With no traffic, and just a handful of passengers on public transport, accessibility of Zuidas hardly seems an issue at the moment. But things were different before lockdown. No one knows how things will develop in the near future, but one thing is certain: we will need to continue to think about the issue of accessibility for Zuidas. The Mobility Survey provides data about travel behaviour that will prove extremely useful. This survey has been conducted four times since 2014, at the initiative of the Zuidas Accessibility Taskforce and the City of Amsterdam. Its aim is to make it possible to take specific measures, based on data, that can help boost accessibility. In 2018 and 2019, this resulted in various experiments aimed at providing an indication of what will help to improve accessibility and make travel more sustainable. They included ‘E-bike try-out’, ‘Park&Bike’, ‘Bike to Work’ and ‘Go Cycling’, all of which were initiatives by participants in the From A to Zuidas (Van A tot Zuidas) platform. Because these were small-scale experiments, they were not widely known about, but the results still offer clues on where progress can be made. People who participated saw the benefits of adopting a different way of travelling and therefore show more than average willingness to change their travel behaviour. This offers the prospect of more sustainable accessibility in the future.
Mobility Survey provides data for changes in travel behaviour
If Zuidas is to remain accessible, there will need to be investments in the transport infrastructure. Zuidasdok is one example of that. But influencing the way people travel will also be part of the solution. The 2019 Mobility Survey (Mobiliteitsonderzoek 2019) provides a wealth of information for both of these.
Train most popular
So, what does the 2019 Mobility Survey reveal? A wealth of information and insights about ways of travelling, willingness to change and satisfaction with modes of transport. In 2019, 36% of people working or studying in Zuidas arrived by train, making it the most popular mode of transport. In 2014, that figure was 30%. Students make a significant contribution to the popularity of the train. Of all students (just under 23,000), more than half travelled to and from Zuidas by train. After that came (electric) bikes (25%), quickly followed by cars (23%). The proportion of electric bikes was still relatively small in 2019 (4%) but was twice the 2018 figure. It appears that this increase was at the expense of conventional bikes.
One or more modes of transport
Roughly half of all travellers used a single mode of transport to get to and from Zuidas. The other half travelled part of their journey on another form of transport. This primarily concerned train passengers, who cycle or drive to the station first. Car drivers mainly used the bike, bus, metro or tram to complete the final part of their journeys.
At first glance, travellers to and from Zuidas do not appear to show much loyalty to their mode of transport: in 2019, just 30% always used the same transport. However, it appears that alternative modes of transport are only used occasionally in reality. Only 5% of cyclists and car drivers said they regularly or frequently opt for an alternative and that figure was 7% for people travelling by bus, metro or tram.
Up to 10 km, the bicycle is the main mode of transport to Zuidas. Electric bikes are popular up to 15 km. Between 15 and 20 km, most people travel by bus, metro or tram. The train and the car are the most popular modes of transport for longer distances. Interestingly, as many as 1/4 of all commuters travelling to Zuidas from up to 10 km away still use the car. The bike would be an excellent alternative for this group. This is therefore an area in which great gains can be achieved in terms of improving the accessibility of Zuidas and making travel more sustainable.
Of all those for whom the car is the main mode of transport, 75% park at a parking location made available by their employer. The rest use public parking facilities and 35% of this group have the costs refunded by their employer.
On average, people working in Zuidas in 2019 gave their trip to and from Zuidas a score of 7.1 out of 10. This figure has remained relatively unchanged since 2014. The satisfaction of car drivers has dipped slightly since 2018 (to 6.7). Mainly thanks to the North/South metro line, satisfaction with the bus, tram and metro increased from 6.4 to 7.2.
Like elsewhere, most people in Zuidas tend to work from 09.00 until 17.00. Commuters and students generally arrive between 07.30 and 09.30 and return home between 16.30 and 18.30. Interestingly, almost half of the people travelling during these periods would be willing to adjust their working hours and avoid the peak. This would hugely improve accessibility in Zuidas.
The data collected can be used to initiate new mobility measures. This will make it possible to entice people to change their travel behaviour by region or by sector. The MaaS (Mobility as a Service) initiative, in which Zuidas is one of the seven national pilot projects, also provides interesting information about travel behaviour for the mobility survey. This service is expected to be available to download from the app store by the end of this year.