Friday, 19 August 2011

Belgium to introduce heavy vehicle toll and private car vignette

Flanders Today reports that the three regional governments of Belgium have agreed to introduce a tolling system for all goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes from 2013.  The roads to be charged will be motorways and major highways, but each regional government will be free to add roads to the tolled network (and are expected to do so, to avoid excessive traffic diverting to untolled routes).   The system will replace Belgium's participation in the Eurovignette, a standard time based (according to days, weeks, months or a year of pre-purchased usage) charging system that applies across several EU Member States.

Tolls will be charged on a distance basis, with lower charges for more environmentally friendly vehicles.  It is expected the system will be done using on board units, although the technology to be used has not yet been identified.  As two of Belgium's neighbours either have (Germany) or about to have (France) GPS based distance charging, it is reasonably expected Belgium will as well.

Light vehicles will not be free of charge on the networks though.  A light vehicle vignette will be introduced, similar to that now existing in several European countries (e.g. Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic).  Vehicle owners wishing to use the charged network will have to purchase a sticker covering a set period of usage of the network in intervals that will probably range from a number of day up to a year.  

Belgium's introduction of a heavy vehicle distance based tolling system will add to the growing list of European countries with such a system, although with differing technologies.  The list being:

- Switzerland - all vehicles 3.5 tonnes and above - all roads - Tachometer with GPS backup;
- Germany - all  vehicles 12 tonnes and above - motorways and selected A roads only - GPS with map matching;
- Austria - all vehicles 3.5 tonnes and above - motorways and selected A roads only - DSRC
- Czech Republic - all vehicles 3.5 tonnes and above - motorways, expressways and selected A roads only - DSRC;
- Slovakia - all vehicles 3.5 tonnes and above - motorways and expressways - GPS
- Poland - all vehicles 3.5 tonnes and above - motorways and selected highways - DSRC
- France (under development) all vehicles 3.5 tonnes and above - untolled state motorways - (likely to be GPS).

(Please note this does not include countries that still have a vignette/time based charging system for heavy vehicles, such as the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark and Hungary).


  1. how can England even think of going into road tolls i live in the east and the state of the roads are appauling they repair pot holes hear and run over it with the back tyes of there 7.5 ton repair lorry !!!! but hay ho at least there will soon be a charge for that 7.5ton lorry to perform that act, and while the mp,s are poncing around around in paid first class rail carriages because they are still (working) well thats ok isnt it because the trucks, on the shit road which we have already paid for via road tax are only traveling on the roads moving most things we rely, on including the mp,s free wine for there so called money raises and lots of loo paper for all the crap they talk and my be some shovels to clean out there moat, well thats not working is it mr mps!!! get a life stop robbing us blind and if you wants us all to be equal send me over the range rover as i carn,t get the bently up my drive and i am of to a meeting, ps and please do tell me the differance! why is it that the vast majority of people in cars trains and buses take that hr journey to and from work every day and on considerable less money than you mps dont get expenses strange that isnt it but i supose you can make that up on another tax or toll!!!!!

  2. Mark, although this post is about Belgium and I don't intend to engage in politics here, I can assure you that in the UK the proposed truck vignette will only apply to trucks over 12 tonnes and will be offset by a cut in vehicle excise duty (road tax). Government policy is that tolls will only be allowed for new capacity, so there will always be an untolled alternatives.

    However, I empathise about the state of many roads in England. The current system for managing and funding roads is fundamentally flawed, and it means road users pay a lot to use the roads now, but funding for maintenance is done annually on a politically driven basis, nothing to do with needs or in ways to ensure there is a long term approach taken to asset management.

    I hope to post an article shortly about an approach designed to fix this which wont mean motorists paying any more.