Mobility minister plans to test drones in traffic incidents

Summary

Flanders’ mobility minister told parliament that the federal police are already willing to work with other agencies on using drones to help manage road incidents

Bird’s eye view

Flanders’ minister for mobility, Ben Weyts, is to test of the use of drones in road traffic incidents, such as taking aerial photographs to help authorities clear the road quickly in the case of accidents. The plan was revealed in the answer to a written question from a member of the Flemish parliament.

Socialist member Joris Vandenbroucke was enquiring about progress on the installation of a central accident director, as promised by Weyts’ predecessor, Hilde Crevits. An accident director would take control over major accident scenes such as the one in Wetteren in July when a lorry struck a bridge support and caused hours of traffic chaos.

The director’s arrival is still a long way off, as a working group continues to consider the question, Weyts said, but drones are now being considered. According to Weyts, talks are taking place about the rules of engagement, with the federal police already willing to co-operate. A test project would involve the mobility department, the roads and traffic agency, the traffic police and the directorate-general of airspace.

Photo: Ingimage

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