The Flemish Traffic Center, the watchdog of traffic jams in the most populated Belgian Region, which has been counting traffic to calculate congestion severity since 2011, is looking for ten extra traffic controllers on top of the 20 people currently working there.
With congestion figures climbing to unprecedented heights, the Center is running out of people and eyes to monitor the 1 700 cameras and 5 000 traffic sensors to monitor traffic on the highways and in the tunnels.
From traffic tower in Antwerp
Belgium has three centers that manage traffic flows. In the Brussels Region, you have the Mobility Center MOBIIS in the CCN building at the North Station. In Wallonia, you have the PerEX traffic center at Daussoulx, near Namur, and in Antwerp, the Flemish Traffic Center is located in the traffic tower on the Kievitplein.
There, a team of traffic operators, together with the permanence of the federal police, mainly monitors the highways with the help of automatic detection cameras, alarms via counting loops, notifications on emergency phone messages from the app Waze, and other calls.
To respond to the rising congestion on Flemish highways – there have been more traffic jams than ever in 2023 – the Flemish Traffic Center is now looking for ten extra traffic controllers.
Between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., five traffic controllers will be in the control room each time to work on smooth and safe traffic. Two of them only watch camera images in the big tunnels to support emergency services. In case of smoke development, they can remotely close tunnels or switch on the ventilation so that the toxic smoke is pushed out of the tunnel.
But the Center, which thus also sends the information that radio stations use in traffic jam messaging, can also evacuate vehicles by breaking into their radio and thus giving targeted instructions with audio messages. Or, with the help of dynamic signaling, traffic can be slowed down right up to the works.
Even at night and on weekends, there are constantly three people on duty: precisely because a lot of road works take place at night, this ensures that some stretches of road are just extra busy then.
In general, in case of an accident, the Center makes the situation safer for road users by, for example, opening rush-hour lanes, organizing diversions, closing lanes, or reducing speed using the dynamic signaling system.
According to Peter Bruyninckx of the Flemish Traffic Center, anyone can be considered for the job, and you do not need specific training.
“It is a profession in its own right,” Bruyninckx told Het Laatste Nieuws. “You can’t go to school for this, and so we give every candidate – anyone with a higher education degree is welcome – training themselves. Those who are somewhat stress-resistant and not opposed to a script with procedures will find in the Traffic Center a varied job with great social benefit.”
You can apply via www.verkeerscentrum.be For interested candidates, a “dive-in-the-job-moment” will also be organized at the Traffic Center on Saturday, January 13th.