Governing mobility and logistics in and around Antwerp

4 Aug 2022

Governing mobility and logistics in and around Antwerp

Image: The Sint-Annatunnel in Antwerp / Unsplash

Who decides which tram line to build? Who evaluates its success? How do decision-makers communicate with those working on the ground? How do mobility operators from neighbouring areas work together to ensure a smooth flow of communications, as well as traffic? The answers to these questions can influence whether a city is on its way towards zero-carbon mobility or whether it is stuck on the tracks. On 23 – 24 May 2022 SUMP-PLUS partners, Sciences Po - Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics, and the City of Antwerp, addressed these topics in detail at the workshop they co-hosted in Antwerp, which focussed on mobility governance arrangements in the City of Antwerp. Experts from Antwerp Transport Region and The City of Antwerp  attended, providing essential input for the discussions on how to facilitate improved joint working structures with neighbouring
suburban/peri-urban administrative areas.

The workshop began with a presentation from moderator Charlotte Halpern, Sciences Po, on the SUMP-PLUS Project, the work achieved on governance and capacity building (WP3), and the summary of findings related to the City of Antwerp, including barriers to policy making. Key challenges addressed during the workshop included the unequal distribution of the mobility budget and institutional competition between different levels of government - in particular between federal, regional and local climate goals that significantly vary in terms of carbon reduction aims and claims. As it turns out, this competition limits the ability to effectively develop joint planning and implementation at the intermunicipal level. In addition, the inter-organizational cooperation with transport companies responsible for public transport, railways and the port area, also remains limited.

To address these challenges, the hosts organised interactive sessions with two different groups working on different scenarios: one focussed on shared mobility and the aim of achieving carbon neutrality; and the other focussed on the implementation of a sustainable urban logistics plan. The exercise created an opportunity for the attendees to redefine the relationship between the stakeholders and how they interact with each other to find more concrete solutions for sustainable mobility.

The participants felt they would be able to overcome the challenges discussed by facilitating joint working with neighbouring suburban/peri-urban administrative areas that do not have official competence with respect to mobility, and between local and metropolitan authorities to strengthen trust and foster political legitimacy.

The workshop results will feed into the up-coming SUMP-PLUS report D3.3 on the role of governance and capacity building in transition pathways.

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