Brussels Regional Public Service - Brussels Mobility


From 1 January 2021, what will happen to the existing 30 Zones that are currently the exception to the 50 km/h limit?

They will disappear. The rule will be 30 km/h across the entire Region, with a few exceptions: main roads, where the limit will continue to be 50 km/h or 70 km/h, and shared spaces, where the speed limit will be 20 km/h.

Does the 30 limit apply to everyone?

All road users must obey the speed limit, including bus drivers, cyclists and scooter riders.
It also applies to separated bike lanes and separated lanes for public transport!

There are several exceptions:
trams - which run on rails - as they are not subject to road speed limits (Article 1 of the Highway Code).
emergency / priority vehicles, when in blue-light mode (Article 59.13 of the Highway Code).
snowploughs, when performing their winter duties (Article 59.11 of the Highway Code).

Will fines be issued from 1 January 2021? Will there be a transition period?

As of 1 January 2021, the updated Highway Code will apply and the general rule will be 30 km/h across the entire Brussels-Capital Region, rather than the current 50 km/h limit. The new limit will be enforced from this date, but the focus will be on the areas with the highest volume of accidents. The aim of becoming a 30 City isn’t to increase the number of fines, but to improve road safety.

Will you be fined at 31 km/h? Will there be any kind of tolerance?

The aim isn’t to catch everyone on speed cameras. It’s about encouraging all road users to obey the 30 limit by choice. For this reason, numerous awareness-raising campaigns will be organised. Nevertheless, enforcement is important and the number of speed cameras will be increased.

What will happen to the money made from fines?

This money will go straight into a Road Safety Fund. The fund will pay for measures that make our roads safer, such as infrastructure improvements, awareness-raising campaigns, and new speed detection and control devices.

Will there be more speed cameras?

Yes. The number of fixed cameras in Brussels will be increased. There are currently 90 across the entire Region. Over the next 3 years, an additional 60 cameras will be installed. As well as these fixed cameras, the police also have mobile and semi-mobile cameras (Lidar), while more and more roads are being equipped with average speed cameras (tunnels, etc.).

Will the traffic light timings be changed?

Traffic light timings will be updated so that traffic flows smoothly at junctions when the general 30 km/h limit is introduced.

Will the scheme's impact be evaluated?

Yes, steps have been taken to monitor the average speeds people actually travel at before and after the introduction of the 30 City scheme. Accident statistics are also analysed each year. As a result, it will be possible to clearly identify the scheme’s impact on road safety.

What impact is the 30 City having on air quality?

Under laboratory conditions, an combustion petrol or diesel engine releases more pollutants at 30 km/h than at 50 km/h. However, under real conditions, the average speed in town is around the 25 km/h mark. The factors that make air pollution worse are the numerous accelerations followed by sudden braking. The 30 City encourages the adoption of a more economical, smoother and less jerky driving style, which reduces not only your fuel consumption, but also the polluting gases you emit. The reduction in air pollution achieved by going from a limit of 50 km/h to 30 km/h has been demonstrated by many scientific studies conducted in real urban conditions. We can mention, for example, the study conducted in Berlin by the German Environment Institute (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) in 2016, which recorded an effective reduction in pollutant discharges on major arterial roads where the speed limit had been reduced to 30 km/h (1). A study in Belgium by VITO (the Flemish independent research organisation operating in the areas of clean technology and sustainable development) and the University of Hasselt measured the pollutants discharged into the air under real driving conditions. It established that changing the speed limit from 50 km/h to 30 km/h resulted in an average reduction of almost 10% for carbon dioxide, 20% for NOx (nitrogen oxide) and over 30% for fine particulates. (2) The smoother style of driving encouraged by the 30 City also reduces the level of particles shed by brake pads and tyres. And don’t forget that car types will continue to evolve and that for hybrid vehicles, at 30 km/h, we are still in a power range that does not require the car to start up its combustion engine. Of course, this is even more the case for electric cars and other similar vehicles. In addition, the aim of the 30 City is to make traffic quieter in residential districts, as well as to encourage people to take their bike or simply walk on shorter journeys. In the medium term, the shift in forms of transport to a more active form of mobility will improve air quality. According to Mathieu Chassignet, an expert at Ademe (the French environment and energy agency), the 30 City will restrict the number of cars and the distance they travel in town – while also enabling the development of more environmentally friendly means of transport. The low emissions zone (LEZ) introduced in the Brussels Region discourages more polluting vehicles from driving in the area. This is an overall vision of the way mobility in cities can be transformed and bring benefits to air quality, which is a major public health issue.



Will driving at 30 km/h reduce noise?

In terms of noise pollution, the 30 City scheme has a positive impact because driving at 30 km/h reduces traffic noise by 2.4 to 4.5 decibels. Acoustically, this is the equivalent of halving traffic.

Will driving at 30 km/h increase traffic jams?

Studies currently show that free-flowing road capacity is similar at 30 km/h to at 50 km/h. The 30 limit therefore won't lead to more congestion.

Will journeys take longer?

When its 30 Zone was installed in September 2018, Schaerbeek carried out comparative tests and concluded that the commune-wide 30 limit had no negative effect on car journey times. In urban settings, the average speed is generally already 30 km/h. The things that delay journeys the most are congestion at junctions, and looking for a parking space.

For the 30 City to work, the right infrastructure is needed, otherwise it’s pointless.

The success of the 30 City scheme depends on three things: awareness-raising, strict enforcement, and physical infrastructure where possible or necessary.
Speed-limiting infrastructure will gradually be introduced on roads and junctions where the most accidents happen. The Region and the communes are also investing in various traffic-calming projects in residential areas. This might also involve changing traffic circulation plans, introducing one-way streets, etc.

What impact will it have on learner drivers and driving schools?

Driving lessons must be adapted to suit the new context. In other words, instructors should continue to teach learners about driving on faster roads, while also teaching them how to drive at 30 km/h in the city. The Region is currently looking at the needs of driving test centres to ensure that they maintain the quality of their tests and cover all situations that might be encountered in a 30 City.

What impact will it have on fuel consumption?

Driving at 30 km/h reduces accelerating and braking, which reduces fuel consumption.

You announce a speed limit of 30 km/h on entering built-up areas. However, the highway code stipulates a speed limit of 50 km/h in built-up areas. Isn't there some mistake?

Article 11 of the Belgian Highway Code clearly outlines the limitations in force. It states in point 11.1 that from 1 January 2021 in the Brussels-Capital Region, speed in built-up areas will be limited to 30 km per hour. On certain public roads however, a different speed limit may be applied or allowed through the traffic sign C43.

Like the other two Belgian Regions, the Brussels-Capital Region has been given jurisdiction over speed limits on its territory under the 6th reform of the State.

In its advice of 29 June 2019 on the decision of the Brussels government to modify article 11 of the highway code, the Council of State did not question the competence of the Brussels-Capital Region in this matter.

Practically speaking, this means that, as soon as you enter the built-up area on the territory of the Brussels-Capital Region, the speed limit is 30 km/h by default.

Entering the built-up area is signalled by the F1a and F1b signs.

Will the speed near schools still be 30 km/h on roads with a 50 km/h speed limit?

Yes, of course. The entrance of areas adjacent to schools will still be signalled by the signals:

The end of the zone is marked by this signal:

How has the authorised speed been determined for each individual road?

On 16 July 2020, the Brussels Government approved the allocation map with the authorised speeds throughout the Brussels-Capital Region. Each street was analysed according to a grid of criteria used to determine the most appropriate speed level.

The basis was to limit the speed on all local roads, i.e. neighbourhood roads, to 30 km/h.

For major access roads and structural axes in the Brussels-Capital Region, the principle has been to set the speed to 50 km/h (or more), with some exceptions.

An additional analysis was conducted for all the other roads. The limit was only kept at 50 km/h if the safety of vulnerable users was adequate (safe railway crossings, wide pavements, facilities for cyclists, no schools, no accident-prone areas...).

Speed analysis and rating are therefore clearly conducted from a road safety point of view.