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Coronavirus: 66% drop in car traffic on Flemish motorways

Credit: Belga

Passenger traffic on the Flemish motorways has fallen back strongly since the federal government announced its measures to prevent the further spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

“The structural traffic jams have disappeared, and the morning and evening rush hours are also disappearing,” said Peter Bruyninckx, spokesperson for the Flemish Traffic Center, to NewMobility.

“There are still some traffic jams, which are mainly caused by roadworks, accidents, or border controls,” he added, pointing to the border-crossing on the E19 motorway in Meer, where long traffic jams occurred after the coronavirus measures.

Translation: “Since the introduction of the measures against coronavirus, traffic on the Flemish motorways has fallen sharply. From now on, we will publish a weekly state of affairs with concrete figures about these also “historic days” on the road.”

In the first week after Belgium’s shutdown measures were implemented (16 to 20 March), the number of kilometres driven on Flemish motorways fell by 44.7% for passenger traffic, compared to the period in March before the measures, according to figures by the Flemish Traffic Centre.

The figures for the week from 23 to 27 March show a 66% drop in passenger traffic, as well as a 20.2% drop for freight traffic. The provisional figures for last week (30 March to 3 April) are roughly the same as the ones from the week before, indicating that people are aware of the importance of staying home, according to Bruyninckx.

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During the weekend, the decrease was even more pronounced, with a 86.1% drop for passenger traffic compared to the first two weekends in March, when no measures had been announced yet. Freight traffic also decreased by 42.2%.

“This is what the government wanted to achieve with the coronavirus measures,” Bruyninckx said. “Non-essential movements are mostly made by passenger cars, and we also see the effects of teleworking, the fact that shops are closed and, unfortunately, technical unemployment,” he added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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