Benchmarking summary

In order to learn lessons from experiments carried out in other comparable agglomerations, the approach of six particularly innovative cities that have implemented a global mobility approach as part of an urban quality project was analysed: Barcelona, Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Geneva, Helsinki and Munich. Comparable in terms of size with Brussels, these cities are also major administrative centres and/or home to numerous companies and institutions. They were studied in order to identify what their mobility plans propose in terms of doing more, doing less, doing better, doing differently or doing anew…
The first lessons learnt are as follows:
  • In terms of modal split, Brussels is positioned at the average of the other cities, except for cycling.
  • The current density of the Brussels metro network is at the average of the other cities.
  • Brussels is lagging behind in most of the rankings for transport and the management of urban mobility.
  • The other cities have numerous initiatives that could provide the Brussels-Capital Region with specific inspiration.

Look up (FR)





Gaudi’s city – the second most populous in Spain – combines numerous advantages: a pleasant climate, modern and gothic architecture, a European economic centre, gourmet food and a legendary football club! Rooted in the past but looking to the future, Barcelona has been able to design and implement a clear and relevant mobility plan, maintaining and developing an efficient public transport network while putting more emphasis on walking and cycling. Innovative ‘superblocks’ favour the use of non-motorised transport in public spaces and help channel vehicle traffic.

Key points

1.6 million people (city) / 3.2 million people (metropolitan area)

  • A very clearly presented mobility plan organised around the ‘superblocks’ concept, which does much to restrict the penetration of motor traffic into residential areas
  • A source of inspiration for its clarity of approach, and a source of credibility and encouragement



Located in the department of La Gironde in the midst of a wine-growing region, Bordeaux is also notable for the richness of its cultural, architectural and urban heritage, underlined by its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2007. Several years ago, Bordeaux launched an ambitious development project that focuses on redefining public spaces, pedestrianisation and the reduction of car use in the city centre, and the development of the tram network. These efforts and initiatives have brought about profound changes in urban development and mobility in Bordeaux.

Key points

245,000 people (city) / 750,000 people (metropolitan area)

  • Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • A source of inspiration for the quality of the work done and the cross-disciplinary vision of mobility developed thanks to the participatory approach of the ‘Grenelle des mobilités’ initiative.



Denmark’s capital and largest city is also the country’s cycling capital. A metropolis on a human scale, the royal city accessibly and conveniently combines modernity and tradition, design and nature, culture and architecture. With proactive planning in the field of mobility, supported by excellence in the processes of detailed design work, monitoring and transparency, Copenhagen stands out for its emblematic measures to promote walking and cycling and the excellence of its public transport network.

Key points

550,000 people (city) / 1,750,000 people (capital-region)

  • Green capital of Europe 2014
  • A source of inspiration for its approach focusing on excellence in terms of process, implementation and cycling policy.



To the west of Lake Geneva, where the famous water spout is located, Geneva hosts, among other institutions, the UN, the International Red Cross and the WHO, as well as some magnificent parks, a characterful old city and numerous museums. Just a hundred kilometres from the French and with a distinctive political, linguistic and institutional context, Geneva shares many similarities with Brussels.

In a partisan political climate characterised by fierce debate about mobility in Geneva, the population voted almost 68% in favour of a ‘transport peace deal’ on 5 June 2016, containing more or less coercive measures for each transport mode depending on the urban development issues involved.

Key points

202,000 people (city) / 950,000 people (metropolitan area)

  • A shared vision for 2030
  • A source of inspiration for its pragmatic approach, aimed at ensuring coherence between the needs of the different modes of transport.



As a port city and the capital of Finland, the ‘Daughter of the Baltic’ is set in a protected natural environment amid parks and the small islands along the coast, and boasts art nouveau architecture, creative design and an attractive cultural offering.
The city of Helsinki has tackled the mobility issue with an innovative spirit in two ways: firstly, technology is ubiquitous in its mobility policy; and secondly, Helsinki is the first city in the world to conduct a large-scale trial of the ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS) concept, in which a monthly subscription system provides access to all modes of transport

Key points

600,000 people (city) / 1,350,000 people (metropolitan area)

  • A very transparent environmental analysis
  • A source of inspiration for its innovative approach and the modernity of the solutions developed, in terms of both underlying concept and technical or communication solutions.



As the capital of the state of Bavaria and a city noted for its good living, Munich is a multi-faceted place, with high-tech industries, museums, art galleries, an internationally renowned football team, major economic centre, avant-garde art, beer halls, Oktoberfest and much else.

Although the region is home to BMW, the flagship of the German automobile sector, its mobility policy is very proactive in stemming urban sprawl by means of regional development that emphasises public transport and the ‘neighbourhood city’. This has led to a significant decrease in use of the car.

Key points

1,400,000 people (city) and increasing rapidly / 5,550,000 people (metropolitan area)

  • Concept of the ‘Livable City’
  • A source of inspiration for its cross-disciplinary approach aimed at promoting excellent quality of life.


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