Bruges is the third biggest city in the Flanders region of Belgium and located near the sea. Its main economic activities are linked to its harbour and tourism. With a 42% modal split, bicycles are the second most-used means of transport for commuting to work or school. Bruges aspires to remain as one of Belgium's leading cycling cities and to become an example for other local authorities to follow. Challenges lie in infrastructure, road safety and street infrastructure. Bruge's city centre is UNESCO protected, which leads to hurdles related to urban development and upgrading mobility infrastructure.
Bruges' historic city still has its original narrow streets with their medieval character, as a result of which the challenges posed by mixed mobility (motorised vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, public transport) is a series issue. Public transport is organised by 'De Lijn'. This company has its own energy transition programme that is not wholly appropriate for the needs of the specific situation in Bruges (with its historical UNESCO-protected city centre).
This means that Bruges is dependent on the engagement of others for the faster greening the bus fleet. If the city had more expertise in such matters, it could carry more weight in the ongoing discussions. Achieving a modal shift transport policy and behaviour is a lengthy process, which requires the integration of various ambitions and urban policy agendas (infrastructure, urban planning, mobility, etc.), operating at different policy levels: For example, Bruges (like other cities) has to deal with an inherited road infrastructure based on car-oriented development. This has resulted in urban sprawling, also of business sites, which are therefore not well served by public transport and cycling networks. In the city centre, it will be necessary to find an equilibrium between heritage concerns and transport concerns, which in turn means balancing esthetical concerns (e.g. cobblestones) and comfort concerns (e.g. flat road surfaces).
Bruges is/was involved in the following EU projects: WRC, SCIFI, SLIC, TERTS, NSC, Age'In, Handshake, Flavour, Shifft, BITS, Erasmus+ BBB, Food Wave, Wifi4EU, Actief op 2 sporen, Ant'woord, Beacon, Turbo, Foodcities 2030 (Stad, Rudderstove & Mintus), Arma - Europeana and Kick EFRO.
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