Frequently asked questions
Why are areas of Brussels being turned into low-traffic neighbourhoods?
The objective, as described in the Good Move plan, is to create streets and public spaces where people can enjoy life. These are places where everyone, including children and less mobile people, can move around independently in a calm, safe and healthy environment. Pedestrians and cyclists are safer and public transport is easy to access. It is still possible to reach your destination by car but you will need to take a less direct route.
Why is the traffic plan the priority?
As the name suggests, the first step to creating a low-traffic neighbourhood is to significantly reduce the volume of motorised traffic travelling through the neighbourhood. High volumes of traffic are the main cause of a poorer quality of life, due to road noise and pollution. Low-traffic neighbourhoods are calmer and more enjoyable places to live. A well-designed traffic plan will help to reduce traffic within the area by 34% on average (according to Good Move modelling). Secondly, it is important to slow down traffic in a low-traffic neighbourhood. Since the introduction of City 30 on 1st January 2021, the maximum speed in Brussels is 30 km/h.
Is a new traffic plan the only change to expect in a low-traffic neighbourhood?
In order to improve the quality of life for all residents and users of a neighbourhood, we need to start with a traffic plan that reduces motorised traffic within the neighbourhood. But it doesn’t stop there! The new traffic plan will also allow some streets and public spaces to be transformed in the years to come. Through new infrastructure projects, we will have the opportunity to develop pedestrian and residential zones, to create space for greener and more social places, to implement traffic-calming measures, to protect pedestrian crossings and more.
What is a Local Mobility Contract (LMC)?
The Local Mobility Contract was created by the Brussels-Capital Region under the framework of the Good Move plan. It aims to make neighbourhoods more peaceful, thanks to a traffic plan that reduces through-traffic, prioritises active modes of mobility and public transport, and improves residents’ quality of life. Thanks to Local Mobility Contracts, more than 50 neighbourhoods have been identified throughout the region to be progressively turned into low-traffic neighbourhoods.
How are current travel routes analysed?
By using mobility data (GPS, GSM), we can get a very clear overview of the most frequently used routes. Motorised vehicles share location data that is collected and anonymised. This data is then analysed over the course of several months, concentrating on peak travel times. This allows us to see how many vehicles enter the neighbourhood and travel through it without stopping and thus identify the most frequently-used travel routes. This method is more effective than manually counting cars on the ground; manual counting would only allow us to count incoming and outgoing traffic but not understand the routes taken.
How do low-traffic neighbourhoods benefit pedestrians?
A low-traffic neighbourhood’s new traffic plan will reduce the overall volume of motorised traffic, thus improving both the safety and well-being of pedestrians. By cutting traffic, crossing the road becomes easier and more enjoyable. Pedestrians also experience a decrease in noise and air pollution. As such, walking will become a safer and more appealing option for everyone, including children, older people and less mobile people. People will feel encouraged to walk rather than take the car for short journeys, thus further reducing motorised traffic and the resulting problems. The traffic plan will also allow for new local projects that develop residential streets, calmer zones near schools, pedestrian shopping areas and so on.
How do low-traffic neighbourhoods benefit cyclists?
A low-traffic neighbourhood’s new traffic plan will reduce the overall volume of motorised traffic, thus improving both the safety and well-being of cyclists. By cutting traffic, cyclists will find streets and junctions to be safer and less stressful. They will also enjoy a quieter environment and cleaner air. In some places, physical barriers will be implemented to filter traffic, allowing cyclists to use certain roads while keeping cars and other motorised vehicles out. As such, cycling will become safer and more appealing for everyone. People will feel encouraged to cycle rather than take the car for short journeys, thus reducing the impact of motorised traffic on active mobility even further.
How do low-traffic neighbourhoods benefit public transport users?
A low-traffic neighbourhood’s new traffic plan will reduce the overall volume of motorised traffic, which often leads to traffic jams and causes delays for public transport on neighbourhood streets. Fewer cars, especially single-occupancy vehicles, on the road will improve journey times for trams and buses and guarantee a faster and more reliable service. On streets where private motorised vehicles have restricted access (thanks to traffic filters), public transport will be able to continue while benefitting from the lack of disruption caused by former through-traffic. Taking the tram or bus to travel through a low-traffic neighbourhood will thus be much more appealing and a practical alternative to the private car. This will encourage people to use public transport rather than the car for medium-length journeys and reduce the impact of automotive traffic even further.
How will low-traffic neighbourhoods affect drivers?
A low-traffic neighbourhood’s new traffic plan will reduce the overall volume of motorised traffic. As a resident or visitor, you will thus experience fewer traffic jams on local streets. It is crucial that the whole neighbourhood remain accessible for less mobile people, occasional vehicle use and deliveries, among others. Nevertheless, traffic measures – such as filters and one-way streets – aimed at preventing through-traffic will mean that you have to adapt your usual route. When travelling to the neighbourhood, visitors and residents will have to use surrounding main roads and drive into the neighbourhood on less intrusive roads. This may involve a small detour in order to ensure safety and tranquillity for all.
How will low-traffic neighbourhoods affect the roads surrounding the neighbourhood?
The objective of the new traffic plan is to reduce the volume of traffic travelling through the low-traffic neighbourhood. Experience and studies have shown that the impact of these changes is widely distributed. Some vehicles will use the routes around the low-traffic neighbourhood, some will change their route altogether, while others will choose a different mode of transport or a different time of day to travel. Although many worry that 100% of the traffic currently travelling through the low-traffic neighbourhood will be displaced to the main roads surrounding it, this fear is unfounded. Moreover, low-traffic neighbourhoods are just one piece of the Good Move mobility strategy, which aims to reduce motorised traffic as a whole. As a result, traffic on the roads surrounding these neighbourhoods should also drop by 10% on average. The Region and its communes are working to improve the safety and appeal of walking, cycling and public transport on the roads surrounding low-traffic neighbourhoods, thus making multimodal travel and active mobility a more attractive alternative.
How will low-traffic neighbourhoods affect emergency services?
The objective of the new traffic plan is to reduce traffic travelling through the low-traffic neighbourhood. As such, reduced congestion will make it easier for the emergency services to travel on local roads. The emergency services are involved in the planning process of every low-traffic neighbourhood from the very beginning. The traffic plan thus guarantees that they have full and efficient access. As for road filters, any infrastructure must ensure that emergency service vehicles can get through if needed.