The city of Ghent which elected a ‘green’ mayor in the last elections is turning to the bicycle as the preferred method of transport in the old medieval city.
A large-scale mobility survey undertaken in the East-Flemish capital questioned 2,200 people in the Ghent area. The people were between 10 and 80 years old and were asked about their habits where means of transport are concerned. They kept records throughout the years which allowed researchers to compare transport habits through time.
Since the year 2000, the number of local residents taking the bike to go out has gone up by 8% compared to a 5% rise for car transport.
According to the survey, 650,000 trips are being made each day as people are getting around in the city. The figure is 13% up, mainly due to the growing population. In 48% of the cases, people take the car, followed by the bicycle (22%), going by foot (14%) or public transport (10%).
Almost 50% of the Ghent residents cover distances under 3 km by bicycle. Tthe Ghent Alderman for Mobility, Filip Watteew (Flemish greens) estimates that there is still room for improvement. “We see that 60% of the distances that are covered, don’t exceed 5 km. This is a distance that can also be covered by bicycle.”