Sustainable Airport Mobility Plan raises the bar


An airport is a dynamic environment where it is essential to plan for the future to make in-depth, targeted decisions and point the way forward for the years to come. This is needed for all developments, e.g. airside operations, landside developments, spatial planning, terminal processes and accessibility and mobility services.

Over the last decades, sustainable urban mobility plans have become the mainstream of transport policy agendas in cities and regions across Europe. These plans address major mobility challenges such as congestion, pollution, traffic safety, on-street parking and the integration of new mobility services. Many of these challenges are very similar to those airports are facing when it comes to accessibility and mobility for passengers and employees.

The Sustainable Airport Mobility Plan of Brussels Airport provides a technical and policy strategy for coordinated and balanced development of the accessibility of the airport and the mobility services for passengers, employees, visitors and logistical flows.

The SAMP provides a description of the current situation. An analysis has been conducted on all existing mobility services and means of access to the airport, namely: walking, cycling, trains, public transport buses, intercity buses, carpooling, rental cars, shared mobility, ordered transport/cars, and private motorized transport in order to assess the following aspects:

  • Sustainability/accessibility
  • Integration
  • Customer experience
  • Safety and security
  • Sense of place
  • Future proofing
  • Inclusivity
  • Share in the Modal Split

This assessment, which rated the above aspects from “poor” to “good”, also evaluated the level of investment currently being made for each mode of transport, and formulated recommendations that lay the necessary foundation for the realisation of an intermodal hub that efficiently interconnects and optimizes traffic flows at the airport. Its main findings are summarized below:

  • Need for increased investments in sustainable walking solutions (last mile): Vertical circulation infrastructure for pedestrians needs to be enhanced, particularly for connections to public transportation. This is in line with the scope of the intermodal hub, which covers first to last mile travel.
  • Importance of aligning the timetables of train and bus services to the airport’s rhythm: Establishing a coherent alignment between the airport’s operation with bus and train schedules will further stimulate passengers to use public transport modes and accelerate the modal shift.
  • Improving the integration of mobility solutions: Providing clear wayfinding and ease of changing from one means of transport to another. This is particularly the case for the intercity bus stands, which are disconnected from the airport terminal.

Additionally, an analysis was performed on the current state of mobility at the airport through consultations with internal and external stakeholders, which helped pinpoint areas of improvement. This assessment highlighted the need to resolve a.o. congestion and bottlenecks of the road network, the need for a HST connection, a luggage solution and the importance of optimized and adapted public transportation solutions.

During the process of developing the first version of the SAMP the dialogue with the stakeholders (internal and external) helped to list a range of measures and prioritise them based on the overall goal: to provide and support comfortable, reliable, smart, and sustainable transportation options and mobility solutions for all stakeholders of Brussels Airport, including passengers, staff, commuters, and visitors.

The first measures are now being implemented and others are well on their way to be deployed in the next years. Developments at the airport point the right direction: toward a sustainable, social and customer-friendly mobility.

Author: Elke Bossaert, Accessibility Manager Brussels Airport Company


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