Flanders approves road tolls for lorries

Summary

From next year, lorries from Belgium and overseas will be fitted with onboard units that calculate fees based on emissions, weight and distance travelled in Belgium

Smart pricing

Flanders is to introduce a road toll for lorries using its roads, the government has decided. The decision to implement a road toll brings the region into line with Brussels and Wallonia, which have already agreed to do the same.

The toll will affect all goods vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes and will be calculated according to the distance travelled in Belgium. The system is due to come into force next year. In Flanders, the toll will apply on main roads and on parallel roads, in an effort to prevent overflow traffic from drivers trying to avoid the toll.

The three regions agreed in 2011 to introduce such a system and signed a co-operation agreement last year, which replaced the old vignette system with a smart road-pricing system. Lorries from Belgium and elsewhere will be equipped with onboard units that are able to calculate the toll based on the distance travelled. The price per kilometre has yet to be decided.

“Nothing will be decided without prior discussion,” Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts said. The tariff, however, will be based on the tonnage and emissions class of the vehicle, as well as the type of road. “Just like in other countries, those who travel the least will pay the least,” Weyts said.

Weyts also promised accompanying measures for the sectors affected by the toll. “Among other things, we’re thinking of extra investments in the road network and incentives for safer trucks,” he said. 

Photo courtesy MJJR/Wikimedia

Traffic in Flanders

Thousands of commuters and foreigners pass through Brussels and Flanders each day, and the two regions have suffered from heavily congested traffic and long and frequent traffic jams for years – with no end seemingly in sight.
Record - According to the 2013 report from traffic information platform Inrix, Brussels and Antwerp have the most traffic congestion of any city in Europe and North America.
Calendar - October is the worst month of the year for traffic jams.
Causes - Year after year, heavy snowfall and railway strikes lead to monster traffic jams. Heavy congestion, infrastructure works and multi-lane accidents cause the more ordinary daily tailbacks.
1 285

largest area covered in traffic ever recorded in Belgium in kilometres

70

time Antwerp drivers spend in gridlock per year in hours

10 000

traffic diversions in Flanders per year