This first Journal sets out to introduce the Cairgo Bike project, its aims, the policy background and governance model. Brussels Capital Region sees this UIA opportunity as a means of extending and investing further in their ongoing development of a sustainable mobility future for the city and its inhabitants. Twin goals of improving citizen quality of life and supporting economic activity are regarded as compatible, where clean air is a key factor in establishing a healthy environment for all parties and stakeholders, living and working in the city.
The project is designed to drive a transport modal shift, away from vehicular traffic to an active travel mode, replacing use of LGVs (Light Goods Vehicles) and private cars by an ecosystem of cargo bikes targeting both citizens and families, as well as the business community. It is built on a concerted partnership, tasked with implementing a set of mutually supporting actions, devised to generate and mainstream this behaviour change. The Journal positions this ambition, the integrated package of actions, within the context of a wider stimulation of cargo bike solutions in many European cities, supported by EU policy and recognising the benefit of understanding and sharing concrete experience in this respect.
Of course such an undertaking, such a conversion to a new modality, is not immediately evident or simple to achieve, for many the cargo bike option is not on the radar. Structures, conditions and flanking measures need to be in place or developed, obstacles and challenges overcome. Finally therefore the project and its architecture is confronted with a series of challenges which can realistically be expected to impact on the progress and ultimately success of the initiative. For Cairgo Bike, in the Brussels Capital Region context, aspects such as Leadership, Public Procurement and Integrated Cross-departmental working are not considered as critical issues, which could have a detrimental effect on project advancement. Equally Participation, Monitoring and Evaluation, Communication and Upscaling are not reasons for concern, but these are recognised as fundamental operational priorities which will require continuous and considered attention. The impact of the Covid pandemic as a source of disruption and behaviour change is uncertain, but it has joined the game of challenges as a serious player, the consequences of which impose the need for ongoing scrutiny and perhaps in time, adjustment.