Three years of Brussels Zone 30: lower speeds and fewer injuries

Three years after the introduction of the 30 km/hour rule in Brussels, Brussels Mobility can only present a fine balance sheet: the introduction of the speed limit has not only led to less noise pollution and a general decrease in average speeds in the capital’s streets but has also reduced the severity of accidents, particularly for pedestrians and car occupants. There will also be 14 new speed cameras at several critical intersections to boost speed checks.

Brussels Mobility measures speed in 80 places, but the cameras used to do this are virtually invisible and separate from checkpoints to avoid “braking for the camera”. Brussels Mobility’s speed measurements show a visible drop in average speed on all roads. For example, motorists’ speed dropped from 27,8 km/hour in 2022 to 26,9 km/hour in 2023.

In Zone 50, converted into Zone 30, the average speed went from 30,7 km/hour in 2022 to 30,1 km/hour in 2023. And in Zone 50, there was a slight decrease from 40,4 km/hour to 39 km/hour.

Fewer casualties

The statistics also show a favorable effect on accidents, with the caveat that figures for 2023 will not be available until the end of February. The number of people injured in the year’s first nine months came to 3 207. This is down from 3 558 wounded in 2022 and 3 350 injured in 2019, the year before Covid-19.

For pedestrians (633, marked in green) and car occupants (762, in blue), the number of casualties was the lowest since 2010, but cyclists (light pink) and users of e-scooters (dark pink) also saw a decline.

However, the increase in the number of cyclists also means that compared with ten years ago, the number of casualties has risen remarkably. A decrease is also observed among motorcyclists (yellow ochre), although this decrease does not apply compared to all previous years.

Up to almost 5 dB less

Lower speed also means less noise pollution. Measurements by Brussels Environment show that noise levels fall by 1,5 to as much as 4,8 dB (A). Updated noise maps show that 30% of the population is exposed to noise, down from 64% in 2016.

“Fewer accidents, fewer victims, less noise: City 30 makes our city more pleasant, more livable, and a pioneer in Europe, with cities like Prague and Amsterdam taking the same path,” said Brussels Mobility Minister Elke Van Den Brandt (Groen).

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