Fontys University of Applied Sciences
In recent years, Fontys has experienced significant growth in terms of its number of students, employees and locations.
This has made accessibility a constant challenge. Based on a mobility agenda, Fontys has taken measures to improve the accessibility of its campuses.
Modes of transport and allowances
Fontys currently has about 4,700 employees, of which 58% take the car to work, 26% commute by bike or on foot, and 15% travel with public transport. Employees can use an OV chipkaart or claim expenses for single tickets for business travel. They receive a commuting allowance of € 0.24 per kilometre, but parking is not reimbursed. The 45,000 students prefer the following modes of transport: public transport (53%), bicycle or on foot (30%), and car (15%).
Relatively high degree of car use
The desire to develop a mobility policy was prompted by the declining accessibility of the major campuses in particular. These 12 locations, featuring 30 school buildings, are not all near a station, and the growing number of students was starting to lead to bottlenecks. In an exploratory study, Fontys sought to link employees' preferred mode of transport to their travel distance, learning that 27% of employees with a commute of less than 7.5 kilometres took the car. Ronald Timmermans, Real Estate advisor and programme director for mobility: 'The key reason for this is that we don't have any parking restrictions.'
The aforementioned figures represent the situation as it was in June 2016. Since September 2016, employees have received a full commuting allowance for public transport, and Fontys has started offering its employees more options to buy a bike. The car allowance for employees who have to commute more than 10 kilometres will remain in place, but the allowance for shorter distances will be gradually phased out over the space of 3 years.
At the end of September, we drew up a mobility plan based on 3 lines of policy.
- The 1st line is that good accessibility is essential for the continuity of education. Timmermans: 'That means that we will take action in locations that aren't sufficiently accessible.'
- The 2nd line is all about socially responsible mobility, which means that we would rather have people walk, take the bike or take public transport to school', says Timmermans.
- The 3rd line emphasises structural accessibility. For each of its locations, Fontys will explore the best possible way to get there.
Should the policy and all its stimulating measures fail to lead to the desired result, Fontys still has one final ace up its sleeve: paid parking. In the context of the mobility agenda, a parking policy was developed in 2017. Timmermans: 'We will not be adding any new parking spaces, so paid parking will have to be introduced in locations that don't have sufficient capacity.' Fontys is also working on alternative modes of transport, developing a carpooling app, for instance, and scheduling a regular bus service between Kaldenkirchen and its Venlo campus.
An external advisory firm guided the education institution through the process of developing its mobility vision, and Fontys also outsourced the organisation and admin involved with the public transport subscriptions. Van den Hout: 'We asked several parties to put in a bid. Ultimately, we opted for the party recommended to us by NS, and so far we couldn't be more satisfied.'