Traffic congestion reaches record high

The first six months of this year had more "structural" traffic jams than ever before, i.e. congestion not caused by road accidents or road works, but tailbacks under normal circumstances. This is according to figures collected by Touring Mobilis.

The figures apply to structural jams of more than 100 kilometres in total. "From January to June, we were in this situation for more than 708 hours", says Danny Smagghe of the mobility organisation Touring. "This is the equivalent of almost one month, 29.5 days to be precise." 

The figures have set a new milestone. Last year "only" had 607 hours, four years ago this was only 394 hours. "The network of our main roads is getting increasingly congested", says Hajo Beeckman of the VRT's traffic desk. "Rush hour jams start earlier and last longer. Moreover, chances are growing that you end up in jams in the low periods on busy spots such as the Brussels Orbital Road."

"Very concerned"

Smagghe says he is "very concerned" about the trend. The cause is easy to find: people are making more trips, but road infrastructure hasn't undergone major changes. "It's still almost the same as 40 years ago." One solution would be to split through traffic from local traffic, he suggests.

Belgium's most congested spot is on the western part of the Brussels Outer Ring Road, between Zellik and Jette. The road is congested there for about 16 hours per day.