For years, Belgium has held the record of the number of traffic jams. A record that we keep breaking and which begins leaving us with an unbearable hangover. Especially for our companies, mobility is becoming a growing issue that causes losses. Just think of increasing fuel costs, lost work hours due to traffic jams, increasing stress, dissatisfaction, staff absenteeism, etc.
Nearly 70% of the employees uses the (company) car for commuting. Of course, this is not the only cause of congestion on the roads: there is also room for improvement with regard to transportation of goods and infrastructure. But if we could reduce the use of (company) cars, we are already taking a step in the right direction: a few less % cars on the road already leads to a noticeable reduction of traffic jams.
This means it would be best if we started looking for a way that causes transport to be spread across the different types of transport. The mobility budget offers this possibility. This is a budget with which the employee can determine for himself which (combination of) mode(s) of transportation is most suited for them within their own personal situation. Is it a company car? No problem. But is it easier to combine a car with a bicycle or with a subscription for the public transport? Then this should be possible as well without the employer drowning in all sorts of administrative and (para)fiscal regulations.
In other words: it is high time for a mobility budget! A budget with which all advantages that now go hand in hand with a company car are extended to other types of transportation. Will this contribute to a reduced use of cars? Most certainly. This is illustrated in a research from the VIM (Flemish Institute of Mobility, now Expertise Center Smart Mobility at AMS), in which employees from more than 50 were questioned and an analysis of more than 30 companies was carried out.
Theoretical mobility budget
Within this frame, 123 employees from 12 different companies used a theoretical mobility budget for a period of 6 to 12 months. What did this show? That 45% of the test subjects indeed started using different modes of transport. As an indication, that number sure is impressive. But even more so: when we asked the participants whether they would alter their mode of transportation if the unused part of the mobility budget was paid to them on top of their wages, respectively 39 to 56% replied positively.
The leasing companies sure understood the message. Apart from cars, they start offering different modes of transportation more often and they offer tools that facilitate applying these new ways of transportation for employers and employees. In other words, the market is more than ready for it. Now the government has to follow. Therefore, we would like to extend this call to action: alter the complex (para)fiscal regulations to an easier system that does not generate superfluous administration.
Our project offers very concrete suggestions for this. Based on the first simulations, it already appears that such a mobility budget can lead to a win-win-win for the employer, the employee, and the government.
This article was published in Het Belang van Limburg.