T4.01 BE Dynamic Traffic Management and Peak Hour Lanes

Overview/ summary

The Flemish motorway network is one of the densest and most congested networks in Europe. In order to solve the congestion problems many actions are taken. New infrastructure is being built (e.g. the extension of the motorway ring of Antwerp) and there are many incentives to stimulate the use of other modes of transport, both for passenger transport as well as for freight transport.

A specific measure to counter congestion is to create peak hour lanes on sections nearby cities, by opening the hard shoulder lane for road traffic during rush hours.

In the Meridian project there are 3 peak hour lane implementations. There will be peak hour lanes and variable speed limits and supporting Intelligent Transport System (ITS) infrastructure on the E40 highway between Ternat and Affligem in the direction of Ghent.
A second implementation encompasses variable speed limits and supporting ITS infrastructure on the E40 highway between Bertem and Sterrebeek in the direction of Brussels. The third implementation deals with the deployment of variable speed limits and supporting ITS infrastructure on the E17 in the region of Kortrijk in the direction of France.


Studies have indicated that there are a lot of congestions on the E40 highway between Ternat and Affligem, the E40 highway between Bertem and Sterrebeek and on the E17 in the region of Kortrijk. This results in time loss and incidents. These projects aim to make the Flemish highways safer for all road users.

Name of the organisation carrying out the project: Flemish government – Agency for Roads and Traffic.

Further reading

Pictures/media/video's/news items

Flemish Agency for Roads and Traffic wegen.verkeer@mow.vlaanderen.be

The core message

The objective of a peak hour lane is to reduce congestion and to better utilise the existing infrastructure. But there is also a risk. By reducing travel time on the motorway, the incentive to use another transport mode or another time frame is disappearing. It could mean that more users change from public transport to the car, the inverse of the modal shift that one wants to achieve. To avoid this, the Flemish ministry in general only implements peak hour lanes for traffic that leaves the city (outbound traffic). The idea behind it is that the car users are still confronted with traffic jams in the morning when they enter the city. So, there is still a stimulus to use another transport mode. Thanks to the peak hour lane the traffic is leaving the city more easily, resulting in less traffic jams in the city.

Results expected:
The goal of this project is creating additional capacity on the E40 and E17 highways during rush hours. The E40 and E17 are important highways for business, freight and leisure traffic. Fluent traffic flow is an economic necessity. By using peak hour lanes, we make optimal use of existing road infrastructure capacity, we improve the safety and reliability of the network. In addition, by avoiding traffic jams on the highway, we avoid cars and heavy good vehicles will search their way through the secondary road network, as such creating traffic jams in smaller communities or introducing heavy traffic near school environments.

Project description:
There are several methods for implementing peak hour lanes. One can use a simple signpost with a VMS to indicate if the peak hour lane is open or not. The Flemish ministry is using gantries with a VMS sign per lane and additional VMS between the lanes. It means that not only the function peak hour lane is implemented but also dynamic lane control, speed limit, incident warning and dynamic overtake ban.

The systems are integrated in the Flemish Traffic Management Centre, and the data are fed into the lane signalling and the dynamic information board messages (VMS) open data feeds. As such the lane signalling can be integrated into navigation systems or in-car signage.

Implementation schedule:
E17 in the region of Kortrijk in the direction of France: will be implemented in the summer of 2023.
E40 between Ternat and Affligem: will be implemented in the fall of 2023.
E40 between Bertem and Sterrebeek in the direction of Brussels: will be implemented end 2023 – beginning 2024.