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Introducing a commute-energy performance index for Flanders

By Kobe Boussauw and Frank Witlox

Abstract

Based on 2001-census data for Belgium, energy consumption levels for commuting were calculated and mapped on the basis of residential locations in the administrative regions of Flanders and Brussels. Comparison with regional differentiations in commuting distances, modal shares of non-car travel modes and aspects of infrastructure and population densities clarifies some relationships between energy consumption, commuting behaviour and spatial-economic structure in the suburbanised historic-polycentric spatial structure which characterises the northern part of Belgium. It is found that mode choice appears to be of little impact for the energy performance of home-to-work travel on the scale of the Flanders region. At the other hand, proximity between home and work locations is paramount. Residential density plays a part in this, although much depends on the specific situation. This is also the case for the accessibility of the main road and rail network. In some regions these infrastructures induce long-distance commuting, whereas in the economic core areas this effect is much less pronounced. All these are factors that are very much determined by infrastructural and spatial policies of the past.Sustainable spatial development Commuting Energy performance Flanders

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