18 Sep 19

Average Belgian company car commute shrinks to 23 km

There may be more and more company car drivers in Belgium, but the distance they drive to work is getting shorter and shorter. Research by Attentia shows that the average commute of Belgian company car drivers has shrunk from 29 km in 2012 to 23 km in 2018. 

The mobility survey, conducted by HR and wellbeing expert Attentia on the occasion of European Mobility Week, also shows that sustainable alternatives to the company car – carpooling and cycling, to name but two - are gaining ground.

Likely factor
Since 2012, the number of Belgian employees with a company car has increased by a third. However, the Attentia study shows, the distance they drive to work has declined, from an average of 29 km in 2012 to just 23 km in 2018. 

Why? “One likely factor explaining the drop in average commutes is that people increasingly want to live closer to their place of work,” says Yves Labeeu, Legal Consultant at Attentia. “For many, this is an important enough issue to determine their choice of employer.” 

Switch modes
Shorter commutes give employees more opportunities to switch modes of transport – to take public transport, or to cycle to work, weather permitting. This also reduces their dependency on the availability of parking spaces. 

Carpooling is one of the alternatives to the ‘classic’ one-person-one-car commute that’s increasingly popular. The average carpooler today has a commute of 34.58 km, an increase of 6.28 km compared to 2012. “This is understandable, as a growing number of companies is organising the carpools for their employees. Both financially and fiscally, it’s a win for both parties,” says Mr Labeeu. 

Remarkable dichotomy
A remarkable dichotomy among carpoolers is the difference in distance travelled by age group:

  • 20-29-year-olds commute an average of 37 km per day; while
  • 50-59-year-olds commute just 30 km per day.

That difference is reversed for company car drivers:

  • 20-29-year-olds commute an average of 18 km; while
  • 50-59-year-olds commute 26 km per day.  

A possible explanation: younger employees are more motivated to travel longer distances via carpool – a trend that skews the results in both categories. 

Gender differences
However, distances travelled via other mobility alternatives to the ‘classic’ car commute remain stable across age groups:

  • Cycling: 15 km
  • Walking: 2 km
  • Using own car: 22 km
  • Public transport: 24 km.

All results have significant gender differences, though: men travel further than women, irrespective of the mode of transport. Blue-collar workers travel longer by cycle, white-collar employees travel longer in their own car, public transport or carpooling. 

Cycling increase
The Attentia study shows a remarkable increase in cycling to work: from 6.5% of all surveyed in 2012 to 9.1% in 2018. 

“This is not surprising: increasingly, employers are offering bicycles, e-bikes or speed pedelecs to their employees via a cafeteria plan. The mobility budget, which has entered into force on March 1st, will encourage even more employers to offer alternative mobility solutions.”

And that’s a good thing, argues Mr. Labeeu: “Cycling to work makes employees healthier and more productive, while reducing their stress levels and receptivity to illness.”

Authored by: Frank Jacobs