Plenty of inspiration during the successful first MobiliteitsArena in South Limburg
On 20 September, Maastricht Bereikbaar organized the Zuid-Limburgse MobiliteitsArena (South Limburg Mobility arena) at the Shimano Experience Center in Valkenburg. The event, which drew more than 200 visitors, offered employers, municipalities, and providers of mobility services the opportunity to get inspired and to share knowledge regarding smart and sustainable mobility. The aim of the event was to improve accessibility and employee health while also reducing CO2 emissions in South Limburg.
There were a number of aspects of the Mobility arena. The mobility market was where around 60 companies demonstrated their smart solutions for future mobility. This included things such as electric walking frames, emission-free cargo scooters, electric shared cars, and useful mobility apps. Employees of Maastricht Bereikbaar also held pitches on the area-focused approach to reducing CO2 emissions, encouraging the use of bicycles, future-proof driving, and the Maastricht Bereikbaar toolbox for employers.
During the plenary session, Carlo van de Weijer – the director of Smart Mobility at the Eindhoven University of Technology – gave his view of the future of mobility. As a result of the shortage of space, cars will increasingly disappear from cities and be replaced with bicycles and public transport, claims Van de Weijer. Furthermore, commuter traffic will decrease because we will not need to physically travel as much for our jobs in the future.
During a number of question discussions lead by Sander Kleikers, involved parties further explored a number of themes concerning smart and sustainable mobility. Gert-Jan Krabbendam (chair of the Maastricht Bereikbaar steering committee and member of the municipal executive of the municipality of Maastricht), Hermie Keulen (the Province of Limburg), and Katya Ivanova (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) discussed the advantages of a public-private collaboration regarding mobility in South Limburg. ‘The problems are complex, especially concerning new challenges such as the recent verdict in the nitrogen case and the Environment and Planning Act,’ according to Ivanova. ‘An umbrella platform such as Maastricht Bereikbaar is essential to address these challenges.’
Paul ten Haaf, director of Centrummanagement (city-centre management), Mark Luikens, logistics broker at Maastricht Bereikbaar, and a number of entrepreneurs discussed the advantages of smart and sustainable city-based logistics. Entrepreneurs of seven companies became Logistics Partners and received an ‘Act of Ambition’ stating that they want to reduce the number of kilometres driven as part of their business and therefore reduce CO2 emissions. The new partners are Houben Vastgoedservice, Business Post, Rions Riooltechniek, Janssen Group, Meulenberg Transport, Paulissen bakkerijen, and Laudy Bouw. ‘After Maastricht Bereikbaar made us aware of our transport movements, we changed our processes,’ explains Bianca Houben. ‘This resulted in us reducing our daily number of journeys by 211, which translates to 1,590 fewer kilometres driven.’ During the Mobility arena, the following five parties announced their intention to become partners with the Programme Office to further improve their cooperation: UTS Bernardt, Binnenstadservice Maastricht, Hanos, Sligro, and DHL Express. These companies are already working on ensuring that the city centre of Maastricht is emission-free by 2025.
The theme of employer approach and future-proof travel was explained by Maastricht Bereikbaar's Ron Bissels and Rob Schaap. Together with employers, Maastricht Bereikbaar is encouraging employees to use means of transport other than cars. One way of doing this is reviewing employment terms. For example, does the company use financial stimuli to encourage other forms of commuting? This approach works, according to Denis Florack, Director of Facilities Management at Maastricht UMC+. ‘Participating as an employer results in many benefits. Maastricht UMC+ implemented a new mobility policy in 2015. This is how we invest in keeping our people and organization dynamic. In the new programme, Maastricht Bereikbaar is more mindful of sustainability and health, themes that are very important to us. Furthermore, the programme has been expanded to South Limburg region, which means that Maastricht Bereikbaar has reached the next level and is very proud to have done so.’ A new addition to the employer approach is the expanded analysis tools. The mobility scan gives employers better insight into alternatives to the car that employees could use. Other new additions are the ‘employment conditions scan’, the ‘flex work scan’, and the ‘VitOscan’.