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The Flemish region (Flanders) is the Dutch-speaking, northern part of Belgium. With a population of approximately 6 million, and a surface area of about 13,500 km² it is one of the most dense regions in the world (approximately 450 inhabitants/km²). There are, however, no big cities in the region: Antwerp and Ghent can be considered medium-sized cities (respectively 460,000 and 230,000 inhabitants). Nonetheless, open spaces are few and far between and settlements are very sprawled, which represents a challenge for the region’s mobility policy.
Belgium is a federal state: some aspects of mobility policy are the competence of the federal state, especially the railways and traffic regulation, others are the competence of the regions, notably public transport, port policy, inland waterways and road infrastructure.
Flanders lies in one of the most dense regions of the world in relation to motorways and railways. From a mobility point of view, the presence of the ports of Antwerp (4th largest in the world in volume), Zeebruges and Ghent are incentives for Flanders to remain the logistics hub for the EU. Brussels as Europe’s capital is also a very important element to be taken into account when working out a strategy for mobility.
Flanders has a very ambitious public transport policy. It has introduced a right to basic mobility in its legislation. Moreover, an extensive policy of tariff measures such as very low prices for youth and even free transport for seniors (65years+) is aimed at maximising accessibility to the public transport system.