Leiedal – Interview with a public authority addressing regional challenges with shared mobility solutions
SHARE-North intern Brianna Mawra recently spoke with Intercommunale Leiedal’s Aurelie Van Obbergen to discuss the organization’s comprehensive outreach and support of sustainable shared mobility in Flanders, their involvement in SHARE-North, as well as their plans for the project’s extension. More information about Leiedal can be found on their website at www.leiedal.be
How did Leiedal become involved with SHARE-North?
Intercommunale Leiedal became involved with SHARE-North through previous professional contact between Bremen and the Belgian partners. Leiedal supports the cooperation of 13 municipalities in the Kortrijk region in Belgium on a wide-range of socio-economic development topics, such as spatial planning and design, e-government, mobility, communication, networking, and local low-carbon strategies, among others. With such a diverse background, Leiedal shares this extensive experience with the other project partners.
What can Leiedal offer to the consortium? What can it gain?
Leiedal has the advantage of working with municipalities and small villages, where they offer advice supporting sustainable mobility in a rural context. With this in mind, Leiedal sees each project partner as a valuable resource from which to learn. For instance, they look towards Lund University for research insights, look towards fellow Belgian partners for NGO work, Bremen for their extensive car-sharing knowledge, as well as towards Advier for a more housing development-focused perspective. In all, Leiedal shares an extensive pool of knowledge and expertise to use at their disposal among the SHARE-North partners.
What are some of the organization’s goals while being part of the consortium?
While working within the SHARE-North consortium, Leiedal aims to promote and introduce shared mobility where it is not currently present in the Leiedal region (south West-Flanders). Within this, Leiedal wants to reduce car pressure (i.e. congestion and parking pressure) in smaller towns while also incorporating sustainable development goals that are also interwoven into the overarching SHARE-North project targets. Additionally, the organization plans to work with livability and environmental image quality while being part of the project.
Being an Interreg project, how has working transnationally with other EU countries benefited Leiedal?
Leiedal sees working internationally as a meaningful opportunity to see how different organizations involved in the project work and how they can facilitate sustainable mobility in their own regions from each other’s expertise. With such a diverse set of perspectives, Leiedal simply sees this as a benefit of being part of such a group and with this, motivates the organization to help solve mobility problems.
What has been the reaction to sustainable shared mobility in Belgium?
Leiedal’s Aurelie Van Obbergen shared the recent success of sustainable shared mobility in Belgium stating, “…the concept is growing and people are becoming interested!” and “with growing awareness from the press and cities taking action, it can mean a lot to citizens, though there is still a lot of work to be done.”
What is the company’s plan to do with the project extension?
During SHARE-North’s extension (an additional three year project lifetime from 2019-2021), Leiedal plans to expand their shared mobility horizons by being part of a mobility advisory board for different municipalities, as well as sharing their mobility knowledge through a coaching concept. Inspired by their Together Smarter to Work project (Samen slimmer naar het werk), a recent project that incorporated a digital information platform aimed at offering information about existing sustainable mobility options for companies and their employees in the Leiedal area. The project uncovered mobility-related gaps in the area and resulted in the desire for professional coaching to guide employees toward tailor-made smart mobility solutions. Leiedal plans to use this information and expand the idea of mobility coaching not only for commercial use, but also for public use, like schools. Currently, Leiedal is in the conceptual phase of the program and is looking for partners to support the idea.
Does Leiedal plan to incorporate mobihubs in the future?
The short answer is yes, Leiedal does plan to introduce mobihubs (or mobipunt, as it is known in Flanders) in municipalities in the future. Leiedal is confident in the success of mobihubs in the future because the idea often appeals to policy makers as it visualizes sustainable and shared mobility as an essential part of the public domain, and links with other important aspects such as accessibility and visual quality. Leiedal has an array of success stories to share at their disposal from pilot sites in Bremen, Germany and Bergen, Norway. Currently, the concept is being translated to the specific context of the Leiedal-region (for example: what does a mobipunt looks like in a business park, in a smaller city center, and so forth) and plans to advance in the near future.
Any other interesting projects or news that you would like to share?
Leiedal is pleased to share a new project with Autodelen.net together with the Belgian Ministry of the Environment called the Local Climate Project on Regional Shared Mobility, which aims to improve climate and create liveable cities by decreasing private car ownership and usage by offering shared mobility as an alternative. The consortium’s first meeting is in a few weeks. In this project, the goal is to work together (smaller municipalities & larger cities working together, which was originally inspired by Bremen) to expand and develop shared mobility, thus offering a wide variety of shared mobility services for inhabitants and introducing shared mobility in less evident locations.