Brussels Capital Region

Air quality

CAIRGO BIKE - Clean AIR GO cargo BIKE

"The transport sector is a significant source of air pollution. Unlike major cities in the Netherlands or Denmark, Brussels does not yet have a cargo bike culture. Yet the potential is huge: the latest studies show that 50% of deliveries can be made with a cargo bike and that it is also suitable for 75% of private journeys. The Cairgo Bike project will create the necessary ecosystem to accompany professionals and private users to using a cargo bike for the benefit of a more fluid and livable city, and of course, a better air quality for all."

Elke Van den Brandt, Minister for Mobility, Public Works and Road Safety
The project in numbers
63%
NO2 emissions come from transport.
69%
of journeys made by car in the Brussels Capital Region are less than 10 km long
50%
of deliveries can be made with a cargo bike
75%
of private journeys can be made with a cargo bike
2%
of cyclists in the Brussels Capital Region currently use a cargo bike
4,688,677.44
Total ERDF budget granted
Challenge addressed

Recognising transport as major source of dangerous pollution levels (63% NO2, 34% PM10, 29% PM2,5 emissions coming from transport in 2018) the Brussels Capital Region introduced a Low Emission Zone, planned a diesel ban by 2030, supported clean vehicle public transport, extended traffic free areas, promoted cycling, developed a sustainable freight strategy and Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMPs). The current SUMP, Good Move, emphasizes the importance of mobility choices to improve the quality of life in Brussels.

Many citizens and professionals own and use a car or a van because they transport their children, groceries, goods, tools etc., which is not always possible with a standard bike. The cargo bike is therefore the perfect solution for these needs, while eliminating emissions, noise and limiting urban congestion. CAIRGO BIKE is therefore designed to accelerate a drive to clean air by tackling significant impacts caused by overuse of Large Good Vehicles (LGVs) and cars for short urban trips, by promoting a modal shift to cargo bike.

Solution proposed

Research estimates that 50% of services could be delivered by cargo bikes, and 75% of private trips can be done by cargo bike (CycleLogistics project 2017). A cargo bike dynamic is clearly underway in Brussels, but is still limited and fragile. The project aims to boost trends and kick-start new initiatives in the short term, while creating a robust environment for long-term consolidation, which is essential to bring economic actors on board and convince private and professionals end-users to make a sustainable choice for cargo bikes and make a significant impact on air quality. The approach is user oriented and nudging-based: making the move to cargo bikes easy and attractive, by removing hurdles, facilitating information and access, and actively supporting transition to cargo bike use.

The main strands throughout the projects are:

  • Raising awareness and facilitating access to information with an engaging and inclusive communication, including all the activities developed in the framework of the project and also all activities already existing in Brussels
  • Getting people in the saddle (citizens, business and public) through tailor-made coaching and testing
  • Making accessing cargo bikes easy for citizens as well as business, through sharing services, subsidies, group purchases etc
  • Providing safe cargo bike parking in off-street provision to solve one of the major obstacle to invest in a cargo bike
  • A smart evaluation of the project, directly involving users to refine the solutions and better meet the users’ needs and measure the impact on air quality.
Partnership
  • Brussels Capital Region;
  • 1 university: Vrije Universiteit Brussel;
  • 1 cooperative: Urbike;
  • 1 bike service provider: Remorquable;
  • 1 non-profit organisation: Pro Velo asbl;
  • 1 car-sharing company: OPTIMOBIL Bruxelles SA;
  • 1 parking operator: BePark;
  • 1 parking agency: Parking.brussels;
  • 1 environmental agency: Bruxelles Environnement.
Expected results

The key interlinked results of the project will be the establishment of a cargo bike culture and the achievement of a modal shift. This means increased cargo bike use both in absolute and relative terms and the project created a snowball effect so cargo bikes are a visible, normal feature of the street scene.

Cargo bikes will replace more and more cars and vans for short trip mobility (5Km -15km) such as school run, shopping, delivery, self-employed repair & maintenance, cleaning, household services, SME activity etc. Transition to no emission trips will drive improvement of air quality and public health.

Main milestone
  • January 2021: First yearly call for project for the purchase of cargo bikes and trailers by SMEs
  • April 2021: Launch of the project website highlighting the cargo bike ecosystem being created in Brussels
  • May 2021: Shared electric cargo bikes and bike trailers are available to the public
  • July 2021: First round of cargo bike parking available in public and private properties
  • March 2022: more than hundred coached citizens have tested a cargo bike during two weeks and the large scale conversion campaign targeting professionals begins
  • June 2023: end of the evaluation of the project as regards user acceptance, air pollution exposure of participants and its impact on air quality
The project in numbers
63%
NO2 emissions come from transport.
69%
of journeys made by car in the Brussels Capital Region are less than 10 km long
50%
of deliveries can be made with a cargo bike
75%
of private journeys can be made with a cargo bike
2%
of cyclists in the Brussels Capital Region currently use a cargo bike
4,688,677.44
Total ERDF budget granted
Contact of the project
Charlotte De Broux
Project manager

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