Brussels worst European city for traffic jams


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TomTom, the GPS maker, has used the data of car locations and movement speed for 60 European cities to calculate the total time spent by drivers in traffic jams. Brussels came on top as the most congested conurbation, with 37% of the time on the road spent in traffic tie-ups.

Here is the ranking of the most congested cities.

1. Brussels
2. Warsaw
3. Wroclaw
4. London
5. Edinburgh
6. Dublin
7. Belfast
8. Marseille
9. Paris
10. Luxembourg

It is surprising that Italian cities, with their convoluted historical centres of narrow streets, do not make the top 10.

The reasons for Brussels' plight are manifold :

1) The Benelux has the highest density of motor vehicles in the world (alongside Japan), and Brussels is the biggest urban agglomeration.

2) 2 million commuters join Brussels' population of 1 million every day and most come by car rather than by public transports. In other words, the number of cars more than triples by day time, and the greatest lot is concentrated during two short rush hours (7-9 am and 5-7 pm).

3) Traffic lights are execrably synchronised. On a short stretch of 5 consecutive traffic lights that would take 1 minute if all lights were green at the same time, it usually takes over 5 minutes because each light turns red as soon as cars have passed the previous light.

4) Too many businesses and government institutions are concentrated in the tiny city centre. To make this worse the historical centre has old, narrow streets that are mostly one-way and prone to congestion. Efforts have been made to relocate big companies to new offices in the suburbs, but most shops, big banks, embassies and government institutions (including the EU) all remain in the centre. Brussels lack big shopping centres in the suburbs. There are only three medium-size (tiny by American or Japanese standards) shopping centres in all Brussels.

The main blame has to be placed on poor traffic light management. It is inconceivable that with all the modern technology (traffic detectors, computerised synchronisation...) a wealthy city like Brussels has not yet tackled this issue. Traffic jams are not just bad for people's nerves and a waste of time/money for everyone, they increase pollution, deteriorate residents' health and waste petrol.
Brussels sans a decent GPS is bloody awful.

I remember how even thirty five years ago trying to get from my ‘flat to my work in the “Black Tower” in Avenue Louise via the inner “Kleine Ring” used to be a nightmare. Especially with all the dodging up and down the assorted tunnels and flyovers during rush hour.

Even the “Grote Ring”, the R0, is murderous in busy periods and at its worst in the wet winter evenings.

As for getting around in “The Pentagon”, down town Brussels, the absence of street signs and direction boards was dreadful. There’s been times when the only option, at least for me, was to head down a road – any road – until I hit the Kleine, and navigate from there.

But the wonderful café’s and restaurants surrounding and adjoining La Grande-Place made excursions into it worth while!

Dammit! I LIKE Brussels, and as for the AC motel just outside Leuven and their “à volonté” buffet, WOW!
Edinburgh in the top 5!!

It's quite high for such a small city. Its hard to drive wearing a skirt while eating short bread. :grin: "och aye"

The problem with Edinburgh - and I rather like the city overall - is that it's streets are all one-way. A nightmare for non-familiar foreigners to navigate.
I don't see a problem. Jammed traffic serves as an incentive to use public transport. And the public transport is excellent, apart from a few strikes annually.

I blame travelers who don't use public transport.

Although the price of public transport is cheap, perhaps they could lower it more and subsidize it with a higher fuel tax. The effect would be to encourage more use of public transport.
I would say Neaples is the worst city in europe for traffic jam.. rather than bruxel
Not even in Brussels , in Antwerp aswell , i take my bike to work , whenever i drive over the highway , it's jammed , totally.
They aren't even moving. And i went to Brussels once , just once , around rush hour , and it was horrible , i parked my car somewhere and i just went on foot , it was horrible.
I would say Neaples is the worst city in europe for traffic jam.. rather than bruxel

That's not a very useful thing to say. The ranking above is based on actual data sent from GPS in cars, not on opinions or mere impressions.
I'm living in Brussels, and I don't feel like there is high polution or too much vehicules. It's rather the opposite, there is the forest of "soignes" at the south, the roads are nice and calm. About the traffic lights, it's true :)

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