Structural Challenges in Soft Mobility

The issues around mobility in Belgium provide definite opportunities to further invest in infrastructure for soft road users. Achieving larger networks or improving the accessibility of urban environments for vulnerable road users are major challenges in our society. Pedestrian and bicycle bridges are hereby important landmark projects, radiating dynamism and representing a clear invitation for soft road users. This manifests itself not only in the design or in a successful integration in its environment or in the materials or details that are used, but also in the structural concepts being considered. Footbridges and bicycle bridges are lighter, but must still be suitable for current and future users. In Belgium, this infrastructure has entered the spotlight recently. The initiated projects, from all regions in Belgium, are numerous. The timely realisation of this entire infrastructure is after all very important.

With the organization of this seminar, the Belgian Group of IABSE wanted to launch an exchange of opinions and ideas, using a wide range of differing positions, views and ideas concerning the existing policies, architectural trends concerning pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, the development of such projects and some international examples.

The program consisted of lectures, presentations and discussions, offering a broad perspective on the entire theme of stadiums. Starting from policy views and needs, it further elaborated on the conceptual and architectural implementation and integration of these bridges in the environment and in society. The comfort requirements and creativity in the use of materials was discussed. Various structural solutions for pedestrian and bicycle bridges were explained on the basis of recent national and international designs or realisations. Finally, the evolution of soft mobility was discussed in the short as well as the long term.

Representatives from the academic sector, students, engineering offices, construction companies, consultants and inspection organizations as well as public and private owners were present.

The program also offered opportunities for questions and for discussion, thus stimulating numerous reactions and valuable comments.

Based on the contributions, presented by the speakers, each participant left the seminar, filled with interesting thoughts and stimulated for further discussion.

Some impressions of the successful seminar: