Mobility strategy (SUMP) for five Flemish transport regions



In 2018, the Flemish government decided that city councils can decide for themselves how they organise 'their' mobility. Because mobility transcends municipal boundaries, the Flemish government divided cities and municipalities into 15 transport regions. Transport regions are clusters of municipalities in which mobility is coordinated. During the period 2019-2023, Goudappel, as part of a consortium, was commissioned by the Flemish Department of Mobility and Public Works to draft regional mobility plans, also known as SUMPs. A regional mobility plan sets out the longer-term mobility vision for the transport region for all different modes of transport, in line with the SUMP guidelines.

Elaborate and complex  

Danny Walraven, project manager at Goudappel, says: "The Goudappel, Sweco Belgium and The New Drive consortium previously worked on a regional mobility plan for the Antwerp transport region. Our consortium has won five new contracts in 2019 for the Limburg, Mechelen, Ghent, Vlaamse Rand and Kortrijk transport regions. We took the lead in drafting SUMPs for some of the most extensive and complex transport regions in Flanders. Not only technically, but also procedurally, these are complex routes." Ultimately, the consortium contributed to the mobility strategy for 155 of Flanders' 300 cities in which improving mobility was a key priority.


The Flemish transport regions

Five transport regions, five mobility plans 

The mobility plans identify the main mobility challenges in the region, provide a detailed blueprint of the public transport network and propose measures to improve traffic flows, road safety and cycling policies

The Ghent Transport Region is a complex region with a strong urban network, many rural municipalities and a thriving port. Despite this diversity, there are a number of common challenges in terms of mobility and space.

Pascale Willems, responsible for the mobility plans of Ghent and Kortrijk on behalf of Goudappel: " Through smart use of space, the Ghent transport region wants to stimulate sustainable mobility. A well-considered locational policy for housing, shops, businesses and other functions is therefore crucial. In doing so, we as a region are fully committed to cycling and public transport as the strong backbone of the entire region."

With 42 cities and municipalities, the Transport Region of Limburg is the largest transport region in Flanders. The lack of major cities, the vastness of the province, the large rural area and especially the sub-optimal access to public transport have led to the car still being dominant.

Daphne de Jong has worked intensively on the mobility plan for the Transport Region Limburg: ''Together with the consortium and key stakeholders, we have created a package of measures that will keep the Transport Region Limburg accessible, safe, liveable, sustainable and healthy - now and in the long run. Limburg is already known as the cycling region of Flanders but mainly on a recreational level. A fully-fledged (express) cycle road network is needed to make the switch to utilitarian cycling as well."

Vervoerregio Limburg doelen

Mobility goals of the Transport Region of Limburg

The Vlaamse Rand transport region is spatially a diverse area with an urbanised area around the Brussels Capital Region and a more rural area outside it. The 'Zaventem airport' zone is an important (transport) attraction point for Flanders and is central to the Vlaamse Rand.  In terms of mobility, the connection with Brussels, the impact of the Ring and the connecting main roads are crucial. Those main roads and their connecting nodes generate strong pressure on accessibility and liveability in the Transport Region Vlaamse Rand.

''The phased working method of measures within the framework 'Vervoer op Maat' has worked very structurally throughout the process. This led to a pleasant cooperation with clear expectations'' says Rianne Roeleveld, who worked intensively on the mobility plan for the Vlaamse Rand Transport Region on behalf of Goudappel. 

The Mechelen Transport Region is largely east-west oriented, while it is intersected by north-south oriented traffic infrastructures (railway, canal, highways) between Brussels and Antwerp. Nevertheless, in addition to these major centres of attraction, there is a large internal travel orientation to Mechelen and numerous other cores. The regional mobility plan concretised the long-term ambition in consultation with municipalities, transport operators and national authorities.

"The municipalities in the Mechelen transport region have long been cooperating in various policy areas, including mobility. A few years ago, Goudappel and The New Drive already supervised the pilot project 'Basic Accessibility' for the region, where we as Goudappel already introduced the so-called 'transportation magnets'. We have now successfully deployed that methodology in the other five transport regions as well" says Arthur Scheltes, responsible for the mobility plan for the Mechelen Transport Region on behalf of Goudappel.

The Kortrijk Transport Region is located in one of the most densely populated areas in Europe, with strong economic activity. This high density results in a large number of movements in a small area, of both people and goods. The density of the Kortrijk transport region ensures a substantial supply of interregional mobility infrastructure.

As a result, space in the Kortrijk transport region needs to be organised in a smarter way. By linking developments to public transport hubs and stimulating cycling, journeys become more efficient and sustainable mobility can be given a more prominent role. In addition, there are plans to reduce unnecessary paving.

Overzichtkaart vervoerregio Vlaamse Rand

Overview of the transport region Vlaamse Rand

Public transport plans 

The implementation of basic accessibility in Flanders includes the implementation of a new public transport plan. This involves adapting the existing network of bus and tram lines in Flanders to meet changing transport demand. This implies quite a change for travellers, including changed routes, frequencies and line numbers. There is also an explicit focus on better facilitation of pre- and post-transport, where necessary also supported by customised transport in the form of flex transport and shared mobility.

Erik Oerlemans, public transport consultant at Goudappel: "The elaboration and implementation of the new Public Transport Plan was prepared by De Lijn. They carefully followed a Flemish-wide methodology to forecast transport demand and then provide it with suitable connections. Within the Transport Regions in which our consortium was involved, we facilitated both procedural and substantive dialogue on the new transport plan between De Lijn, transport region and municipalities. In this way, the shape of the Transport Plan to be rolled out within Flanders was reached iteratively." The public transport plans are part of the integrated regional mobility plans. 

Co-creation and participation 

When drawing up the regional mobility plans, much attention was paid to creating the  acceptance, one of the important guidelines a SUMP must meet. After all, it is the ambition of the Transport Region Council to evolve into a sustainable region, where pedestrians, trappers and public transport are much more prominent.

This transition can only succeed with the help of all stakeholders. So civil society organisations and individual citizens also play an important role in this. This is why the planning process paid a lot of attention to participation. We have organised theme days, transport region days, inspiration sessions and mobility cafes. Continuous coordination was also organised within and between the consortium.

Client: Flemish Department of Mobility and Public Works  
Year: 2019-2023

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