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Belgian study says lower, variable speed limits will speed up commuting

  • October 23, 2017

Reducing the speed limit on Belgian motorways, particularly during periods of high congestion, would increase average speed and reduce journey times according to research by ETSC’s Belgian member VIAS institute.  

Simulations showed that a reduction of the speed limit at peak times, together with a ban on changing lanes would lead to an increase in the actual speed.  

“Now the average speed during rush hour is only 44 km/h. The lower limit would see an increase to 57 km/h,” said Wouter Van den Berghe of VIAS Institute. With dynamic limits, traffic flow would improve because everyone drives at a similar speed and road capacity is better utilised, according to VIAS.  The research will be reviewed by the government and subject to negotiations with the three Belgian regions responsible for implementing the changes.  

In parallel, a political proposal to increase the maximum speed limit on some Belgian motorways to 130 km/h has been rejected by the Flemish minister of mobility Ben Weyts. Such an increase would cause more deaths he said, adding “more deaths to gain a few minutes is unacceptable to me.”

Download the study summary in English