2015 was a year of record traffic jams

The motoring organisation Touring Mobilis has released new startling figures in relation to the scale of the traffic jam problem in Belgium. Last year for over 1,200 hours there were jams of over 100 kilometres on Belgian roads. This works out at over 50 days.

On seven occasions the length of traffic jams on Belgian roads peaked over 400 kilometres; on 46 occasions the peak was above 300 km.

For many years now the morning and evening rush hours have been getting busier. Today also out of peak hours are plagued by traffic jams. Commuters go in search of journey times that are shorter and this means that the morning rush hour is being extended to 11AM or even 12AM.

Stretches of road that didn't used to be plagued by traffic jams are now also experiencing this unpleasant phenomenon e.g. the Ghent ring road and the Roeselare-Bruges motorway.

Days with over 300 km of jams used to be concentrated in the winter, but have now been extended to all times of the year. Often road works are the result of jams during off-peak periods.

Saturation is the main cause of the increased number of jams. Belgians are not travelling more, but more people are on the roads. In 1985 Belgians covered 46 billion kilometres, while by 2012 this had risen to 83 billion.

Half of all jams are concentrated on the ring roads around Brussels and Antwerp. The challenge here is to increase capacity. In addition further investments in public transport are required. It's on the cards that road charging that has already been introduced for lorries will have to be extended to cars.