Hasselt (Belgium)

Hasselt is a city of nearly 75,000 inhabitants, located in the Flemish province of Limburg, Belgium. Hasselt is located between the Campine and Hesbaye regions in the middle of the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion.

Modal split for home-work journeys broke down as 73.18 percent for car as driver; 5.11 percent for car as passenger; 11.21 percent for bicycle; 5.1 percent for collective transport; and smaller amounts for walking and motorised two-wheelers.

For home-school journeys, modal split was 35.96 percent for bicycle; 29.77 percent for car as driver; 5.59 percent for car as passenger; 18.99 percent for collective transport; 7.89 percent for walking; and small amounts for motorised two wheelers.

Hasselt was the first city in the world to operate entirely zero-fare bus services on the whole of its territory. However after a run of 16 years, Hasselt intended to reintroduce fares. Starting from January 1, 2014 users between 19 and 65 were to be charged again, although city inhabitants would be eligible for a discount.

It was hoped the restored revenue stream would help with future investments. A planned light-rail service, for example, is due to enter service in 2018. Eventually, the city hopes to develop light rail and a subway system to improve transport links to outlying areas within the Limburg Province. Three lines are envisioned, the first connecting Hasselt and Maastricht. The lines are intended to replace 300 buses while also increasing the frequency of service and shortening travel times.

Hasselt endeavours to continuously improve conditions for urban cycling. It has a programme called I Bike, I Move which helps companies to encourage their employees to commute by bike. Launched in 2009, the programme aimed to get at least 1,000 workers to participate. Bike racks have been set up in the city centre, and City Hall has a special promotion that allows people to borrow unusual sorts of bicycles, including tandems and wheelchair bicycles. This service is free-of-charge during workdays and on Saturday.

The city in 2008 opened a bicycle station, called the Fietspunt, at the rail station. The facility offers secure, sheltered bike parking along with basic services such as repair and bike rentals. This was the first Fietspunt in the province of Limburg.

Hasselt has launched a smart city centre distribution system called City Depot. This enables shippers, distributors and investors to keep heavy goods vehicles outside the city centre and to offer a less noisome alternative. City Depot delivers goods to the city's central shopping area and pedestrian zone by electric trucks and cargo bikes.

In 2013 Hasselt will have its new sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP). After seven years of analysis and discussion, this plan establishes an integrated vision of mobility with the backing of all mobility actors of Hasselt. The plan was worked out with Hasselt's neighbouring city, Genk. The SUMP envisions mobility development to 2040 and perhaps beyond.

Summary updated: August 2013



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