In addition to the loss of time, the extra fuel consumption, and the additional CO2 emissions, traffic jams in Belgium cost more than 5 billion euros last year, or 4% more than in 2022. Figures from the Flemish Traffic Center show there have never been more traffic jams than in 2023.
October and November had the greatest traffic jams and the highest costs: 552 million and 513 million euros, respectively. But a record amount of traffic jams was also recorded for the months of March, April, May, and July. Passenger cars accounted for 42% of the costs; light and heavy trucks represented 23 and 35%, respectively.
Almost 10 million cars
Every month, the Federation of Belgian Enterprises (Verbond van Belgische Ondernemingen, VBO) and sector federation Febiac calculate how much the traffic jams cost. The figures are published via the Belgian Mobility Dashboard.
The Dutch also suffer from traffic jams, reports the newspaper Trouw. Not just because cars are always being added. It is also a matter of mentality. According to new figures from the car industry organization Bovag, 180 000 passenger cars were added last year.
Record congestion of 1 491 km
This means there are now 9,4 million cars driving around in the Netherlands. As a consequence, traffic congestion also increases. Over the past year, Dutch people have been stuck in longer traffic jams for a longer period of time. Traffic jams grew by 17%, not only during rush hours but also during the day.
The busiest rush hour of the year was on April 6th, the Thursday afternoon before Easter. On that rainy day, there were 1 491 kilometers of traffic jams in the Netherlands. However, the number of cars is not necessarily decisive for traffic jams. How and when we use those cars is more relevant. And a lot has changed since the corona pandemic.
Question of mentality
According to mobility organization ANWB (Algemene Nederlandsche Wielrijders Bond), traffic is as busy as before the pandemic, and the effect of teleworking and traveling outside rush hours is hardly visible anymore. Still, it is noticeable on the road that Dutch people often commute on Tuesdays and Thursdays and, therefore, take the car.
So, if we could be flexible during the pandemic and shift our working hours to Tuesdays and Thursdays, it would also be possible to spread our working hours more, Victor Knoop, a traffic expert of the TU Delft, says. “Traffic jams would not immediately disappear, but at least they would become shorter.”