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Mobility survey: more car journeys and less train journeys – even after the pandemic

‘Of course, we anticipated that the pandemic would significantly influence the results of the survey. But it is still a useful exercise’, says analyst and co-curator of the survey, Johan Feld. ‘Some obvious but still remarkable findings were, for example, that the people who continued to work outside their home were very satisfied with the accessibility of Zuidas. And that more people travelled by car than by public transport. One less obvious result was that three quarters of respondents would like to continue working from home even after the pandemic, between 1 and 3 days a week on average.’

1,100 respondents

Every year, the Zuidas Accessibility Task Force, in partnership with From A to Zuidas, commissions the Zuidas Mobility Survey. Anybody who works, studies or lives in Zuidas can take part. A total of 1,100 people answered the questions for this edition of the survey, 90% of whom work in Zuidas. Those participants who are still regularly travelling to work in Zuidas rate their trip to Zuidas with an average score of 7.6. That is higher than in previous years (7.1). The ratings given by cyclists and motorists were also relatively high. This was due to the quieter roads (with 30% less traffic on average). During the pandemic, most respondents are travelling to Zuidas by car, while in previous years train was the most popular mode of transport. The share of train passengers is expected to be lower after the pandemic than it was before it (from 40% to 34%). By contrast, people are more likely to use the car (from 21% to 24%).

Looking forward

Over three-quarters of employees who drive to work by car have a parking space provided by their employer. The remainder park their car on the street or in a public parking garage. After the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, 24% of workers are expected to travel to Zuidas by car. That’s more than before the pandemic. So what will happen when the roads get busier again? ‘It’s difficult to predict how people will respond to increased traffic levels’, says Feld. ‘What we at the municipality will do with this information is enter into discussions with companies and persuade them to provide fewer parking spaces. For example, they could convert some of those places into spaces for bicycles. We also want to persuade travellers to use public transport again. Or to travel by bicycle instead of by car, by focusing on the health benefits of cycling for example. In that respect, the results of this survey are a starting point for promoting desirable, sustainable and healthy behaviours.’

Potential solutions

The high proportion of people working from home stands out for the year 2020. Only 20% continued to travel to Zuidas for work. Once the pandemic is over, 75% want to work from home for between 1 and 3 days a week (24%: 1 day; 34%: 2 days; 17%: 3 days). The survey also shows that working hours between 8:30 and 17:30 continue to be the most common. The participants were asked whether they would be prepared to travel at different times to usual, and about half of them said yes. ‘An interesting finding, because that is exactly where we could make progress’, says Feld. ‘If people aren’t all travelling to Zuidas at the same time, during the rush hour, and some people are working from home more often, Zuidas will immediately be much more accessible. It has also been shown that people do not necessarily have to do all their work at the office. So this is exactly the right time for the municipality, together with companies, to take a good look at working hours, office visits, travel behaviour during the rush hour and the use of modes of transport other than the car.’

The full report can be found here (in Dutch).

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