Eindhoven Northwest

2024: the harvest year for Eindhoven Northwest?

Published on March 13, 2024

How do you accelerate the mobility transition? By pioneering collaboration! Our mobility broker Wouter de Valk concluded the first Accessibility Deal in the Brainport region in 2022. Wouter talks about the process, the results and plans of the Eindhoven Northwest Accessibility Deal.

Even before the Brainport Accessible program started, Wouter de Valk was already working on the first Accessibility Deal. 'It was part of the A2-N2 ring road project of the Municipality of Eindhoven. In addition to the infrastructural tasks, a behavioral change and mobility transition project was also underway. I picked that up.'

Everything was open

The assignment for Wouter was clear. 'Collaboration with employers is indispensable for effective changes. That was the assignment: gather 15 employers who want to cooperate with us. There have already been discussions with umbrella business associations and larger employers such as International School Eindhoven, GGzE, KMWE, Summa College, Eindhoven Airport and many others. But everything was still open before the deal. It is my job to get employers on board. Not much later it fell under the Brainport Bereikbaar program.'

Awareness and research

Participation starts with awareness, says Wouter. 'Realizing behavioral change is a major challenge for employers: it takes time and energy. Then there must at least be a good reason to do so. So I started by finding out the urgency among companies. With qualitative research in the form of individual conversations. What does mobility mean to you? What is bothering you? How does that affect your productivity? I combined this with our quantitative insights Brainport Accessibility Scan. We used this to measure the routes for congestion and we were able to assess bottlenecks (dangerous intersection) or development plans (hub location/business lines).'

Labor market shortage as a stimulus

The conversations showed that there were many things going on with the employers. 'Also things that we were barely aware of. The labor market shortage was and is acute and is certainly related to accessibility without your own transport. Northwest is well connected by public transport to the center of Eindhoven, but not to the hinterland to the north and west. This meant that employers missed out on some potential employees, which hindered their growth. That surprised me. It is something we have been working on since then and something I also include in conversations to get other employers involved. Other points of interest that emerged from the studies are traffic jams, bicycle traffic safety, public transport connections, parking pressure, social safety and truck parking.'

On the way to trust

The efforts led to 30 signatures on the first Accessibility Goal. 'With the deal, the leading signatories confirmed that they wanted to work together on the accessibility of the area. This collaboration started soon afterwards with three working groups: car accessibility, bicycle and public transport. Many more employers have now joined. Together we have already achieved a lot. Sometimes elaborating on what was already planned. Such as the Green Corridor fast cycle route and hubs, where we have focused on encouraging their use. But also new things such as BusinessLines: joint collective transport. The first will run this year, including for Eindhoven Airport. Hopefully that will give you the confidence to also set up other lines.'

Discover what is profitable

Brainport Bereikbaar supports all initiatives in various ways. 'We ensure that companies dare to think about solutions that they would not think about alone. But we also help in concrete terms. For example, by covering the initial operating costs. This way, organizations can discover what solutions yield and whether they are profitable. Only that leads to them taking matters into their own hands. I see that happening now too. As a result, we can now also contribute to several internal strategic plans and the preparation for their implementation. For example, in orientation on sustainability and sustainable mobility, such as with GGzE. Or due to expansion and accessibility challenges, such as at ISE and ThermoFisher Scientific.

Advice and support

Wouter mentions even more great examples of employer initiatives that Brainport Bereikbaar fits in with. 'We also work together with Eindhoven Airport on what they call 'Landside Accessibility'. Including the ambitious sustainability plans they develop and the collaboration with their partners in the area. In the Goods Distribution Center (GDC) we explore practical solutions with employers and contribute to the preparations for a BIZ (Business Investment Zone). Finally, we are discussing mobility during the development of the new BIC2 work location

Catalyst with concrete solutions

Although he is very satisfied with the progress, Wouter would have liked to see more results on the street. 'I'm just a bit impatient. But I also know that this method provided the necessary transparency and process formation needed to spread this approach more widely. This has been successful and there are now several successful accessibility deals. And there too we see that employers embrace the initiative, strengthen it and give it a new direction. That's how it should be. We are the catalyst to get these types of measures started. My colleagues who specialize in products and services provide the solutions. And then it is up to the employers to make it a success together. 2024 will be the harvest year for Eindhoven-Northwest. And I'm looking forward to that!'

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