Future of Mobility
Belgium has a history of mobility issues. Factors such as the prevalence of company cars, unattractive alternatives and ill-conceived highways have long been blamed for the problem.
Deloitte’s Global City Mobility Index, a comprehensive review that assesses major cities on key aspects of mobility and readiness for future mobility solutions, revealed that while Brussels has a well-developed public transit network, insuﬃcient coverage in some areas of the city leads to high use of cars, increased traﬃc congestion and reduced air quality. A lack of coordination and shared ticketing between STIB, SNCB, De Lijn and TEC has hindered progress to solve transportation problems and accelerated the adoption of other mobility solutions.
Overall, these issues mean citizens walk less than their European counterparts and spend 41 hours per year in traffic. However, Brussels has already taken steps to try to reduce its air pollution by banning old diesel cars from the city centre.
A global challenge
In light of urbanisation, the need to limit CO2 emissions, and other initiatives to preserve our planet, smart urban mobility is not an issue that is limited to Belgium, it is a global challenge.
As cities grow and expand and housing costs rise, many young families have little choice but to move to the suburbs and commute into the city for work. Too often, it becomes clear that the only viable commuting option is driving; public transportation can be too complex and time-consuming. But driving private cars adds to congestion, pollution, and parking challenges, not to mention the financial burden it places on families. City governments would do well to work together with their surrounding regions to fix this issue, and to do so quickly.
In our index, the leading innovations include smart parking and ticketing, integrated payments, intelligent transit systems, and electric vehicle infrastructure. For any of these efforts to succeed, they often need to be offered across commuting corridors and inter-agency (regulatory body) coordination and cooperation are required.
Solutions for success
The success of leading future of mobility cities tends to stem from integration and innovation rather than sheer investment. Leaders need to identify what the “right” kind of spending is—typically, those that integrate systems or introduce technological improvements. These will produce better returns over time. While adding more service or building more roads can be helpful, developing better-integrated strategies with greater involvement from the private sector often yields better results.
“Given the prevalence of company cars, changing public behaviour will be a challenge," says Deloitte partner Sam Sluismans, responsible for Innovation services. "In addition, with 19 municipal authorities, Belgium’s complex governmental and institutional framework hinders the development of a coherent strategy. Vision and leadership are needed to reach the level of cities with the world’s best mobility systems. It’s encouraging to see increasing alignment among stakeholders in Brussels on the need for change in mobility, with a number of forward-thinking initiatives across public- and private-sector players.”
Read the full Deloitte City Mobility Index report on Deloitte Insights.