Brussels develops intelligent kilometre charge

POLIS member, Brussels, is developing an intelligent kilometre charge for passenger and delivery vehicles.

Brussels has long sought to tackle traffic congestion, air pollution and road safety. Traffic jams in Brussels cause a daily average loss of 45 minutes per driver, which -according to the OECD- corresponds to an economic loss between 1% and 2% of Belgium’s GNP. Simultaneously, poor air quality, driven largely by transport, is responsible for around 1.000 premature deaths every year in the city.

In an effort to improve mobility and confront these challenges, Brussels is developing Smart Move. Smart Move is a smart kilometre charge based on the principle of 'the user/polluter pays'. It replaces the current annual road tax and the car registration tax, except for the largest cars (+15 ‘fiscal horsepower’) who will still pay a registration.

Different rates will be applied to peak and off-peak hours, and does not apply at night, during weekends or on public holidays. In this way it is a smart kilometre charge: the charge will be higher during times with more traffic jams or when there are sufficient alternatives.

The Brussels government offers a smartphone application to register and pay the smart kilometre charge. In accordance with EU regulations, other (private) operators will also be able to offer alternative apps and on-board units. The secondary system is a day pass that you will be able to buy online or in shops. The driver must purchase a pass before the day he or she drives in Brussels. The day pass is a lump sum which also varies according to the car's ‘fiscal horsepower’.

Enforcement of the charge ensured via the existing ANPR camera network (which will be further strengthened) and on-street teams. The scope of Smart Move is the territory of the Brussels Capital Region. The R0 ring road around Brussels is exempt, as are the access roads to the ‘park & ride’ facilities on the edge of Brussels (the same area applies to the Brussel Low Emission Zone). However, Brussels is warmly inviting the Flanders and Wallonia Regions to implement Smart Move together, for all of Belgium, as their own studies have shown it would be highly beneficial.

The Brussels Government aims to introduce SmartMove during the first semester of 2022. However, this is proceeded by an extensive round of consultations with all stakeholders as well as development and test phases, in order to ensure the system is effective and fair.

Find out more about the initiative here.