The Netherlands is making a substantial investment in new forms of smart mobility.
Infrastructure and the Environment Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen and 12 regions are allocating more than 70 million euros for intelligent transport systems until 2018. This involves new technology and services that give travelers real-time driving and travel advice during their journey. Another aspect is the use of innovative forms of traffic management, leading to better traffic distribution on the roads after an event or major congestion.
Nine projects are being set up in the combined regions in the Netherlands to deploy new services and gain practical experience with the latest technology. Intelligent Transport Systems focus on travel behavior before and during journeys. The goal is to serve travelers with personal, real-time and location-dependent advice. The investment of millions of euros strengthens the Netherlands’ position as an international front runner in innovative mobility and offers opportunities to businesses.
“There is a wealth of information available on the Internet about factors that affect congestion on the roads, such as the weather, roadworks and nearby festivals,” Minister Schultz said. “But it’s not until you piece together the puzzle that you can really give travelers customized travel advice and driver support. The new intelligent systems give road users individual advice based on real-time information, enabling them to anticipate what they are going to see for themselves, as well as what is happening outside their field of vision. Not only do cars communicate with each other and with the roadside to achieve this – in the very near future, they are going to communicate with traffic lights as well.”
From supermarkets to festival goers
The nine projects on various themes are being set up jointly throughout the country. For example, the Groningen-Assen, Arnhem-Nijmegen and Midden-Nederland regions and the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area are collaborating with Ahold on a tool to improve supermarket logistics by enabling smart heavy goods transport. In this way, 200 tractor-trailer trips per day can be structurally avoided in the regions involved.
Another project is being started up to reduce the build-up of traffic due to incidents. It is being rolled out in Brabant and Noord-Holland. Each year, more than 20,000 tractor-trailers and 150,000 passenger cars break down on the main road network. Improved sharing of information means that both traffic management and road users can make allowance for incidents more effectively. With national coverage, this can result in 2.5 percent congestion reduction.
Major improvements may also be made in terms of congestion around festivals, congresses and concerts. Each year, festival goers account for 5 million rush-hour car trips in and around cities. Investing in the development of good information services and event apps allows visitors to get customized travel advice, which will optimize the area’s accessibility for festival goers and other travelers.
Projects are also being set up on the themes connected and cooperative intelligent transport systems, travel information services, the setting of new standards, and the sharing of diverse streaming data of road managers and private parties.
In the Beter Benutten, or Optimizing Use, program, the government, regions and businesses are working together to improve road, waterway and railway accessibility in the busiest regions, and actively encouraging cooperation between the private sector, users and the government. The regions Brabant, Arnhem/Nijmegen, Twente, Maastricht, Haaglanden, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Stedendriehoek (i.e. the Apeldoorn-Deventer-Zutphen region), Groningen/Assen, Midden-Nederland, Zwolle/Kampen and Leeuwarden are investing in ITS together with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.
The vast majority of Dutch adults are using smart phones and, increasingly, cars and infrastructure are connecting to the Internet. There is an opportunity to take advantage of this connectivity to improve road safety and traffic flow in the next few years, within and between major Dutch cities.
“The Beter Benutten program is looking at all possibilities in short- and long-range communication-based services in support of the Dutch hybrid ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) strategy,” said Caspar de Jonge, Beter Benutten program manager. “As we want to achieve results quickly, we need solutions that can be implemented quickly in all regions and all user groups.”
The highly developed and dense traffic network in the Netherlands, the high level of traffic management, smartphone use, the 4G penetration rate and the numerous programs and initiatives initiated by governments in recent years make the Netherlands an excellent place to develop, test and implement C-ITS, making use of new and existing international standards. The Netherlands has invested in reputable knowledge clusters in the automotive and technology fields and in high-quality facilities, resulting in a favorable testing, development and implementation environment.