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Thematic bibliography : Mobility

Dossier thématique : Mobilité [fr]
Thematisch dossier : Mobiliteit [nl]

The issues associated with mobility in Brussels are many and varied, be it individual or collective passenger travel, freight transport or alternative modes of travel. Since the creation of the journal, more than thirty articles, fact sheets and synopses written by researchers from various disciplines have addressed these issues from different angles. This thematic bibliography invites you to return to the archives of Brussels Studies and (re)discover the reflections and results published on the subject of mobility.

Public policies, mobility and urban planning

HUBERT Michel, 2008. Expo ’58 and “the car as king”, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 22, 20/10/2008. Available at:

While it took more than forty years to complete the North-South railway junction, it took scarcely three years to transform the boulevards in the inner ring, develop or redevelop part of the boulevards in the outer ring, build the first part of the ring road, redesign many radial roads (starting with Boulevard Léopold II and its famous viaduct), build many car parks and develop access roads to Expo 58. In this article, Michel Hubert endeavours to show the decisive and lasting influence of Expo 58 on the city: by acting as a catalyst for the car as king approach, it contributed to making Brussels – with less than two inhabitants per vehicle – one of the European capitals with the highest levels of car ownership.

MORITZ Benoit, 2011. Designing and developing public spaces in Brussels, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 50, 21/06/2011. Available at:

In terms of urban planning, the creation of the Brussels-Capital Region (1989) was marked by the transition from an old regime – whereby the central state imposed a functionalist vision of the city based on the predominance of road transport infrastructures – to a new regime driven by ideas of beautification, as well as the enhancement and sharing of public space. More recently, the debate on major emblematic projects has always involved a conflict between two visions, one minimalist, the other calling for a strong architectural investment in public space.

Urban planning researcher Benoît Moritz shows in this article that the multiplicity of project owners (Region, municipalities, federal state) involved in the Brussels public space and the necessary link with the nineteen municipalities (each of which has a particular view of the issue) does not allow a single, coherent point of view to emerge, and that it is on a case-by-case basis that solutions must be found in order to gain ground in terms of the dominance of cars.

ZITOUNI Benedikte and TELLIER Céline, 2013. How the technical bodies build the city, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 64, 04/02/2013. Available at:

In this article, sociologists Benedikte Zitouni and Céline Tellier relate the plans for the extension of the city by the road inspectorate in the 19th century and the creation of the underground by the Service Spécial d’Etudes of the STIB in the 20th century. Through their analysis of archives, we discover that the technical bodies in the administration (engineers, planners) developed a specific practice of time allowing the step-by-step realisation of large-scale projects. Time is a tactical and flexible element in these cases, used in order to prompt an expansion of the city and to ensure the irreversible commitment of the stakeholders involved.

The Brussels metro is full of stairs which do not seem to lead anywhere, strange platforms, parts of stations and empty tunnels which are not yet useful. These landmarks – some of which have existed for several decades – made it possible, for example, to complete the metro line 2-6 in 2012. This article has the virtue of showing that strategic urban planning can operate according to changing codes rather than to great visions etched in stone.

HUBERT Michel, LEBRUN Kevin, HUYNEN Philippe and DOBRUSZKES Frédéric, 2013. Daily mobility in Brussels: challenges, tools and priority undertakings, in: Brussels Studies, Synopses, no. 71, 18/09/2013. Available at:

The authors note that the use of public transport has increased significantly, more for travel to and from Brussels (from 15% in 1999 to 32% in 2010) than for travel within the city (from 15% to 25%). Walking has become the primary mode for travel within the Region (37%), bicycle use has tripled in ten years and the share of car use has fallen (from 50% to 32% of total journeys), which is less true for inbound and outbound journeys (where cars are still used in 63% of cases). This is in keeping with the fact that fewer Brussels households had a private car in 2010 compared to 1999. This change in the distribution of journeys between the different modes means that, contrary to what is often heard, the overall volume of car journeys has not increased radically. It has even decreased slightly in Brussels, with congestion mainly concentrated at the entrances to the city and on the ring road.

BRANDELEER Céline and ERMANS Thomas, 2016. When traffic light management prefigures mobility choices: the strategic challenges of a technical tool, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 103, 19/09/2016. Available at:

Céline Brandeleer and Thomas Ermans examine how the remote control of traffic lights has allowed real gains in commercial speed on certain lines with relatively exclusive right of way (trams 3, 4, 7, 25). But it is ineffective on others (line 71 for example) and lacks effectiveness as an overall solution. Even under ideal conditions in terms of equipment, the peaks in congestion of the surface road network cause the system to be counterproductive.

In practice, the main technical challenges are solved relatively quickly. On the other hand, implementation becomes more laborious once it involves more direct interaction with the many stakeholders in Brussels. The authors point out that the traffic light remote control system is seen as having to remain within acceptable limits and to be in support of public transport without being against the use of cars.

MAZY Kristel, 2017. Rethinking the ties between Brussels and its port: a development issue for the canal area, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 110, 24/04/2017. Available at:

The spatial and temporal analysis of changes in city/port interfaces through concrete cases in Brussels shows that, in practice, the introduction of the project approach does little in favour of an effective reconnection between the city and its port. The project approach, which is too fragmented, even tends to accelerate the disconnection process. In the cases studied, functional divisions seem to recur. The materialisation of projects rarely leads to the creation of true spatial versatility which could be a way to a better coexistence of the city and the port.

HUBERT Michel, CORIJN Eric, NEUWELS Julie, HARDY Margaux, VERMEULEN Sofie and VAESEN Joost, 2017. From pedestrian area to urban project: assets and challenges for the centre of Brussels, in: Brussels Studies, Synopses, no. 115, 11/09/2017. Available at:

More than just the development of public space, the “pedestrian area” concerns many dimensions and levels in the making of the city. It provides major opportunities for the city centre as well as for the Brussels-Capital Region and its metropolitan area.

This synopsis identifies four challenges facing public authorities in 2017 in the context of this major urban project. This would involve (1) adding a true city project to the spatial planning by taking action on the intangible aspects, and through better planning of the different atmospheres and social, commercial and artistic activities in the city centre, in particular in the pedestrian area; (2) including the project in a multi-scale vision of territorial development and associating it with different mobility, environmental, business and housing plans at local, regional and metropolitan level; (3) increasing the support for the project by improving information and communication from a qualitative point of view, as well as participation and coproduction; and (4) confirming the expected paradigm shift by clarifying the underlying city project and opening it to public debate, while proceeding with its implementation without further delay.

HUBERT Michel, CORIJN Eric, NEUWELS Julie, HARDY Margaux, VERMEULEN Sofie and VAESEN Joost, 2020. From pedestrian area to urban project: assets and challenges for the centre of Brussels (new edition), in: Brussels Studies, Synopses, no. 148, 18/10/2020. Available at:

This synopsis is an update of a previously published work (no. 115).

TE BOVELDT Geert and MACHARIS Cathy, 2018. All aboard? A decision-making instrument for the future of the Brussels North-South railway connection, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 124, 28/05/2018. Available at:

With more or less 1 200 trains a day, the North-South Connection is by far the busiest stretch of the Belgian railway network. In addition, various studies predict growth in passenger rail transport to, from and within Brussels, and the capacity of the junction will come under even greater pressure when the Regional Express Network is fully operational. This challenge is the responsibility of three levels of government (federal, regional and municipal) and numerous stakeholders. The article presents a methodology which attempts to overcome the difficulties of decision making in a multi-stakeholder context, i.e. not choosing the best solution for society, but rather the highest common denominator among the interests of the stakeholders involved.

MAY Xavier, ERMANS Thomas and HOOFTMAN Nils, 2019. Company cars: identifying the problems and challenges of a tax system, in: Brussels Studies, Synopses, no. 133, 25/03/2019. Available at:

Xavier May, Thomas Ermans and Nils Hoftman estimate that around 100 000 company cars enter, exit or circulate in the Brussels Region every day. They first of all point out that the company car regime represented a very significant tax loss for the year 2016, estimated at 2,3 billion euros. The authors also note that the company car regime benefits mainly the households with the highest incomes, at the expense of progressive taxation and equality among workers.

They confirm that company cars lead to an increase in the use of cars for commuting, both through modal choice (more car users) and through the distances travelled. Mobility within the Brussels-Capital Region is therefore impacted by a federal fiscal policy over which the Region has no control, even though road congestion by car traffic contributes to slowing down the commercial speed of public transport (managed by the regions) and thus its efficiency, as well as its cost.

SACRÉ Alix, 2019. The east railway ring in Brussels: a growth barrier in the 19th and 20th centuries? (1855-1950), in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 134, 29/04/2019. Available at:

By comparing the archives – especially cartographic ones – and various works on the evolution of urban morphology, this study shows that, as early as the 1860s, while the inhabitants of Brussels were already aware of the role that a station could play in the development of a municipality, some stakeholders (owners, town councillors and civil servants) also took into account the fact that a railway line could represent an obstacle in a dense and rapidly expanding city. Indeed, until its relocation at the beginning of the 20th century, the railway ring was an obstacle to the urbanisation of Schaerbeek and Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, which prompted numerous requests to modify its route.

BOCQUET Nicolas, 2021. The Brussels Smart City: how “intelligence” can be synonymous with video surveillance, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no 159, 30/08/2021. Available at:

This article analyses how the Brussels-Capital Region has embraced the concept of “Smart City”, seeing the use of technology as a means of decompartmentalising public action and promoting cross-cutting policies. However, the author shows how difficult it is to implement: he focuses in particular on the reasons why a cross-cutting policy in the area of mobility – a sector which is normally a priority for the Smart City – has not emerged in the context of Brussels, while a security policy has gained a foothold as its main focus, backed by the Centre d'Informatique pour la Région bruxelloise (CIRB).

FRENAY Patrick, 2009. A territorial development project associated with the Brussels RER , in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 31, 16/11/2009. Available at:

Will giving priority to medium- and long-distance connections not reinforce peri-urbanisation, which is already responsible, among other things, for the increase in the number of commutes to the city and the reduction in the Regions tax base?

Decentralisation of the railway offer, consistent internal services, development of stations and stops throughout the region, effective coordination with all public transport services, and taking into account the specific needs of the regional development of Brussels are some of the proposals made by Patrick Frenay to ensure that the RER fits harmoniously into the development of a multipolar city.

LEBRUN Kevin and DOBRUSZKES Frédéric, 2012. New RER stations for Brussels? Challenges, methods and constraints, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 56, 16/01/2012. Available at:

The debate regarding the number of RER stations to be opened in Brussels and the importance of the issue for Brussels prompted Kevin Lebrun and Frédéric Dobruszkes to examine the question in 2011 and to establish, with the help of a clear and rigorous methodology, the potential and feasibility of each proposed station.

DAMAY Ludivine, 2014. A RER in Brussels? A sociological history of rivalries and political regulations (1989-2013), in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 74, 17/02/2014. Available at:

Ludivine Damays socio-historical analysis first raises the question of rivalries of use and the city project underlying the debates regarding the RER. Who would the RER serve? What types of use would it favour? What would be its impact on mobility, as well as on residential migration and the establishment of economic stakeholders? Should we give priority to improving the accessibility of the office areas in the city centre? Do more stops need to be provided so that the residents of Brussels can also make use of the RER for their journeys within the city? Finally, according to the author, this issue is another illustration of a Belgian-style compromise. Although the issues relating to the works, infrastructure and rolling stock have been resolved, the more sensitive aspects of the actual transport service (frequencies, operating ranges, timetables, fares, etc.) have still not been settled – as though it would make sense to build a machine before knowing exactly what it will be used for.

Role and evolution of different modes of transport in and around Brussels

Public transport

DOBRUSZKES Frédéric and FOURNEAU Yves, 2007. The direct cost and geography of Brussels mass transport’s operating delays, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 7, 24/05/2007. Available at:

Already in 2007, in one of the first articles published by Brussels Studies, Frédéric Dobruszkes and Yves Fourneau show that car traffic in Brussels, as in other cities, leads to a decrease in the efficiency of surface public transport which, in economic terms, corresponds to a decrease in the efficiency and productivity of the operator. The aggregation of detailed data in terms of time and space allows the conclusion to be drawn that at least 18% of the production cost of service goes towards a compensation for slowdowns. The researchers also point out that the development of restricted lanes was not a sufficient solution.

COURTOIS Xavier and DOBRUSZKES Frédéric, 2008. The (in)efficiency of trams and buses in Brussels: a fine geographical analysis, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 20, 27/06/2008. Available at:

In this article, Xavier Courtois and Frédéric Dobruszkes identify problem areas which hinder the smooth flow of public transport. The researchers identify four main factors which cause public transport inefficiency. The first factor is the combination of a topology which is not very conducive to bus and tram traffic (dense fabric of narrow lanes) and a layout of public space which gives clear priority to car traffic. The second factor is the management of traffic lights. The authors show that public transport does not have priority, at most benefitting from differences of a few seconds in traffic light phases. The third factor, which is closely related to the first two, is political deadlock. The fourth factor is to be found in some problems within the mass transport systems themselves.

According to the authors, courageous policy choices should be made, but are hampered by the overwhelming weight of the motorists perspective in urban planning and mobility management.

LEBRUN Kevin, 2018. Travel time by public transport in Brussels: the accessibility of poles of activity, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 123, 07/05/2018. Available at:

Using a series of maps, geographer Kevin Lebrun examines the accessibility of a selection of centres of activity from the various neighbourhoods in Brussels. He determines that it takes just over half an hour to reach the main centres of activity during the morning rush hour. However, this average figure does not reflect the diversity of local situations. These local situations could improve considerably if we take into account not only STIB, but also SNCB, TEC and De Lijn, which also operate in the region of Brussels.

The geographer's analyses also identify areas which are less accessible than expected given their distance from the city centre and show that journeys are on average 25% longer than what operators are capable of today – without any delays.

CARTON Vincent, 2018. Public transport service and use in Brussels from 1950 to 2017, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 127, 17/09/2018. Available at:

The analysis of more than 50 years of STIB statistics allows the author, Vincent Carton, to show how the choices made in terms of public transport service in Brussels have an impact on the use of the network. His analysis reveals that, in addition to the opening of new lines, it is mainly the overall increase in frequencies throughout the network which has caused the use of public transport to double over the past fifteen years, fuelled in particular by the population boom, which is for the most part made up of working-class Brussels households with a low level of car ownership. The article also underlines the relative nature of the impact of the underground, especially when we look at the long-term situation.

Walking and cycling

HENRY Amandine, ERMANS Thomas and DE SMET D’OLBECKE Fanny, 2020. Cycling has made a comeback: has it returned to Brussels as well?, in: Brussels Studies, Fact Sheets, no. 144, 01/06/2020. Available at:

Issue 144 of Brussels Studies explores the different sources and approaches which make it possible to quantify cycling in the capital and its evolution. The authors, Amandine Henry, Thomas Ermans and Fanny de Smet d’Olbecke, make a clear observation: regardless of the methods used to collect the data, cycling is growing in popularity in Brussels due to the journeys of Brussels inhabitants themselves, as well as to commuters who combine cycling with other means of transportation.

CRETEN Alexis, MEZOUED Aniss M. and LETESSON Quentin, 2021. Fluidity of movement and pedestrian inconvenience in the shopping streets of Brussels, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 158, 20/06/2021. Available at:

How do you find your way when you cannot see and your usual route has suddenly changed? Which way do you go with a pushchair when a bicycle is blocking your way? Pedestrian inconveniences – those mentioned above and many others – are the focus of this issue of Brussels Studies.

The findings go beyond simply listing the inconveniences identified for pedestrians and even more so for those with reduced mobility. Due to their illustrative nature (concentration of pedestrian flows and inconveniences linked to the displays and refuse associated with the shops), the qualitative analyses carried out in several of the city's major shopping streets supplement the counts and descriptions with further details. Thus, far from being perceived negatively, the inconveniences associated with shops and HoReCa establishments are much better tolerated than others, which are viewed as being unwarranted. Where clothes racks, cardboard boxes and tables are part of the urban atmosphere, scooters and advertising panels are perceived as nuisances which should be regulated. The results also show that the perceptions and the degree of inconvenience vary greatly depending on the environment (combination of inconveniences) and the pedestrian profiles.


MAY Xavier, 2017. The debate regarding the number of company cars in Belgium, in: Brussels Studies, Fact Sheets, no. 113, 10/07/2017. Available at:

Economist Xavier May attempts to determine the number of company cars. He estimates that there are approximately 625 000 company cars on the road in Belgium and that this number is increasing constantly. He also shows that there are more company cars in Flanders and Brussels than in Wallonia, but that, if the analysis is refined at municipality level, it can be seen that Walloon Brabant has the highest number of company cars per private sector employee. More generally, it is essentially in the large metropolitan areas in the centre and the north of the country that over-representation is observed.

ERMANS Thomas, 2017. Profiles of companies which use company cars in the Brussels-Capital Region, in: Brussels Studies, Fact Sheets, no. 114, 10/07/2017. Available at:

Geographer Thomas Ermans establishes a profile of the companies which use company cars in Brussels. He shows that the volume of use of company cars depends on the mobility profile of the companies concerned. Those which offer this benefit most to their employees belong overwhelmingly to the service sector and are very car-dependent in terms of location: parking spaces are more numerous and accessibility by public transport is poor.

WIEGMANN Mareile, KESERÜ Imre and MACHARIS Cathy, 2020. Carsharing in the Brussels region, in: Brussels Studies, Facts sheets, no. 146, 30/08/2020. Available at:

Faced with the problems of traffic congestion, parking difficulties and the cost of owning a private car, the carsharing solution is gradually gaining ground. In Brussels, Cambio appeared in 2003, soon followed by other operators with or without stations. Issue 146 of Brussels Studies, co-authored by Mareile Wiegmann, Imre Keserü and Cathy Macharis, cross-references and analyses data from operators active at the beginning of 2018. Although it is not possible to draw conclusions on how these systems complement or compete with public transport, the data collected nevertheless provide interesting insights into the reasons for and patterns of use of these services, the profile of users and the differences between carsharing systems.

Daily travel and interactions within the metropolis of Brussels

MONTULET Bertrand and HUBERT Michel, 2008. Travelling with children in Brussels?, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 15, 11/02/2008. Available at:

In this article, the authors underline the shortcomings of public transport, in particular regarding those for whom time management is especially important (for themselves or for the well-being of the children who accompany them). In order to meet the needs of a public who are often stressed, in a hurry and worried, the authors suggest that the transport service must be humanised in order to make life easier for users, rather than expecting them to acquire more and more knowledge in order to make use of the tangled networks and adapt to the offer. Improvements in the comfort, equipment and accessibility at stops and points of modal and intermodal change are particularly important and all too rare in Brussels.

DE WITTE Astrid and MACHARIS Cathy, 2010. Commuting to Brussels: how attractive is “free” public transport?, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 37, 19/04/2010. Available at:

According to a 2001 study, 63% of commuters to Brussels travel by car, while 17% travel by train. When we consider that 360 000 people enter Brussels every day, the scale of the mobility challenge in Brussels is clear. The study conducted by Astrid De Witte and Cathy Macharis shows that various factors related to access to modes of transportation have an influence on their use: the availability of a car, level of income, travel expenses paid by the employer, etc. Only 9% of car commuters say that they would use a different mode of transport if it was free of charge. The remaining 91% report multiple obstacles which suggest that transport policies cannot be reduced to tariff policies. Motorists demand better connections, higher speeds and increased train accessibility.

DE MAESSCHALCK Filip, DE RIJCK Tine and HEYLEN Vicky, 2015. Crossing Borders: Social-spatial Relations between Brussels and Flemish Brabant, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 84, 23/02/ 2015. Available at:

The three researchers point out that although the migratory movements which lead to increased prosperity in the outskirts persist, this is no longer always the case in all municipalities, as the new arrivals reflect the diversity of the Brussels population more than in the past.

In the context of commuter flows, in addition to the development of an outgoing commute from Brussels, it can be seen that the labour demand in Brussels is met increasingly by Brussels inhabitants themselves, while the movement of incoming commuters remains relatively constant. The same is true in the education sector.

The limited supply of social services (e.g. crèches) in Flemish Brabant, which is far below the Flemish average, is not unrelated to the incoming commute to Brussels in this sector.

GILOW Marie, 2015. Travelling in Brussels and feeling unsafe: women’s perceptions and strategies, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 87, 01/06/2015. Available at:

The feeling of being unsafe is integrated into the movements of the women interviewed for this study in different ways. Fear immobilises them at certain hours, in certain places or when they are alone. Furthermore, women are often required to travel in specific ways: adapting their clothing, walking speed, choice of alternative routes, more systematic use of a car, specific routes including detours, reducing waiting time, seeking a reassuring presence and places perceived as safer in public transport, etc. Even if the sample remains small, the social dimension of gender inequalities is rapidly emerging: women make use of significant economic resources (purchase of a pass or a car, choice of home, etc.) and intellectual resources (reading a map, searching for information on the internet, etc.) in order to keep the possibilities open and not to restrict their use of the city too much.

ADAM Arnaud, DELVENNE Jean-Charles and THOMAS Isabelle, 2017. Cartography of interaction fields in and around Brussels: commuting, moves and telephone calls, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 118, 18/12/2017. Available at:

Three researchers, Arnaud Adam, Isabelle Thomas (both geographers) and Jean-Charles Delvenne (mathematician), use conventional relational data (residential migrations, commutes to and from the workplace) and less conventional relational data (mobile telephony calls), to partition the space in and around the Brussels-Capital Region into groups of closely inter-related places using a mathematical community detection method. The results show that proximity greatly structures the relations between people and economic stakeholders. It plays a major role in our daily lives. But this proximity exists at different levels in a metropolitan area which is much larger than the 19 communes: the communities identified extend beyond the limits of the Brussels-Capital Region, confirming the metropolitan extension of Brussels urban reality.

ERMANS Thomas, BRANDELEER Céline, HUBERT Michel, LEBRUN Kevin and SIEUX Florentine, 2018. Travel between home and work: current situation and perspectives for action for companies, in: Brussels Studies, Synopses, no. 125, 02/07/2018. Available at:

that Brussels is the place of work for almost 710 000 workers, i.e. 15,6% of national employment for only 10,5% of the population, it is easy to understand the crucial role which these journeys play in the Region's mobility issues.

The capital is home to 345 000 commuters from the other two Regions: 31% of workers in Brussels reside in the Flemish Region and 17,6% in the Walloon Region.

This BSI synopsis shows that commuting to and from work is not only a transport issue, but also a product of peoples residential journeys and land use planning.

THEYS Tobias, DESCHACHT Nick, ADRIAENSSENS Stef and VERHAEST Dieter, 2019. Spatial mismatch, education and language skills in the Brussels metropolis: an analysis, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 136, 17/06/2019. Available at:

The peri-urbanisation of inhabitants and activities on a metropolitan scale contributes to a growing spatial mismatch between job supply and demand. This mismatch forces Brussels job seekers, especially the low-skilled, to broaden their search in order to increase their chances of finding a job. Whatever the definition of the metropolitan area, the spatial mismatch is higher for the low-skilled. This mismatch stems mainly from the fact that job seekers do not reside in the municipalities where the job offers which might be of interest to them are located.

STRALE Mathieu, 2019. Travel between Brussels and its outskirts: contrasting situations, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 137, 08/07/2019. Available at:

The study by geographer Mathieu Strale reveals that while car traffic is tending to decrease slowly in the Brussels-Capital Region and among Brussels residents, it is increasing in the outskirts, as well as near the regional borders.

On the one hand, there are areas in the outskirts which are well connected by road or public transport, located mainly along the corridors linking Brussels to other cities. But in other areas, either further away and more rural, or – surprisingly – closer to Brussels, travel by public transport is not very efficient. This is due to the social structure of the metropolitan area, as well as to the lack of integration of the public transport service and, more generally, to the lack of interregional mobility strategy.

These results suggest that different policies should be pursued according to the location in the outskirts.

Logistics and goods transport

LEBEAU Philippe and MACHARIS Cathy, 2014. Freight transport in Brussels and its impact on road traffic?, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 80, 20/10/2014. Available at:

While the mobility of people is an important part of the public debate, this article points out that urban freight transport needs more attention, as it also contributes to congestion and air quality problems in the capital. And, in the near future, it seems that this contribution will increase more than that linked to the mobility of people. The authors point out that goods vehicles now account for 14% of traffic entering and leaving the Region, mostly vans.

Thus, one solution already implemented to reduce this traffic consists in partially transferring goods destined for the Brussels-Capital Region to the waterways or trains. Brussels benefits from significant potential multimodal accessibility. But this potential is still only very partially exploited via the Port of Brussels. Although projects do exist, the railway is today totally absent from urban logistics in Brussels. Other solutions, such as the development of off-peak deliveries, grouped deliveries or the increased use of electric vehicles are still in the test phase. A more proactive management of delivery areas has also been implemented in some municipalities and is being integrated into the regional parking policy.

STRALE Mathieu, 2017. The role of port and logistics activities in Brussels, in: Brussels Studies, General collection, no. 109, 20/03/2017. Available at:

Geographer Mathieu Strale examines the role of the canal area in Brussels logistics and in the changes which these distribution chains are undergoing, as well as the interplay of stakeholders involved in the property development of this area.

His observations support the hypothesis that the property market and the balance of power in the canal area tend to reinforce the decline in logistics activities in Brussels, despite the major role played by some of them in the supply of goods and the urban economy. In addition, according to the author, these changes illustrate the transformations under way in the canal area, at urbanistic, political and social level, and more broadly, the evolution of the urban development policy in Brussels. A reversal would probably involve having to identify the port, logistics and goods transport activities which are beneficial to the Region in terms of jobs and mobility, and to protect them by preventing land speculation and with policies which are favourable to their functioning.

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