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A New Deal for Mobility in Belgium

Deloitte report outlines future scenarios and recommendations for the future of mobility.

Brussels, Belgium – 2 May 2019

A Deloitte study on Belgian mobility shows that Belgians spend the most time in traffic out of all Europeans, after the United Kingdom, with an average of more than one working week spent in congestion per year (European Commission, 2017). Despite the traffic jams, the car remains Belgian’s preferred mode of transport: 61 percent of journeys and 74 percent of the kilometres travelled are done by car (FPS Mobility & Transport, 2019). Deloitte therefore argues for a New Deal for Mobility.

Sam Sluismans, partner Strategy & Innovation at Deloitte Belgium: “The high level of car use in Belgium is not surprising: Belgians consider the car as the most reliable, safest and easiest means of transport, according to Deloitte's Global Automotive Consumer Survey 2019. Furthermore, 43 percent of Belgians think that the most important aspect of mobility is to arrive at their destination as quickly as possible. Cost (20 percent) and safety (18 percent) are considered less important.”

What do the future scenarios for the Future of Mobility look like?

The first of five major trends that Deloitte indicates will change the Belgian mobility landscape in the coming years is the shift from a car-centric to user-centric mentality. Already today, Deloitte finds that one out of three people who use ride hailing services like Uber question whether they need to own a vehicle.

The shift from personally owned to shared transport, the report finds, expects that 31 percent of people kilometres in Belgium will be shared by 2030. The country is also showing signs of moving from cars and public transportation being the default modes of transport, with one in five Belgians already choosing multimodal travel at least once a week.

The shift from physical to digital will result in 40 percent of the population being the ‘digital natives’ and 100 percent of vehicles being connected by 2030; digital technologies are transforming the way that people plan, book, and pay for their travel.

Deloitte anticipates a trend of moving away from diesel and petrol to greener electric vehicles and expects that nearly 20 percent of all passenger cars in Belgium will be electric in 2030.

What must Belgium do to steer the future scenarios in the right direction?

Deloitte’s New Deal for Mobility states that important infrastructural changes are necessary to secure the Future of Mobility in Belgium:

  • To tackle traffic congestion, investment should initially focus on metropolitan areas: Vlaamse Ruit (Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven, Brussels) and the Walloon axis (Charleroi, Namur, Liège).
  • Creating physical mobility hubs will help increase the use of alternative mobility by 130 percent.
  • Developing an attractive multimodal hub network around Brussels will take 20,000 cars off the road in and around the capital. 10% fewer cars on the roads would mean a 40% reduction in traffic jams.  

The report also calls for a thorough rethinking of the mobility tax package from both an income and expenses perpective to make a significant impact.

  • A mobility budget for every citizen: a sustainable mobility budget gives no fewer than 5.5 million Belgians the opportunity to use alternative mobility, while the current mobility budget can only be used for employees with a salary car, which is less than 500,000 people.
  • 8 percent of all cars are salary cars and are responsible for 16 percent of all vehicle kilometers. Chirstian Combes, Deloitte Belgium Technology Eminence Leader: “The number of kilometers can be limited by introducing the ‘responsible mileage’ principle: the number of kilometres driven by 0.5 million company cars can be reduced by 10 percent by making owners responsible for their car use. The taxable benefit must also take fuel consumption into account in the future.”
  • The greening of the fleet is being accelerated by tax incentives. At the same time, investments are needed to make the necessary energy available. Combes continues, “We expect that the number of electric cars will increase to 1.2 million vehicles, or 20 percent of the vehicle fleet, by 2030. This naturally poses major challenges for providing the necessary energy during peak times."

Mobility Scorecard: where are we today?

Alongside the report, Deloitte introduced the Mobility Scorecard, which makes it possible to follow the results of the mobility policy in Belgium year after year.

Currently, 74 percent of kilometres are done by car, while only 5 percent are travelled by bike. Belgians spend 39 hours in congestion per year, and our total emissions are 26,390 ktons of CO2-equivalent

This year’s scorecard indicates also that consumers are adopting new mobility habits, with 14 percent frequently using alternatives to cars. There are eight multimodal hubs in Flanders and five in Wallonia; however, less than one percent of the vehicles in Belgium are battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV).

Sam Sluismans: “CEOs, governments, mobility providers, and the public all need to get involved to reduce congestion, as well as both air and noise pollution. By increasing the attractiveness of alternatives, changing our mobility behaviour, and choosing to drive green, we can all make an impact.”


Objective & background of the Future of Mobility study:

It is a neutral and objective study, based on open data, external studies and Deloitte’s Future of Mobility material & methods, presented during the Future of Mobility conference – A New Deal for Belgium for policy makers, CEO’s, sector federations and other decision makers. The scorecard is the baseline of a yearly follow-up of the Belgian mobility policy.

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