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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article25 March 2022

Leuven's journey to climate neutrality through mobility

Despite its relatively small size (just 100,000 inhabitants), Leuven punches way above its weight when it comes to sustainable mobility.

Located 30km from the capital of Brussels, the city is embarking on a journey to become carbon-neutral by 2050, supported by a collaboration between residents, local authorities and the mobility sector.

Indeed, Leuven’s efforts have gained it many awards, including European Capital of Innovation in 2020, as well as the ‘Best Open-Minded Destination in Europe'.

Sustainable mobility has been a major part of the road to carbon neutrality. The city’s new circulation plan, introduced in 2016, pushed out car traffic from the city centre and redesigned public spaces for pedestrians and cyclists to utilize, and this strategy has seen the number of cyclists rise by 40%. This is being championed through the eHubs project, through which on-street locations bringing together e-bikes, e-cargo bikes, e-scooters and/or e-cars, provide a range of sustainable transport options in a single location. This builds on a longer term increase in more sustainable transport use. In the last 20 years, Leuven has also seen a five-fold increase in public transport use.

Climate action is being supported by Leuven 2030, a non-profit organisation created in 2013, in which residents, companies, schools and organisations work together to cut emissions. The collective places residents at the forefront of action. Critically, the board includes representatives from the City’s universities, charities, and youth groups. 

Leuven’s Mayor, Mohamed Ridouani, stated: “It gives people a voice, making sure they can contribute at their while creating a larger sense of doing things together.

This citizen engagement is present across the city. Through the H2020 funded WeCount project, residents have been at the forefront of measuring air quality, through road traffic counting sensors mounted on participating households’ windows.

Sustainable logistics has also been high on the agenda for Leuven, with shared e-cargo bikes being piloted and integrated into urban freight, supporting local businesses- while reducing congestion and carbon emissions.

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Details

Publication date
25 March 2022
Topic
Mobility management
Country
Belgium