Increase supply vs. reduce demand
The main reasons for our mobility problem are not far-fetched. It starts with ourselves. There are simply so much more of us, the population continues to increase dramatically just about everywhere. In addition, we see the car as an easy mobility choice. Many people can afford one (or two) and it is simply what we are used to. Going to work, visiting family or an evening at the cinema? We do it by car.
The result: the roads are congested. Increasing the capacity of our urban planning is not a good idea, because it is immediately filled with more traffic. So what does work? Making the alternatives more attractive, and thus reducing the demand for car infrastructure. For slightly longer journeys, public transport is the answer.
How we support cities - big and small - in their ambitions
Whatever plans cities may have for sustainable mobility, chances are we can be a valuable partner. Of course, that is easy for us to say. So, to prove our point, here are some projects that we executed in 2021:
In Brussels, a new metro line should somewhat relieve the busiest traffic arteries. The north-south line will take travellers from one end of the city to the other in only 20 minutes. The missing links were an 800-metre-long tunnel and the new Toots Thielemans metro station. For this, we had to carry out extremely complex works under existing buildings. To illustrate this: at certain locations we had to freeze the groundwater so as to be able to continue working. But yet again, we made the impossible possible.
Better integration with other means of transport
Travelling by train is a good start, but you also have to get (from) there easily. The option chosen by Kortrijk was a bus and bicycle tunnel weighing over 1,500 tonnes in the station area. This will allow public buses and cyclists to take a shortcut from the south side to the centre of the station. We pushed the entire tunnel (35 metres) into place during an operation that lasted about eight hours, which meant that train traffic was only stopped for a short time. We then connected the tunnel to a new underground car park. With this project, Kortrijk underlines its sustainability ambitions.
Better parking facilities
As from 2021, cyclists and car drivers can park their vehicles in the new car park building at the railway station in Aalst. The car park provides space for 700 bicycles and 900 cars – a blessing for the more than 35,000 train passengers every week. Important: this renovation is part of the overall strategic project 'De Kaaien'. Plans for further upgrading the vacant site of the former commuter car park are being prepared. The objective: reconverting a site that has been underused for years into an active part of the urban fabric.
Better locations for workplaces
In Mechelen, PSR is converting the former Inofer site, located at the railway station and the Leuven-Dijle canal, into an area with 4,000 m² of living space and 19,000 m² of new and renovated offices. The industrial look of the site will be retained, while we ensure that the new district will have a succession of walking and cycling paths, vertical and horizontal green areas, green roofs and numerous cosy little squares. As a result of this project, the Mechelen station district will be close to these new workplaces, which creates options for sustainable mobility.
Our employees also opt for sustainable mobility!
Jan De Nul does not only help to make sustainable mobility possible. It is also our ambition to organise our own mobility flows as sustainably as possible. In our offices in Aalst, 215 employees are leasing a bicycle. And since September 2021, we offer fully electric company cars. Also for site vehicles, we are looking at more sustainable options, such as hybrid cars. "In one year, we ordered 105 fully electric verhicles, accounting for about 10% of our fleet", explains Fleet Manager Christof De Waele. Meanwhile, we provide sufficient charging points on our premises to enable efficient commuting. And on our sites, we will soon start using electric charging containers with solar panels.