The daily De Tijd asked readers to take part in a traffic jam survey, handing them online tools to measure the time they spent on the road or in the bus or train when going to work. Over 22,000 members of the public took part in the test.
For the whole of last year, commuters accumulated almost 100 lost hours due to road congestion. The figures apply to the most popular commuting routes in Flanders and Brussels.
Another conclusion was that the congestion during rush hour is no longer a problem for Antwerp or Brussels. Smaller cities such as Mechelen, Leuven, Kortrijk and Hasselt are also being confronted with more and longer jams. In Mechelen, taking your car during rush hour will increase travel times with 75 percent compared to the normal situation.
On average, participating commuters were 67 percent slower if they took public transport instead of the car
However, despite the big amount of time that many motorists keep losing each day, the survey shows that taking the car is still faster to get to work in many cases. On average, commuters would spend 67 percent more time to reach their work destination by public transport.
De Tijd used the most popular working places in each city to make the calculations; for Brussels this was the European District, but for Ghent this was the port area, which has poor public transport links, which can explain the poor score for Ghent. In Ghent, respondents were practically always better off taking their own car.
Brussels is doing well in this comparison of travel times (car versus public transport). In 34 percent of the cases, commuters to Brussels were faster by train, tram or bus. Average travel times are only 7 percent up on average for public transport.
Note that the travel times of respondents include the whole journey; if they don't live close to a station or other public transport hub, they lose a substantial amount of time right from the start to reach this hub. Experts blame poor urban planning in Flanders for the poor score of public transport, and the scattered living areas.