Europ Assistance: “Belgians support sustainable mobility”

Two-thirds or 70% of Belgians are in favor of more sustainable mobility. Not surprisingly, the bicycle is the symbol of soft mobility for most Belgian road users. Plus: Belgians are mainly deterred from buying an electric car by the cost and the lack of charging stations. This is the conclusion of the first mobility barometer of insurance broker Europ Assistance.

In general, 39% of the population is enthusiastic about political decisions concerning sustainable mobility. And almost one in two Belgians (51%) do not consider the number of obligations imposed or envisaged by the Belgian policymakers to promote sustainable mobility excessive. Even more intervention, e.g., abolishing diesel fuel, is wanted.

Future travel

Nevertheless, the Belgians are critical of each other. For example, 70% of citizens believe that Belgians are not making enough effort to move around more sustainably. This fits in with the fact that only 26% of respondents think their actions are good for the planet, including when they travel with a combustion engine.

However, 74% of people think that the transition to sustainable mobility will hinder their future travel.

An electric car? Yes, but…

Ecological considerations are the most crucial motive for buying an electric vehicle (24%). However, Belgians are held back mainly by the cost (77%) and the lack of charging stations (54%). And it is a predictable argument, but Belgians would be more inclined to change their habits if there were more financial incentives and an appropriate infrastructure – including charging stations and more cycle paths.

It should be noted that 35% of respondents are not convinced of the ecological benefits of electric cars, especially among the older age group (42%).

Bicycles symbolize soft mobility for most Belgian road users (76%), followed by walking (70%). Belgians use soft mobility mainly for leisure (61%) and private travel (56%). Only 39% of respondents use soft mobility for work.

Difficult transition

Three in four Belgians (74%) see the promotion of soft mobility, such as the promotion of alternative means of transport, as a possible obstacle to their future daily mobility. More than half of them (53%) say that this transition will be difficult. This applies all the more to the older age group (55+) and people living outside urban areas.

Assistance and Travel Insurance company Europ Assistance notes that the bicycle has a chance to become the mode of transport of the future to which policymakers and the private sector must resolutely commit.

But first, there must be a significant change: in daily life, the car (thermal or electric) remains the most important means of transport for 70% of Belgian households. Dutch speakers use non-electric bicycles more often (38% vs. 13% for French speakers).

The frequency of car use in the city also remains high: one Belgian in three uses the car more than once a week, especially in families with children (37%). This is especially true for French speakers (42% vs. 25% for Dutch speakers).

Challenges for Europ Assistance

To sum up: the current and future challenges for public authorities and the private sector are considerable. The public must be better supported in this sustainable change, both through action on the ground (infrastructure, charging stations…) and through incentives, the company concludes.

The survey was conducted between 15 and 22 December 2021 among 1 005 people living in Belgium.

With this mobility barometer, Europ Assistance will also position itself as a ‘mobility player’ to broaden its customers’ assistance portfolio and take account of changes in their travel patterns.

The company has just moved to new offices in the heart of Brussels, near the central station, rather than on the outskirts of Auderghem. And instead of a company car, most of the 225 employees have access to a Moveasy budget. This multimodal application provides access to different means of transport, both public and private.

The breakdown service for e-vehicles, which are more prone to electronic problems, is one of the challenges facing the assistance company. It also studies the possibility of positioning itself on the insurance and sharing market for private charging stations.

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