Smart and innovative

Data: indispensable input for the mobility transition

Published on May 7, 2024

For how many drivers in the Brainport region can the bicycle be an excellent alternative? Will they be persuaded by new fast cycle paths or by behavioral campaigns? And how do you see that? Reliable data provides insight into and control over the mobility transition. The Mobility Transition Knowledge Lab analyzed our policy ambitions and recently discovered quite a few trends and figures. Curious to what extent our policy contributes to a sustainable transition? Read on quick. 

In the Brainport region, almost half of all journeys are made by car. And that is relatively high! Moreover, more than half of all car journeys are shorter than 7.5 kilometers. This means that more than 60% of these car users have the option to switch to bicycle in terms of travel time. It's just some of the data that it Mobility Transition Knowledge Lab presented on Thursday April 25. You can see the presentation here. We ask Paul van de Coevering, lecturer at BUas International Built Environment and Project Leader Koen van Neerven at Brainport Bereikbaar why this data is so important.

Too often decisions are made based on gut feeling

'Brainport Bereikbaar, Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and SmartwayZ.NL work together in the Mobility Transition Knowledge Lab. We investigate the policy ambitions and trends in the areas of car use, multimodality, and the use of the (e-)bike in this region," says Koen. 'We strengthen each other based on our different backgrounds. Science provides the multi-year research, BUas the research into practice, and Brainport Bereikbaar the application of the knowledge in the here and now.' Paul adds: 'BUas is a major trainer and a knowledge institute that stands for practice-oriented research. This makes us a bridge builder between science and policy practice. We know that there is still much to be gained in this regard. Decisions are often still made based on gut feeling. Certainly also in the mobility transition. The opportunities lie in looking more systematically at where potential lies and what the effects are of actions we take. That is what we focus on with the Knowledge Lab.'

From numbers to solutions

Paul mentions the bicycle as an example.' 'For example, our research shows how great the potential of the bicycle is within the mobility transition,' says Paul. 'Of current car users, based on a maximum cycling time of 25 minutes, approximately 60% can take the bike. There is enormous potential there that is greater than the potential of investments in new cycling infrastructure. Analyzes show that the benefit mainly lies in behavioral change. The construction of attractive cycling infrastructure can support this. So we have to persuade people to cycle more.' Koen: 'Our joint input can really be an eye-opener because we really work towards targeted applications and solutions based on the scientific figures. The Knowledge Lab gives drivers insight into trends in mobility behavior in the region and shows where potential lies. This way they can better determine which investments make sense. An example is the positive trend we see in bicycle use over medium distances. This has been stimulated by, among other things, the rise of the e-bike.'

Substantiating decisions

This means that directors can also substantiate their decisions with figures. Paul: 'A new public transport line or new cycle path is of course a very tangible result. More people on bicycles get much less. Unless you show reliable figures. This also applies to companies that encourage their employees to cycle more. Fortunately, we are becoming increasingly data-driven and are increasingly able to keep track of what is happening in the region. We now have a good baseline measurement from open source data such as the annual travel survey and bicycle counts. We want to combine even more data sources in the next Knowledge Lab.' Koen: 'Brainport Bereikbaar can also play a role in this by offering living labs where projects are tried out in practice and the effects are measured.'

Towards a knowledge agenda

Paul and Koen therefore hope for a follow-up to the Knowledge Lab. 'There is a real need and need for more (region-specific) data to be able to put together really effective measures for the mobility transition. It would be great if the next Knowledge Lab resulted in even more regional cooperation between governments, educational institutions and private parties. Paul: 'In the current Knowledge Lab we mainly look at what we can contribute from our knowledge to improving policy implementation in practice. What we want to do more of is to tailor the research to issues that organizations encounter in practice when they shape their mobility policy. Developing a knowledge agenda based on this makes research even more useful and effective.'

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