That is why we continue implementing a consistent policy to discourage, in a gradual and wellconsidered way, the use of transport means that consume fossil fuels However much we try to play a pioneering role in Ghent in the fight against the greenhouse effect, it goes without saying that only far-reaching measures on a global scale can bring any relief. Which does not mean that we as a medium-sized city cannot play our part! That is why we continue implementing a consistent policy to discourage, in a gradual and well-considered way, the use of transport means that consume fossil fuels. This despite the fact that precisely in Ghent the car and truck industry offers a livelihood to thousands of employees and forms a significant source of income for the city budget. Is this then political suicide? I do not think so. I am convinced that with a delicate approach and reasonable arguments we can move towards a fundamental mindset change among road users and businesses. Indeed we have no other choice, if we want to prevent an ecological catastrophe.

and our spin-off businesses, the city of Ghent is an ideal growth environment for scientific progress and cutting-edge technology. I am convinced that the future of our economy lies in developing low-energy and environmentally-friendly means of transport, consumer goods and fuels. As one of the first cities of Flanders the City Council of Ghent has worked out a long-term vision. In a number of ambitious key strategic objectives we have mapped out where we want our city to be in 2020. No less and no more than today Ghent wants to play a leading role in the development of a sustainable, united and open society. To make this ambition a reality we want to make space for all creative forces because the answer to the enormous challenges that are bearing down on us—also in respect of mobility—lies in the combination of creation and innovation... Daniël Termont is Mayor of Ghent


Station surroundings are the new hotspots

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Herwig Persoons Thanks to its central location and its human capital, Belgium occupies a unique position in Europe. To make optimal use of this ideal location our country must resolutely opt for sustainable transport, for instance by especially stimulating goods and passenger transport by rail. Increasing rail capacity is of course not enough. Quality station surroundings and efficient logistical turntables play an important role in this.

Additional rail infrastructure is not obvious Whether it is about a new road, bridge or railway line, the building of new infrastructure often runs up against protest from local residents. And that is understandable. For a long time infrastructure has only been regarded as something functional. The train simply had to run from point A to point B, without considering the impact of these railway lines on the adjacent town or landscape. Infrastructure thus became a definitive and often negative element in the environment. Personally I am convinced that new infrastructure in the form of railway lines can be integrated with the environment in a qualitative manner, so that the interventions do not become scars spelling the end of the town or landscape. It is therefore important that an expansion of rail capacity is not simply regarded as a technical and economic issue. To use the available space in Belgium in the most efficient and sustainable manner, this technical knowledge must be supported by a vision based on urban and rural planning.

and liveable with lots of green and open spaces. It is therefore worthwhile to invest in station surroundings. The surroundings of a station bring sustainable mobility into the heart of a community and, because it is such an accessible place, there is an ever-increasing demand for intensive use of space in station surroundings. A balance between built-up/enclosed and empty/open space is therefore very important. By making intensive use of the space around a station, the area becomes livelier. An interesting mix is created between travelling, living and working. The availability of public transport can increase as a result, which increases accessibility. In such an environment it also becomes interesting to invest in dynamic activities such as theatre and conference space. Urban densification does not only mean built-up areas. Quality public spaces and green areas also play an important connecting role in the urban fabric. I am therefore convinced that station surroundings are often the motor for renewed urban development.

Towns and municipalities have ambitions. They want to attract more residents, more jobs and more culture. At the same time towns want to remain accessible Towns with ambition Towns and municipalities have ambitions. They want to attract more residents, more jobs and more culture. At the same time towns want to remain accessible

The search for value-add logistics Belgium wants to be more than a transit country. Therefore our country must opt for sustainable logistics with added value. Thus the

second railway connection for the port of Antwerp and the reactivation of the Iron Rhine route are essential. But the harbour as well as the transfer platforms situated further inland, must be more than multi-modal platforms. It is true that goods must be quickly transferable from one means of transport to another. But it would be better if these goods were to be finished, improved or adjusted for the various end markets at the same time. Just as in urban station surroundings, more activities must be combined at such a logistical junction. And here, too, a good urban location is essential. In addition a longer-term vision is needed. The investments that are required to launch our country to the logistical top of the European regions cannot produce results within one term of government. Future governments will also need to make this an important policy theme.

Integrated thinking is the future Parochial thinking, confined by terms of government or administrative borders, obstructs a future-oriented mobility policy. (Rail) infrastructure, economy, sustainability and urban development go hand in hand. Also in my own company I focus on multidisciplinarity. Thus, interaction between mobility experts, urban developers, (landscape) architects, engineers and other specialists is essential in order to arrive at innovative ideas. Environmental research and an integrated vision are crucial for all the ideas which Euro Immo Star and Eurostation are putting into practice. I personally find it equally

important that the vision which is developed does not founder as yet another paper plan, but that it becomes a tangible reality in the form of beneficial projects.

Herwig Persoons is Executive Director of Euro Immo Star and Eurostation

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - Infrastructure & Spatial Planning

Future vision of mobility in Brussels

—Pascal Smet

A pedestrian zone in every neighbourhood For short distances (< 1km) walking is not only the healthiest but often also the quickest way to move about in the city. To motivate people to do this, Brussels must become a more pleasant place. The squares and footpaths must be spacious, accessible and well maintained. More real squares must be built as meeting points along pedestrian routes. I am in favour of more small green spaces and, following the precedent of the cycling premium, a walking premium should be introduced for employees who go to and from work on foot. To improve traffic safety for pedestrians we should extend the 30 zones to all local roads. I think out loud about a permanent car-free or low-traffic zone in every neighbourhood of Brussels. A safe, signposted pedestrian network could connect all historical centres. In the pentagon the car boulevard, which Dansaert Street is today, must become a pedestrian boulevard with greenery and benches, and greenery and space for pedestrians should also be created in front of the Bourse and on the Brouckère Square. The number of car lanes in the central avenues should be halved so that more space can be created for soft means of transport. I have just made the Old Grain Market Square car-free.

Brussels bicycle city


The bicycle is a handy, quick, cheap and environmentallyfriendly urban mode of transport that keeps you fit and healthy. 60% of journeys in Brussels cover less than 5 km. There is therefore an enormous growth potential for bicycle transport which

currently amounts to 4% of all journeys. The recently stepped-up investment policy in bicycle infrastructure must be continued so that Brussels can become a real bicycle city. When (re)building roads, bicycle infrastructure must be provided that will be as safe as possible. Physical barriers in the city hamper the mobility of cyclists. The canal is a barrier of this kind. That is why I want to build five cycle bridges over the canal:

First-class public transport Brussels must invest in a big way in a public transport network that is more efficient and more comfortable and does not stop at the region’s borders. To realise the enormous growth potential in numbers of travellers, new tram and underground lines must be built. The existing lines must become more frequent and respond more flexibly to the real socioeconomic and cultural needs

To put a stop to fragmentation we must transfer authority from the 19 municipalities to the Brussels Region. one in Anderlecht, one in Molenbeek, one near Scaintelette, one at Van Praet and one in Heembeek. To traverse the steepest slopes more easily by bike I want to build bicycle lifts. Following the bicycle lift which has already been planned at the Kunstberg (and Coudenberg), I also have in mind the Kruidtuin and Hoogte 100 in Vorst. Many people in Brussels have no safe space at home to store their bikes. This is an important barrier for many. The government should therefore install secure bicycle lockers on a large scale. The first phase of the regional bicycle rental system has been launched with 200 stations and 2.500 bicycles. I want this system to be further expanded to 5.000 bicycles so that it will become an attractive alternative to the car everywhere in Brussels.

of the metropolis. Each tram line must be equipped with traffic light manipulation. Travel information on the entire MIVB/STIB network (Brussels Public Transport Authority) must be better and faster, with digital information panels which indicate the frequency in real time at every stop. Fare integration must be introduced so that users can buy one pass that will be valid for all transport companies. All young people in Brussels up to 25 must be able, without differentiation, to make use of public transport free of charge or at very low fares. This is, after all, the most direct and obvious way to familiarise young people with public transport from a very young age. I have launched the installation of access gates to make tube stations safe and to keep out fare dodgers. To combat the clogging up of the motorways in and around Brussels the NMBS/SNCF (National Railway Company of Belgium) must speed up the implementation of the Regional Express Network and accompanying measures.

The taxi as supplement to public transport The Brussels taxi sector must do more work on restoring trust, customer friendliness, the language skills of drivers and it must give more attention to the transport of persons with restricted mobility. I would also like to see more flexibility in terms of availability and service provision. Better integration with the traditional public transport is a must, such as the use of the mobib-card for payment. I am also in favour of adjusted tariffs during off-peak hours, a city tariff, a shopping tariff and an airport tariff. The night bus network Noctis must be further expanded and the shared taxi system Collecto must be better advertised.

A coordinated parking policy The regional parking agency will harmonise the 19 existing municipal parking regulations, making a coherent parking management system possible. The available parking places must be reserved for residents as much as possible. New public parking facilities also need to be built in the most densely populated neighbourhoods, preferably underground so that the space above ground can be reorganised for the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians. To avoid commuters driving into the city in search of parking space we want to build large transit car parks at GEN/RER stations outside the Brussels region and smaller Park & Ride car parks near tube stations on the boundary of the region. The positioning, planning phase, feasibility, financing and management of the car parks will be managed by the Regional Parking Agency. A number of zones

THE FIFTH CONFERENCE MOVE - Infrastructure & Spatial Planning

have already been identified around the Pentagon, such as the IJzer Square and the Rouppe Square. Illegal parking must be dealt with far more firmly and residential areas must become offlimits to large trucks.

Real time mobility info and increasing car pooling To help travellers move about quickly in Brussels and surroundings, the region must further expand the Mobiris centre. This has been made possible thanks to the installation of additional observation cameras, dynamic traffic signs for up-to-date dedicated traffic information, variable signage on driving lanes and remotely operated traffic lights. The car pool system Cambio has been a major success in Brussels and must be further expanded and liberalised. A one-way concept (such as the bicycle rental system) with 800 environmentally-friendly cars for 15.000 users will be feasible within a few years.

Dovetail mobility and environmental planning and improve governance When offices, businesses and houses are intermingled in a single area that is well serviced by public transport, one will be more inclined to leave oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s car in a car park. That is why I want to strengthen the link between mobility and environmental planning. The objective after all is to stimulate the diversity and density of neighbourhoods. The regional administration of Brussels must be brought under a still to be established umbrella transport community which must coordinate the projects of all the authorities and transport

companies that are active in the GEN/RER-zone. To put a stop to fragmentation we must transfer authority from the 19 municipalities to the Brussels Region. And to strengthen the impact of the infrastructure policy we must integrate the federal services of Beliris with the regional administration. To better equip the local police in carrying out a real enforcement policy (particularly in relation to illegal parking and speeding), I am in favour of merging the 6 police zones into a single Brussels zone under the leadership of the Brussels Minister President. Pascal SMET was previous Brussels Minister of Mobility and Public Works


Mobility policy demands undogmatic thinking

—Willy Miermans

The political debate about mobility following the regional elections in June 2009 can hardly be referred to as being of high quality. The parties have bent over backwards either to sharpen their knives to cut past policy to shreds, or have gone the populist route to try to make motorists happy. Fortunately there are exceptions. The Greens have tried to stimulate debate about the logistical future of Flanders. De Lijn has published an ambitious plan for the future. Its reasoning is multimodal and — at last — draws a distinction between levels of spatial scale and the types of travel patterns associated therewith. In this contribution I would like to plead in favour of abandoning a policy of continued trouble-shooting (read: more road infrastructure, parking facilities...) and putting effort into developing overall spatial-traffic concepts for the medium and long term. Back to basics.

Transport systems and spatial development go together.


Our historical cities are custom-built for the pedestrian. High density, great proximity and multi-functionality. The train has created opportunities for urban growth around the stations. The HST (high speed train) is now doing it again, but on a larger scale. The car has drastically changed this relationship between regional development and transport systems. An individual motorised means of transport, of course, provides enormous freedom. In this country we have translated this into spatial atomisation: we became a-topical, placeless. The car takes us to the bakery-round-the-corner, to Brussels and to Provence.

This development has been going on for 50 years. We have seen the vehicle fleet grow from 350.000 passenger cars in 1958 to more than 6 million in 2009. Naturally we are coming up against limitations. Networks do after all have capacity limitations. We never realised or never “wanted” to realise this. But the car is a prime example of the “Tragedy of the Commons”. Individual short-term advantage takes precedence over the public interest in the longer term. Congestion, danger, environmental quality, climate, ... everyone knows the facts and the reports. Must we decry the car? No, it remains an excellent machine for making journeys of a certain distance and/or at a time when public transport is not available. Or to a remote destination.

Also at a metropolitan district level we must dare to make that leap in terms of transport systems. If in Hasselt 50.000 cars drive on the Kempische Steenweg each day, then sooner or later this will become impossible to manage. The express tram (Spartacus) provides a good alternative for such a quantity. The Brussels-Brabant regional net in Flemish Brabant also represents an interwoven public transport network. Radial lines to Brussels, tangential lines between the cities of Brabant, linked to environmental development projects at the junctions. Leuven station is a good example of this. But also in Aalst, Halle, Mechelen... we see this trend. In professional literature this is called Transit-Oriented Design, or

A city centre becomes far more interesting if you make room for the pedestrian and the cyclist, linked to public transport networks. Locally-oriented travel concepts. For other transport flows we should—taking into account scale and mass—dare to take the plunge and opt for effective transport systems. Is this something new? No. Look abroad, look at Ghent. A city centre becomes far more interesting if you make room for the pedestrian and the cyclist, linked to public transport networks. Ghent chose to go that way and, as a city, is visibly improving. In Maastricht only 13% of all journeys by residents are made by car. The rest are on foot, by bicycle or by bus. An effective parking policy ensures that residents leave their car at home, but visitors find parking.

TOD. Make networks of lines and focus on concentrated development around the transport junctions. This concept has been around for decades in the countries around us. München, Copenhagen, Freiburg, Basel, Nantes, M o n t p e l l i e r, London Docklands…

Give these concepts more time. Does this solve everything at a stroke? Of course not. The existing environmental planning and behavioural patterns of people will play their part for some time. But, and this I hear too little in debates, in 10 to 20 years hundreds of thousands of people, families, organisations and businesses make choices of where to locate. If these are TOD-oriented, it will give you a different mobility landscape. The history of Basel, Zürich and Freiburg demonstrates that 30 years is peanuts in urban history. Even now we see young families thinking more critically about place of residence and relocation. Just wait another generation.


Honey and Vinegar: the infrastructure footprint. In this country we have been subsidising the Tragedy of the Commons for decades. Those who went to live in isolated areas were rewarded with cheap infrastructure: roads, sewage pipelines, cable, post, refuse collection. An equal price for an unequal social burden. But even worse. The subdividing and ribbon-building Fleming is rewarded with a lower rateable value. He is extremely space-extensive and infrastructure-extensive, but is rewarded under the guise of social â&#x20AC;&#x153;equalityâ&#x20AC;?. An unequal social footprint must be treated unequally, that goes without saying. Let the city centre resident benefit from his favourable footprint. He is efficient in terms of the use of

infrastructure, makes fewer journeys by car... A reversal of this treatment could bring about enormous planning and transport changes over a 30-year period. The property market will also respond to this, that much is certain. Example. A residential street of 100 meters provides space for 10 houses if I subdivide plots that are 20 meters wide. All the costs of road construction, utilities, services must be recovered from those 10. In a city I can get at least 24 dwellings per 100 meters because I can even build upwards. Calculate your profit. New? Once again: no. Look around you in the EU. This must be doable in the year 2009.

Willy Miermans is a mobility specialist at the University of Hasselt


11| Choices I

t makes possible everything we do daily. It expands our horizons. It enriches our lives, both personally and professionally. We may not have the ‘right’ to today’s mobility but it certainly has transformed the lives of the post-war generations. More than elsewhere in Europe, in Belgium mobility is also a source of our prosperity. Tally it all up—the ports, logistics, automotive, public transport—and we are talking about a major proportion of the country’s economy and associated jobs. Therefore, we ought to do it well; we ought to lead the world when it comes to moving things and people in an efficient, sustainable and intelligent manner. But the challenges are indisputable. The growth in our mobility is unsustainable in a business-as-usual scenario. Under this scenario to 20301, which assumes strong growth in hybrid/electric cars, CO2 emissions will keep growing in the decades ahead—this while we are being asked to commit to drastic reductions. Europe has committed to 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (this may increase to 30% if a global deal is reached this year in Copenhagen). And in preparation for the Copenhagen meeting, the G8 group of industrialised countries recently announced that they will commit to an 80% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2050. Clearly, efficiency measures alone will not do. Deep, structural change in the transport system is required. Inevitably, this will entail a much stronger commitment to an electrified transport system (rail, light-rail, electric cars), which in turn must rely on renewable sources (wind, solar, biomass) and, as is likely, nuclear power.


The second major challenge pertains to the limitations of our transport infrastructure. Our existing infrastructure cannot cope with the volume of traffic—both people and goods. Congestion is bad today. By 2030 it will be far worse. Mobility, in other words, is under threat. While in one sense this is a problem of volume (i.e. too much traffic), some experts argue that the overall design of our infrastructure is out of sync with 1) Federal Planning Bureau. Langetermijnvooruitzichten voor transport in België: referentiescenario. 24/04/2009.

today’s transport needs. It is not simply a matter of expanding capacity here and there, for example by adding extra lanes on existing motorways. Instead, structural change is required. Specifically, in people transport the major structural change is the growth in ‘interregional’ traffic, in particular the interregional commute. Similarly in goods traffic, the problem is that the sea ports are growing faster than the rate at which the transport network can drain those growing volumes of goods away to the hinterland. The solutions to these infrastructure problems exist. Some are beginning to be implemented but many exist only on paper. To address the interregional commute the public transport operators need to expand capacity (SNCB) and develop new lines (De Lijn, STIB) at breakneck speed. Also, some experts argue that new roads (interregional connections) need to be built, taking lessons from our Dutch neighbours. In goods transport the proposed solution is to ‘extend’ the gateways deeper into the hinterland, by pushing goods in bulk via rail and inland waterways to inland terminals—around which clusters of logistical activity will develop. In the longer term, a more radical approach will probably be needed, such as the development of tubular (underground) container transport. All the proposed solutions to our mobility challenges require (public) money and plenty of it. This is problematic given the budgetary constraints this country’s governments find themselves in. Therefore, at one level the mobility question is about the strategic choices we make as a society. More taxes (impossible!) or cuts elsewhere (never!). Some money is obviously available, partly within government budget and partly outside via public private partnership. Here the point is to deliver return on those investments. In logistics this is likely to be an increasingly contentious debate, given the increasingly vocal objections made by some of the country’s leading economists.


In the people movement the question of ROI is more philosophical. It is about protecting our ‘right’ to mobility. It is about letting the baby boomers enjoy a mobile retirement. It is about being able to combine so much more in any given day. It is, quite simply, about letting go of our proverbial ‘kerktoren’ (church spire). While the extended Gateway plan and the regional transport networks are solutions adapted to today’s traffic patterns, the longer term component of the solution is spatial planning. This is difficult work. We do not have the institutions and government set-up for it. Even culturally we do not seem to be amenable to disciplined spatial planning. The uniform housing development in the Netherlands is not for us. But like it or not we better start learning how. The lesson here is quite simple: concentrate development around multimodal transport hubs. Finally, we need to innovate. We need to innovate because we have to—mobility in this country is under threat. On the other hand, we should innovate because the opportunity is, quite simply, tremendous. Globally speaking, we are a transport ‘hotspot’—we should be showing the world what the future of transport is all about. Much is possible, but a good place to start would be to get our transport stakeholders talking and working together, properly, constructively, with ambition.


Sustainable mobility is a question of conviction and of solidarity

—Etienne Schouppe Of late I have been accused in various media of lacking in mobility vision. I am, for example, supposed to be preparing “socially unacceptable” measures. It is true that I have always resisted “free of charge” politics, but it is not because I am targeting certain policymakers. On the contrary, I simply do not believe that “free of charge” exists and as a Christian Democrat I support a more nuanced vision. After all, a sustainable transport sector can only be achieved when consumers, producers and public authorities appreciate the three dimensions of sustainability: the economic, the social and the ecological. The transport sector must therefore respond to transport needs in a cost-effective manner, guarantee sufficient reliability and safety to those needing transport (including those who are less mobile and financially less secure), and limit the negative impact on people and the natural environment (pollution, noise....). So much for the theory, now the practice: are these three dimensions sufficiently addressed in daily reality?

1. In the past few years the transport sector has followed the growth of the economy.


Road transport in particular has done well (because of its high flexibility). The causes are familiar: growth of economic activity, changes in the

organisation of work (the introduction of just-in-time systems or the splitting up of integrated production processes), globalisation, changes in lifestyle, et cetera. Reversing these developments is not an option, except at the cost of significant loss of prosperity for the population. We should, on the other hand, uncouple the growth of transport from the growth of prosperity, because without this uncoupling we shall be heading—literally—for a complete dead end in our small and densely populated country. The creation of new infrastructure can provide a solution, especially for eliminating the “missing links”. Even so, specialists point out that new infrastructure—especially if it is made available “free of charge”—will attract new transport demand and will therefore only provide a temporary answer. It seems more appropriate to use the existing infrastructure intelligently and to provide the necessary stimuli for using new technologies to this end.

sustainability into their conduct. And that, again, is a question of solidarity, within one’s own generation as well as with future generations. To achieve a fundamental change in policy I believe in a gradual approach and in the creation of public support. Nevertheless, research and experience has taught us that moral convictions and the provision of information alone are not enough to change behaviour. (Apart from that, no unfair competition should be allowed to arise between those who want this change in behaviour and those who don’t). The market mechanism must be placed in an institutional context, in which the government should demarcate the social and ecological parameters. In a mixed economy such as ours, however, the government as well as the private sector plays a role. All actors, private and public, must therefore bear in mind this longer term dimension of sustainability. The construction and maintenance of

My message is clear: the mobility question is too complex to be reduced to a purely “social” problem or to the umpteenth “free of charge” story. The transport flows naturally follow the laws of demand and supply: means of transport become more attractive to the extent that the costs of usage are lower than those of alternatives. The market attunes the individual decisions of buyers and sellers to one another: they are best placed to formulate their needs and wishes accurately. A sustainable transport sector, however, demands that every user or supplier of transport integrates the three dimensions of sustainability in his decision. That is obviously a question of conviction: users and suppliers of transport services must be convinced of the need to integrate

transport infrastructure must happen in a well thoughtout manner by tuning in to the expected transportation demand and to the initiatives from other regions and other countries. Projections of the expected transport flows must be coupled to the expected availability of transport infrastructure. There is an urgent need to link the macro-economic and sectoral growth projections, policy intentions, views about environmental planning and regional economies, etc, of the different regions, taking into account the specific location of Belgium and its function as the logistical pole in North-West Europe. In this way I hope to

promote integrated thinking about future mobility between all public authorities (federal, regional and municipal). In my opinion that is what the people want from politicians: that we do not confine ourselves to sterile discussions about competencies, but that each of us in our own place and with our own resources must accept responsibility and through cooperation provide an answer to the challenges of tomorrow.

2. The social dimension of sustainable mobility demands reliability and safety for all transport users. Successive federal officials responsible for mobility have set themselves the objective of reducing the number of traffic fatalities in Belgium by half to a maximum of 750 per year by 2010. The recent traffic safety barometers already show a positive development: the number of traffic fatalities continues to decline, but it of course remains to be seen if these trends will continue. Considering the limited time that is available for achieving the objective, the federal government will need to step up efforts in the area of sensitisation and enforcement for the years 2009 and 2010.

3. Transport has given rise to all sorts of taxation over the years, but the current tax system deserves critical reflection. Also in this domain I consider the time ripe to develop a vision for our country. There is a need for a global mechanism of price formation for the transport infrastructure to replace the existing forms of taxation on transport. As a starting point one can take best practices in other countries while taking into account the complex structure of Belgium. Such a large-scale restructuring of government revenue streams requires thorough research, not only into the effects on transport flows themselves, but also

into the budgetary impact, the repercussions for competitiveness and income distribution. Price formation is a powerful instrument for steering the behaviour of families and companies. This can be supplemented with instruments such as legislation and subsidising of transport behaviour that is environmentally friendly. With a policy mix one achieves more than with excessive emphasis on a single (“free of charge”) policy instrument and public support will be wider. Besides, government itself is a significant initiator of transport demand and can set a good example. In 2009 I will develop a number of initiatives within my own departments: a company transport plan, work from home for certain activities, acquiring more environmentally friendly company vehicles, etc. This combination of ideas about the mobility issue may not look spectacular. It is the old Christian Democratic story of “on the one hand, on the other hand”. Yet my message is clear: the mobility question is too complex to be reduced to a purely “social” problem or to the umpteenth “free of charge” story. For the solution of complex problems I believe in a gradual approach: sustainable mobility is a question of conviction and of solidarity. The solution lies in developing a vision and in accepting responsibilities, not in discussions about competencies between policy levels. Lengthy and sometimes difficult balancing acts will be necessary between the economic, social and ecological dimensions of sustainability. I believe, however, that this approach will produce results, perhaps not by the next election, but certainly for future generations ... Etienne Schouppe (CD&V) is State Secretary for Mobility in the federal government of Belgium


Unlock the potential of data

—Koen Valgaeren As a result of the increasing traffic of persons and goods the importance of adapted transport solutions will intensify in the coming years. The complexity and diversity of our socio-economic activities demand flexible and sustainable mobility provisions. Here I think in the first place about innovative concepts which are based on behaviour change. This could consist of choosing different routes, times or means of transport, or a combination of all these. Almost every day new perspectives and possibilities open up thanks to the development of technology. But the valorisation of mobility data, in particular, provides enormous opportunities for the quality and the success of new initiatives in the field of sustainable mobility. These are typically grafted onto specific mobility information and will in turn lead to new insights, products and services.

Sustainable mobility has in the meantime become a much used concept, entailing the desire to move ourselves as well as our goods as efficiently as possible without damaging our living environment. To this end businesses, knowledge centres and public authorities must work together in search of innovative solutions in which behaviour change and sustainability play an important role. But probably the greatest opportunity for innovation today lies in the mountain of data and information that all stakeholders are collecting—all independently of each other.

measurements by other parties. The benefit of an integral approach to mobility data is promising. Imagine the specific knowledge which could thereby be created. Or the advantages of standardisation and quality labelling through which synergies can be revealed and blind spots in the data landscape can be localised. All this forms an unmistakable source of inspiration for innovation and associated developments. Quality information undeniably leads to new insights whereby stakeholders can

But probably the greatest opportunity for innovation today lies in the mountain of data and information that all stakeholders are collecting − all independently of each other.

Mobility data is collected and managed for various purposes and in numerous technological contexts. It is therefore not always that easy to ascertain if certain data does exist and to what extent this is current. One is often looking for a compromise between available time and resources on the one hand and desired outcomes on the other. To this should be added that data is stored in a fragmented manner, which leads to once-off use or to the repetition of similar

enrich each other. Completed mobility projects by definition provide a wealth of new data which—in turn—produce additional knowledge. Businesses can further expand their economic activities with this and for the policymaker, too, interesting opportunities are created. Policymakers regularly conduct research into the expected outcomes of new policy measures. Information about mobility behaviour is essential for this.

Notwithstanding all sorts of valuable initiatives and technological developments, a lot still remains to be done. A positive aspect in any event is the growing awareness among all stakeholders of the need for an integral approach, especially in relation to reliability, the level of detail and the keeping up to date of mobility data. Other challenges are privacy, technology, business models and control. Which data will be available in which form and for which purposes? How do we make government data available to industry and vice versa? In which ways will new data be integrated? In the light of such questions it is definitely on the agenda for Flanders to scrutinise its existing systems and needs and chart the way towards a win-win situation. Broad stakeholder support for integral mobility management already exists. Now it is time for good projects to be implemented and results to be valorised into economic activities and social services. With quality data as the key trigger.

Koen Valgaeren is managing director of VIM, the Flanders institute for sustainable mobility


The fifth conference

• tackles the big issues, the factors that drive our economic future. The journal is read by trailblazers: entrepreneurs, policy makers, scientists, activists, students and individuals hungry for the deeper pictures, people who want to make a difference. • is inspired by the Fifth Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons held in Brussels in October 1927, where the world’s leading physicists debated the newly formulate quantum theory. It was a conference that brought together great ideas and the people behind those ideas. • is a unique media concept, borrowing elements of a conference, a business journal and a quality magazine. Its mission is to get people thinking, to spark new ideas and to stimulate connections across disciplines.

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Credits Illustrations p9, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, 44, 63, 67, 69, 74, 77, 79, 81, 85, 87, 93, 97, 105, 113, 123, 125 by Afreux Photography Cover: © Andrew Beierle, Philipp Von Sahr, p80: © Rabobank, p100: © Len-k-a, © Retrograffica CFE, p114: © Philippe van Gelooven Typography Cover title font: Gravur-Condensed light & black All other typography from the Fresco family

The Fifth Conference - MOVE  

The future of mobility in Belgium

The Fifth Conference - MOVE  

The future of mobility in Belgium