Usual morning traffic jam in Rue de la loi - Wetstraat Seen from European district in Brussels, EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET


Brussels fifth-most traffic congested city in Europe, says TomTom survey


Dutch navigation company TomTom gives a bad score to Brussels in its annual traffic index report, with the European capital coming in as the tenth most congested city worldwide.

In Europe alone, it ranks fifth-worst, behind London, Dublin, Milan and Bucharest.

Brussels average road-travel times increased in 2023; according to the data, there was a 20-second increase in the time required to drive 10 kilometres.

During the morning rush-hour, drivers lost 13 minutes per 10km trip, while in the evening rush, they lost 15 minutes over the same distance. Daily, they now need around an extra 28 minutes to travel 10km both ways.

The total increase over those periods in 2023 was 104 hours, or four days and eight hours extra – seven hours and 52 minutes more than the year before.

Car traffic was especially slow on Thursdays.

Making cars less attractive in a bid to get more people cycling has been an explicit goal by the Green Party. A new Brussels circulation plan even led to violent protests in the Schaerbeek area of the city, home to many small businesses.

Ralf-Peter Schäfer, deputy director of traffic at TomTom, said: “More than half of the world’s population lives in cities. Traffic jams therefore have a huge economic, ecological and health impact.

“We urgently need to find solutions to this.”

The annual TomTom Traffic Index provides data and information on traffic trends in 387 cities in 55 countries.

It says London is the world’s “slowest city”. The average travel time for a typical 10km journey in the city in 2023 was 37 minutes and 20 seconds last year. That is one minute more than in 2022 and nearly two minutes more than in 2021.

Irish capital Dublin, Toronto in Canada, Milan in Italy and Peruvian city Lima take second, third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively.