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Brussels, 16 September 2009
What is meant by mobility policy and why has it been put in place?
Mobility policy is understood to mean the measures taken by the Commission on the transport of its staff from their home to their place of work and also between the various Commission buildings. This policy lays down a mobility plan 1 for journeys between the different Commission sites (including between Brussels and Luxembourg) and buildings, and also between home, welfare facilities (crèches), schools and the workplace.
Inside the Commission, a transport and mobility unit has been set up in the Office for Infrastructure and Logistics in Brussels (OIB). Its role is to implement and manage the mobility plan, including relations with transport companies, associations and cycling groups and to keep staff aware and informed. A similar unit also exists at the Office for Infrastructure and Logistics in Luxembourg (OIL).
What developments have there been in this policy in recent years?
Initially the focus was on travel on official business between Commission buildings, with four main thrusts:
(1) Public transport
Since 1997 there has been an arrangement between the European Commission and the Brussels bus company STIB/MIVB on the operation of the Eurobus system, with bus routes 21 and 22 serving most of the buildings of the Commission and the European institutions in Brussels. The European Parliament joined the Eurobus system at the end of 2006. The agreement was renewed on 1 June 2007 for two more years and a further extension is now under consideration.
For business travel between sites not on the Eurobus routes, Commission staff can obtain one-way tickets that are valid for the entire STIB/MIVB network.
Staff travelling on mission from Brussels National airport at Zaventem can obtain tickets for the number 12 "airport shuttle" bus.
All these additional facilities help to promote public transport and have had an impact on the travelling habits of members of staff, in particular those living close to the bus routes 21 and 22.
(2) Use of bicycles
The system of service bicycles, used for travel between offices, has been an undeniable success. The Commission now has twice as many bicycles as cars in its fleet, i.e. 240 bicycles. Staff used the bicycles over 26,000 times in 2008, an increase of 13% on 2007. In the Commission car parks, the number of spaces for bicycles is now close to 3000. New Commission buildings are now being systematically equipped with changing rooms and showers.
(3) Purchase of clean cars
When renewing its car fleet, the Commission is gradually acquiring vehicles equipped with diesel engines and particle filters as they become available on the market. This means that CO 2 emissions from these cars have decreased by 21% since from 2004 to 2008 (from 265 g/km to 211 g/km), the objective being to reach 196.5 g/km in 2012.
(4) Teleworking and flexitime
Since April 2007, the Commission has offered staff the possibility of teleworking, giving them the option of working from home, thus saving time and transport costs. At present, some 900 people telework regularly.
17 000 people working at the Commission also have flexible working hours, which helps to spread the number of people travelling out over a longer period.
How was the European Commission's mobility plan prepared?
Within the Commission, this plan is based on the proceedings of the joint working party on mobility during the second half of 2004; this working party was made up of DG TREN, DG ADMIN and the OIB together with staff representatives. It also took into account the results of the staff mobility surveys conducted in 1998 and in March 2004. It also fits into the new legislative framework for Brussels, which now requires any organisation with over 200 staff to adopt an employee transport plan 2 . The new urban planning policy of the Brussels authorities, which alters the office surface/parking spaces ratio for the granting of planning permission, has also had an impact on the Commission's mobility policy, in that it will in future reduce the parking area available in new or renovated buildings (Brussels-Capital Region, Circular No 18 of 12 December 2002 on restrictions on parking spaces). The mobility plan also takes account of the European Community's "eco-management and audit scheme" (EMAS).
What are the main changes in the modes of transport used by staff?
A 2008 staff survey confirms the gradual change over time in the use of the different modes of transport for travel between home and work. Between 1998 and 2008, the percentage accounted for by private cars has dropped from 50 to 29%, while that of public transport has risen from 32 to 50%, with walking and cycling increasing slightly to 18%, and car sharing a marginal 1%. Nearly a third of users stated that the facilities available to staff have prompted a change in their habits.
What are the targets for the distribution between the various modes of transport in the mobility plan?
The targets for 2009 are as follows:
A new plan for the 2010–12 period will be adopted this year.
What role can the public transport operators play?
There has to be close cooperation with the public transport operators so that the necessary supporting measures can be taken to underpin the efforts of employers and their staff and bring about the switch from private cars to public transport. These measures relate to improvements in all aspects of the transport services available, in particular comfort, quality, frequency, longer operating periods especially in the evening, enhanced security and sufficient flexibility of public transport, particularly in outer suburban areas where needs are more difficult to identify and satisfy.
See the definition of the employee transport plan in Article 19 of the Order of 25 March 1999 on the evaluation and improvement of the quality of the air, published in the Moniteur belge of 24 June 1999.
Employee transport plan in Article 19 of the Order of 25 March 1999 on the evaluation and improvement of the quality of the air, published in the Moniteur belge of 24 June 1999.