KU Leuven: KU Leuven Institute for Mobility answers mobility issues of today and tomorrow

“A lot of research is done on mobility at KU Leuven, but we noticed that we were all looking for solutions for parts of the problem,” says Professor Pieter Vansteenwegen, director of the institute. “However, mobility is a very varied subject with different angles. The Institute for Mobility ensures that we can create an overview and collaborate on this theme, all from our own expertise.”

Mobility is a social issue with a different impact on many different target groups. A transdisciplinary team can take into account the diversity of players so that solutions are not only an improvement for one user or provider, but that optimization is done from different points of view. “A good example are the circulation plans that are being drawn up in more and more cities to make the city center car-free and to opt for sustainable transport in a liveable environment. That is a very good idea, but you should also look at, for example, older residents or visitors who have difficulties with digitization or the use of public transport and may see their freedom of movement deteriorate as a result,” says Professor Vansteenwegen.

“The Institute for Mobility wants to bring different interests together so that innovations are not only an improvement for ‘the man in the street’ but also for children, wheelchair patients, providers of (public) transport, logistics players, … We strive for an improvement of quality for everyone,” adds Professor Thérèse Steenberghen, research manager of the institute.

“For example, in a first project we are developing a game that is used by policymakers as well as providers of public transport, specific target groups and cities and municipalities. By playing the game in different contexts and with multiple target groups, we learn what needs and opportunities there are in different future scenarios and how these impact each other”, says Professor Steenberghen.

The KU Leuven Institute for Mobility is certainly not only looking for solutions for the situation today, but also thinks about tomorrow’s society. “Mobility evolves very quickly and investments have to be made thoughtfully so that renewed infrastructure is future-proof . With the institute we want to anticipate changes that are yet to come and help ensure a sustainable future,” concludes Professor Vansteenwegen.

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