Tag Archive: commute

  1. Research: Analysis of initial speed pedelec usage for commuting purposes in Flanders

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    Source: Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives

    New research by Herteleer et al. provides insight into commuter patterns in Flanders, Belgium

    The full research paper may be accessed here. The abstract below provides a synopsis of the researchers’ findings:

    “Speed pedelecs, pedal-powered two-wheelers with motor assistance up to 45 km/h, are relatively new vehicles for active travel on European roads, with Flanders at the forefront of adoption. Policies by European and national entities have allowed speed pedelecs to be used, yet the policies have been based on assumptions and modelling about speeds reached, rather than measured data. This paper presents an analysis of naturalistic speed pedelec behaviour by 98 individuals at 10 companies in Flanders, who logged commuting and leisure rides with smartphone GPS during three-week test periods as part of the 365SNEL project using fifteen-speed pedelecs, ranging in motor power from 250 W to 800 W. The cruising speed, the speed at which the largest distance is covered, and the 95th percentile (P95) speed (as a realistic maximum speed) are proposed as Key Performance Indicators to better evaluate speed pedelec behaviour. Cruising speeds for men were consistently higher than for women (mean values: men 38.2 km /h, women 33.5 km /h). For all participants, the mean commuting P95 speed of 40.1 km/h is 5 km/h below the expected 45 km/h, which points to potential over-regulation of speed pedelecs according to their expected maximum speed. Contrasting logged commuting cycling trips with leisure trips indicates that speed pedelecs can be characterised by their speed metrics, regardless of their travel purpose. Policymakers can therefore facilitate active travel with its commensurate physical and mental health benefits by investing in and designating routes for higher-speed (active) travel, and conversely reserve other routes for slower travel modes.

  2. Belgian (e)cycling commuters can earn up to € 0.25 per km

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    As of 1 January 2022, commuters in Belgium who use a cycle, electric cycle or speed pedelec may receive up to € 0.25. Last year, the maximum allowance was € 0.24. “May” because there is no legal obligation for the employer to pay this extra. Recently however, the trade unions and employers in the joint committee for clerks, which covers 350,000 employees, agreed on a compulsory cycling allowance. The quarter Euro per km is free of tax and social security. Not all employers offer this maximum. If you work for Flanders Education you only get € 0.15, whilst the Flemish Region pays € 0.21.

    In 2021, COVID-19 resulted in less cycling for commuting than in 2020 and in 2019, pre-corona. SD Worx, the biggest wage calculator in Belgium, was able to conclude this from the wage calculations of employees in the private sector. The decrease is mainly due to white-collar workers, who often had to work from home. There is a slight increase among labourers. The average amount per cyclist increased. From this SD Worx infer that especially those who live further from work continued to cycle to work in 2021.

    In recent years there has been a constant increase in Belgium in the number of cycling employees who benefit from the cycling allowance. Their numbers peak during the summer months and decrease during the winter months. They still prefer to cycle in ideal weather conditions. The SD Worx data only concerns employees who (partly) commute by (e)cycle and effectively receive the allowance. The total number of cycling commuters is probably much higher. The year 2020 started as a strong ‘cycling year’, but eventually there was a decline, which continued into 2021.

    Veerle Michiels, mobility expert at SD Worx: “In 2021, one in seven employees (14%)  received the cycling allowance. That is a decrease of one third: pre-corona it was almost one in four (22%). The median amount per cyclist per year increased from €73.92 in 2019 to €91.20 in 2020. However, it fell again to €76.80 (for the first 8 months of 2021). The allowance is a great incentive to get employees on their (e)cycles.

    Last year, the province of Eastern Flanders had the highest number of (e)cycling commuters with an allowance, i.e. 23%. The decrease was the worst in the province of Flemish Brabant, from 18.5% (2019) to 8.7%, whilst in Brussels it dropped from 11.8% to 6.7%. The (e)cycling allowance is a lot less popular in the Walloon area, where only 10% of the employers participate. Overall, the measure is best established among large companies and the least common among companies with less than 20 employees.

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