The objective of Cairgo Bike is not limited to simply promoting cargo bike use in the urban context. Firstly the project is firmly conceived as a tool to help reverse the current condition of inferior air quality in Brussels, to accelerate and support any emerging recovery trends. It is an initiative based on policy maker recognition of the toxic threat to the population posed by emissions from cars and LGVs, and a desire to reverse this situation through concrete intervention.
This makes Cairgo Bike a driving force, a primary impulse to instigate a fundamental and structural modal shift, away from fossil fuelled vehicles to active travel modes. Cairgo Bike will not in itself realise the degree of modal shift required but will be instrumental
Secondly it is about embedding a cargo bike ecosystem within a planned and agreed sustainable mobility strategy for the Capital Region and its 19 municipalities. The project will help communicate the conviction of policy makers, concerning the seriousness of the air quality problem, to the wider public. Visibility will be a key to convincing and converting members of the public and families to rethink the school run, the shopping trip, the picnic in the park, the sport club journey. It also targets businesses (SMEs but not exclusively) and contractors to review and transform how they provide services in terms of delivery activity, cleaning, repair and maintenance, small passenger transport etc. Criticism that low emission measures penalise lower income groups and business initiatives are not completely unfounded. Cargo bikes and especially e-cargo bikes are not inexpensive - in a new hype climate - for real family, small business or start-up budgets. However the offer presented in the Cairgo Bike project, to provide grant assistance for purchase, to explore group purchase possibilities, share and loan models etc. can provide an alternative and ultimately affordable transport solution. Such measures focus on easing the step-in process, mobilising transition phase take-up, leading to a final full acceptance transformation.