Despite less traffic, more traffic jams than ever on Flemish motorways

In Flanders, traffic jams were never as long as last September. Taking into account traffic jam length and congestion duration, Flemish motorways counted 917 kilometres per hour during weekdays, an absolute record. October too promises to break records, although final figures are still pending.

Traffic jams on Flemish motorways are longer than ever this autumn. This is according to data from the Flemish Traffic Centre. The traffic jam severity on main roads in the Flemish Region averaged 917 kilometres per hour during weekdays, the equivalent of 100 kilometres of a traffic jam for an hour or 200 kilometres for half an hour. This is 1 percent higher than in September 2021. Compared to the last September month before the corona crisis, September 2019, there is an increase of 27 percent.

Yet it has been since 2015 that there was so little traffic on our roads. In September, for instance, 3.6 percent fewer kilometres were travelled on Flemish motorways on weekdays compared to September 2019, before the pandemic. Most and longest traffic jams occur in the regions of Antwerp and Brussels. The Ghent region and the rest of Flanders experience much less congestion on main roads.

"A truck takes up as much space as two or more cars. So although there is less traffic on the road, that traffic does not necessarily take up much less space."

Although the number of passenger cars on Flemish motorways decreased since the corona pandemic, freight traffic increased. "A truck takes up as much space as two or more cars. So although there is less traffic on the road, that traffic does not necessarily take up much less space," Peter Bruyninckx, spokesman for the Flemish Traffic Centre told De Morgen.

"A possible other explanation for the heavy traffic jam is the number of roadworks. At an extremely busy place like the Antwerp Ring, that immediately results in a whole day of traffic jams. If an accident happens in such a traffic jam, the traffic jam becomes even heavier."

The Flemish Traffic Centre further stresses that the impact of commuter traffic on traffic jams cannot be overestimated. "It is wrong to think that the big traffic jams are only caused by people on their way to or from the office. There is also a large group on their way to the supermarket, to family, a hobby and so on. That recreational traffic has been translating into more daytime traffic jams for years. The time when we had a morning and evening rush hour and a quiet period in between is long gone," spokesperson Bruyninckx concluded.

#FlandersNewsService | ©BELGA PHOTO Nicolas Maeterlinck

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