Pilot city: Leuven (Belgium)
Leuven is a mid-sized city with 101,695 inhabitants (2019, Statbel; without unregistered students) and about 36,000 unregistered students (2019, own estimation), who have a large impact on city life.
The city occupies 57.51 km² and has a population density of 1,768 people per km² (without unregistered students).
Cars remain an important mode of transportation, as there are 505 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants (2017, own estimate based on City Monitor survey). However, first and foremost, Leuven is a cycling city. An overwhelming majority of students use cycling as their main mode of transport, resulting in large number of cyclists throughout the city and a high demand for infrastructure. There are over 30,000 bicycle parking spaces, numerous “cycling streets” where cyclists have the right of way and kilometres of bike lanes (providing various levels of separation from motorised traffic). Aimed mainly at commuters, there are “cycling highways” connecting Leuven to Brussels, to smaller cities in the region and to the Leuven outskirts.
Leuven has Belgium's 6th busiest train station, with an average of 33,932 boardings per week day (2018, NMBS). It connects Leuven with all major Belgian cities, including Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, and Liege, with the Leuven hinterland, and also directly with the international airport of Brussels. Local public transport is almost exclusively covered by the public bus company De Lijn. They have a bus fleet of 105 vehicles – 6 of which are full electric (Dec. 2019) – which cover 6.6 million vehicle kilometres per year (2019, De Lijn). Public transport use has grown spectacularly since the 1990s, but in recent years there has been stagnation, as lines and buses are completely saturated.
Modal split (personal vehicle - public transport - bike/on foot):
• Trips to work by persons working in Leuven: 61% - 19% - 19% (Woon-werk survey)
• Trips to work by persons living in Leuven: 41% - 25% - 34% (City Monitor survey)