'Always focus on behavioral change'

Published on December 12, 2023

Farewell Paul Veelenturf

From nothing to something. From an assignment to a solid team and results on the street. To build. That's what our program manager Paul Veelenturf prefers to do. Together with Iwan Arts, he started the job that became Brainport Accessible 3 years ago. Iwan continues, Paul retires. In this article he looks back and gives some final advice.

Originally a landscape ecologist, Paul moved into the mobility field at the province of North Brabant. He devised the Maastricht Bereikbaar program in 2008 and later set it up in Arnhem-Nijmegen. In 2021, he was asked by the program council of SmartwayZ.NL and the 21 municipalities involved for Brainport Bereikbaar. He tackled it with enthusiasm: 'There is nothing I enjoy more than building something, together with others. And especially if it leads to tangible results. With a well-functioning mobility program you can achieve results on the street. That gives me energy.'

DJ of the policy

Important conditions are clear goals, a good structure and the right people, Paul explains. 'With Iwan I first formulated clear objectives, ambitions and measurable goals for the program. We then built the program structure and, where necessary, looked for additional project leaders who can and want to make something happen. Together we managed to put together a great team.' Then it was important to get all stakeholders involved. 'Large employers, knowledge institutes, municipalities: you can't do without them. A lot of time has been spent building a network and increasing awareness about the need to avoid, spread out and drive together. Only then could we start rolling out projects properly.'

Make choices

A number of projects have now been completed and a lot of results could be seen on the streets, especially in the last year of the program. But not all goals have been achieved. 'We have achieved enough to demonstrate that 3 years is not enough to achieve all goals. Also because growth and therefore the crowds in the Brainport region continue. It is therefore very nice that this fantastic program can continue. Now is the time to make choices: what do you continue, what do you stop, what do you introduce new?'

The beautiful things in life

Paul is consciously no longer involved in those decisions. 'I think it's wonderful that this program is also continuing. But I am 68 years old and there are so many more beautiful things in life. I started beekeeping, enjoy working in the garden and travel a lot with my wife. I am active in politics, play a lot of sports, am committed to society and we enjoy our granddaughter. Oh and I'm going to write a book about the history of the place where I live.'


Before that happens, Paul hands over his work at a natural moment to Iwan and the new program manager Isabelle Prohn. 'And I do that with confidence and with pride in what we have already achieved. Riding on projects like F'kes and the cycling and behavioral campaigns, for example. But also how we have managed to get employers moving or help them with their issues. The latter is where we need to go: that organizations and people themselves have the intrinsic motivation to change and that Brainport Bereikbaar helps with this. Exactly as it happened at PSV Direct.'

Stay convinced of the opportunities

That change in behavior is what it's all about, according to Paul. 'Managers are still looking a lot at infrastructural solutions. But the effect of behavioral change is structurally greater and 10 times cheaper. That is precisely why Brainport Accessible is so important. So what else do I want to say? Remains convinced of the opportunities for behavioral change. This provides the passion needed to achieve something great together. I hope that administrators will see this much more and that all municipalities and companies will work hard on this. Then the region will get the mobility transition it deserves. And that is what this Brainport Bereikbaar implementation program deserves.'

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