With the aid of Spatial Model Flanders (RuimteModel Vlaanderen), VITO calculates the impact of changes in our land use. That knowledge is essential in a region that has less and less available space at its disposal. In 2014, VITO researchers developed a modified version of the model for the French railroads.
The Flemish government has been developing a new Flanders Spatial Policy since 2011, as successor to the Spatial Structure Plan Flanders. The horizon of the new plan is 2050, but the content has not yet been established. Spatial Model Flanders, developed by VITO, helps the government to chart several spatial scenarios for the new policy. The Spatial Model starts with the existing content and functions, but takes demographic and economic trends into account when making predictions, along with possible developments in terms of transport, energy and nature.
Recently, the Spatial Model found a second application. The French rail network provider Réseau Ferré de France (RFF) is planning to construct a TGV connection between Marseille and northern Italy. It will pass by the Côte d'Azur and several valuable nature reserves. Through a sophisticated spatial model, RFF wants to investigate the best sites to locate stations and the environmental impact of this new railway. VITO's Spatial Model was found to be the most suitable instrument for this task.
VITO collects data for the Spatial Model and subsequently applies those data and equips the model with a ready-for-use interface for clients and stakeholders. In spring 2015, VITO will demonstrate the first versions of the Spatial Model for the TGV connection in France.