Walking and cycling are up among Brussels residents and car use is down over the last 10 years, a new survey by Brussels Mobility shows. 4,600 people between the ages of 18 and 79 were asked how often they used various modes of transport on a daily basis.
Brussels residents cover a combined distance of 25 million kilometres every day, with the average journey coming in at 3.3 km (less than half the average in the rest of the country).
Reasons people gave for journeys included “going home” (38.8%) and “shopping” (15.2%). Only 10.5% of journeys were classed as “commuting” – a drop of 3.5% since 2021, thought to be influenced by Covid-19’s impact on home working patterns and habits.
1. Walking and public transport
Walking has become the most popular form of transport, now taking a 36% slice of all journeys made in the capital (compared to 32% in 2010 for a main method of travel on an average day).
Use of public transport has fallen from 24% to 22%, although train travel remained the same (at 2%). The data indicates people tend to choose the train when their journey is over 25km. Four out of ten people (39%) report taking the train just a few times a year, but for a quarter of younger people, rail is a weekly form of transport.
Just 46% of households now own a car, and car use has diminished from 38% to 27%. However, half of those trips are less than or equal to 5km. People are still choosing to drive cars on these short journeys despite cycling groups Pro Vélo and the Gracq pointing out that taking a bike is quicker.
3. Cycling is a growth area
With 40km of cycle paths installed in the capital during the pandemic, as well as a boom in sales of electric bikes and family carriers, cycling has tripled from 3% to 9% of journeys, according to research carried out between autumn 2021 and 2022, on a sample of 2,685 people.
What’s more, there’s plenty of room for more growth in the two-wheeled market. 20% of the capital’s non-cyclists are looking to get on a bike, while a third of existing cyclists wish to increase their bike use in the next year.
In interesting news relating to the so-called ‘disrupters’ of the mobility market, only 1% of journeys were made by electric scooter and less than 1% of trips were carried out in a lorry, motorbike or taxi. Additionally, 14% of non-electric bicycle users said they were considering switching to electric bikes.