Sustainable solutions for Antwerp's mobility challenges
Solving the mobility problem in Antwerp is like tackling a hydra: cut off one head, and two grow back. Only, this hydra is so complex that it has hundreds of heads, each of them just as difficult to deal with as the next. While the government has known for some time that a mobility crisis is looming, fixing the problem involves dealing with things on such a massive scale and from so many angles that without all sectors operating in perfect unison, the task is almost insurmountable.
While Antwerp boasts the second largest port in Europe and the industrial heart of Belgium, the actual implications of this business are quite unbelievable. With the new generation super-carrier vessels just around the corner, unload just one ship and you need 30 trains each a mile long. With anywhere from 50 to 200 vessels streaming into Antwerp daily, and most of this freight being moved on by road, congestion is reaching a critical level. If you’ve ever sat in rush-hour traffic on the ring road that circles the city, you might be forced to the conclusion that a critical level has already been surpassed.
Fixing this problem means looking at both supply (trains, trams, road infrastructure, waterways, pedestrian and cycle paths) and the ever increasing demand for mobility. In response, the Flemish government set up the Mobility Management Company of Antwerp (BAM) in 2003. As an autonomous public-private framework the company operates in accordance with market-compliant principles, gathering funding from various sources, such as the European Investment Bank – recovered at a later stage via mechanisms such as toll gates. This is no insignificant amount of capital either, the Flemish government’s Mobility Masterplan of Antwerp (MMA) is the most ambitious ever attempted.
Beheersmaatschappij Antwerpen Mobiel is responsible for the financing, implementation, management and operation of the traffic infrastructure in the Antwerp region. The company is executing the most ambitious mobility plan in Flanders, designed to address Antwerp’s multiple transport challenges
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