More traffic jams than in 2020, but still fewer than before pandemic

More traffic jams than in 2020, but still fewer than before pandemic
Credit: Belga

In September and October last year, roads were more congested in Flanders than in the same month in 2019, before the coronavirus crisis, however, overall there are still fewer traffic jams.

Gradually, the number of traffic jams in Flanders is returning to levels seen in 2019, before the implementation of lockdowns, teleworking and other measures, resulting in significantly fewer traffic on the roads, data from Statistiek Vlaanderen, the region’s agency that develops public statistics, showed.

In 2020, some 377 kilometres of traffic jams were recorded per working day on average, the lowest level on record, due to the restrictions in place.

However, last year this once again increased by 36% to 555 kilometres per working day. This means that every working day, on average, there were 555 kilometres of traffic jams for the duration of one hour.

In October, it peaked at 1,080 kilometre-hours per working day, the highest level since June 2019, while during the last two months, road congestion once again dropped below levels recorded in 2019, in part due to measures put in place to curb infections as a result of the spread of the Omicron variant.

Between December 2019 and December 2021, the number of kilometre-hours of traffic jams decreased by 54%.

Kilometres driven per working day in the Flemish Region between 2019-2021 (monthly average). Credit: Vlaams Verkeerscentrum, Statistiek Vlaanderen


For the whole of 2019, an average congestion level of 772 kilometres per working day was documented, meaning that even if an increase was recorded in 2021, traffic jams were still more than a quarter below that level.

The longest and most congested traffic jams are found in the regions of Antwerp and Brussels. In the Antwerp region, traffic jams increased faster than in and around Brussels until the beginning of 2020. The Ghent region and the rest of Flanders have much less congestion on the main roads.

The sharp decrease in congestion from March 2020 was much greater in the Antwerp and Brussels regions than elsewhere, however, they also experienced the largest increase in the number of traffic jams from April 2021 onwards.

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