3rd Biennial Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE)
Transitions Towards a Sustainable Europe: Ecology - Economy - Policy ESEE 2000
May 3-6, 2000, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, Austria

Sustainable Mobility Scenarios for the Brussels-Capital Region:
Socio-Economic Factors and Air Pollution Analysis

Paul Safonov 1, 2, *, Vincent Favrel 1, and Walter Hecq 1

1 Centre for Economic and Social Studies on the Environment (CEESE),
Free University of Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles - ULB),
44 Avenue Jeanne, CP 124, Brussels, B-1050, Belgium.
Tel: +32 2 650-3588, Fax: +32 2 650-4691
E-mail: PSafonov@ulb.ac.be

2 Institute of Control Sciences (ICS), Russian Academy of Sciences,
and ISEE Russian Chapter
65 Profsoyuznaya, Moscow, 117806, Russia.
E-mail: Paul.Safonov@ipu.rssi.ru

* corresponding author


Aggravation of traffic intensity and air pollution in urban areas is urging the studies on strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of transportation networks and the integration of land-use planning with transport-environment concerns.

Road traffic in the Brussels-Capital Region has been continuously increasing during the last decade. The reasons of this trend lie mainly in the urban exodus, the employment increase in the Brussels area and its peripheral region, and the continuously increasing population motorization rate. Recent studies (IRIS, 1993) predict the complete saturation of the road network before the year 2005 in the Belgian capital.

The assessment of the impacts of this road traffic increase on the environment in general, and on air quality, in particular, helps not only to evaluate the actual situation but also to assess the possible effects of measures towards a more sustainable transport system as an important element of the regional sustainable development.

While considering the impacts of air pollution (e.g. in terms of building deterioration, health effects, climate change, etc.), the general approach associates to traffic a sequence based on the five following steps: human activities, emissions, immissions, physical impacts and external costs. This is the classical approach namely used in major studies such as ExternE (European Commission, 1995) for the assessment of externalities in the energy sector and which has recently been updated for its application to the transport sector.

The paper presents a study undertaken by the Centre for Economic and Social Studies on the Environment (CEESE) of Free University of Brussels (ULB), within a project to analyse the ecological aspects of mobility induced by major regional policy options for the case study of Brussels-Capital region. The research project is financed by the Administration of the Brussels-Capital Region and the Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs (OSTC) of the Belgian Prime Minister Services.

The assessment is based on the Regional Land Use Plan ("P.R.A.S") and the Regional Mobility Plan (Plan "IRIS"), and focused on residential areas and office relocation and expansion, development of transportation networks, modal shift, parking, and other urban policies. Substantial presence of European and international organisations and businesses in the city and its heterogeneous population structure are also taken into account.

For the purposes of such analysis a system of models for regional sustainable development is being developed, including:

  1. Demographic forecasts of dynamics of population and employment in Brussels-Capital region, in accordance to different economic and urban development scenarios. Such forecasts are based on: indicators of economic development by main sectors of activities and respective demand for labor resources; general birth rate and population dynamics; trends and shifts in population and labor resources structure; spatial distribution of the population in the region.
  2. Dynamic model to provide scenarios of macroeconomic development of main sectors, representing the economy of Brussels-Capital region. By means of such a model it is possible to simulate the behaviour of main economic indicators, including sector-based structure of gross and net product, and related capital assets and labour resources. Such scenarios can be used to estimate, from one side, the demand in buildings (including offices) and workers in each economic sector, and from the other side, to study the influence of economic activities and related office relocation and expansion on mobility.
  3. Mobility model, providing scenarios of public and private traffic in the region, according to different origin-destination matrices, generated on the basis of the socio-economic calculations (stages 1 and 2 above) and office stock modeling. Offices relocation modelling, tackles, among others, the following specific aspects:
  4. For transportation network analysis the latest version of the TRIPS software package is used, which provides powerful tools for assignment and graphical presentation. TRIPS is a set of inter-related modules icluding: Highway Assessment, Public Transport Assignment, Demand Modeling, Matrix Estimation, TRIPS Graphics, TRIPS Manager (a graphical project management tool).
  5. A model linking mobility and air pollution. The focus is on emission of CO2, CO, NOx, SO2, VOC, particulate matter, and on consumption of non-renewable fuel. Road traffic emissions are assessed using the COPERT III methodology, taking into consideration new European/Belgian regulations on vehicles. Emissions from other activities (such as domestic and office heating) are taken into account on the basis of statistical data and suitable emission factors in relation with economic and meteorological data.
  6. In the final stage, as part of the «Sustainable mobility in the Brussels-Capital Region» project CEESE-ULB is currently developing a methodology for the assessment of the physical effects and external costs caused by air pollution generated by road traffic in an urban area.
According with the data collected, the calibration of the model developed was performed to adjust parameters of cost functions, emission coefficients and other important controls of the models system.

Simulations are based on different groups of assumptions and targets for the policy making in the Brussels-Capital region, in particular, for: - urban/regional planning in the long term perspective, - transport policy in the urban area and its surroundings, - offices stock and market development, - regulations on vehicles use, and the forecasts of the vehicles park composition, - road taxation and other environmental instruments.

Possible scenarios for improvement of the policy making in regional and urban planning in order to reduce the ecological pressure are discussed.

* * *

Theme Aa: Regional Sustainable Development
Contributed Session Aa3: Environmental management on a Regional Level
Time of presentation: Friday, 5 May 2000, 17:15-18:45
Location: S1

Paper number: 154


P. Safonov, V. Favrel and W. Hecq, Environmental Impacts of Mobility and Urban Development: A Case Study of the Brussels-Capital Region, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Ecosystem Health, Sacramento, CA, USA, August, 1999. 

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