Beating flemish traffic queues

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Many employees live a long way from their workplace. The complex daily operation of getting to and from work - with the car playing a central role - is like the painstaking daily rehearsal of a classical danser. Every day the 2.5 million inhabitants of the Flemish region who commute contribute to increasing pollution, road accidents, and traffic jams. About 70% of these journeys are made by car. Yet 27% of people live less than 5 km from their place of work -- an incentive to organise things better in order to create a faster and more sustainable alternative. The Flemish shuttle plan and its associated fund aim to reduce the traffic jams in an ambitious project to promote sustainable commuter travel. The project began in 2005 and the goal is to reduce the share of cars in commuter traffic from 70% to 60% by 2010. The share of public transport and bicycles should increase by at least 20%. Max Mobiel offers shuttle services by bus or bicycle. In 2008, this organisation, whose stated aim is to 'bring work nearer', transported an average of 250 commuters per day, with peaks of 400 people a day.

Altogether, the Max Mobiel buses clocked up over a million sustainable kilometres, saving nearly 200 tonnes of CO2. In Ghent, the VegHO association brings together almost 90% of businesses around the port. Other associations are being formed to promote sustainable mobility, for example Drongen1, De Prijkels, in Nazareth, with De Zaubeek. These companies are not interested solely in the economic aspects of the project. Sustainability is now an indispensable part of business policy. Goods transport can also gain from better management, even leaving aside the reduction in CO2 emissions and microparticles, social advantages in the form of savings on household bills, taxation, and health. Info:www.portofgent.be ; www.deprijkels.be ; www.pomov.be ; www.zaubeek.be; www.drongen1.be (milieuDirect, Belgium, www.kluwer.be/kluwer/home.asp?doelid=3).

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