2 June 2004
AMSTERDAM — The annual cost of traffic delays could amount to EUR 2.5 billion in 2020, but Transport Minister Karla Peijs is opposed to calls for an expansion of the Netherlands’ road network.
The Ruimtelijk Planbureau (Spacial Planning Bureau) presented a report in The Hague on Tuesday, advising the Dutch government that the solution to the nation’s gridlock would be to expand the existing road network.
It also said Dutch motorists have an aversion to daily traffic jams, but many more are irritated by random delays and unnecessarily leave work early to arrive on time. The bureau said the buffer time — in which people leave work early — primarily costs freight transport and business motorists.
Christian Democrat CDA Minister Peijs — who was presented with the report — said the total cost of traffic jams and unreliable travel times could increase to EUR 2.5 billion in 2020.
The planning bureau said the constantly growing use of the road network is placing unreliable travel times under increased pressure. This applies to both regions outside of the Randstad and non-peak hour times, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Wednesday.
But Peijs rejected the report’s outline solution, namely expanding regional road networks to serve as alternative road routes. The minister said tight budgetary restraints and concern that more road networks are not desirable in the context of the environment and liveability were central to her objections.
Instead, Peijs is in favour of a better use of the existing road network. She is thus backing the exclusive use of the (possible) extension of the A4 motorway at Rotterdam for Antwerp-bound traffic and restricting use of the A13 The Hague-Rotterdam motorway to just regional motorists, who would also be restricted by a lower maximum speed limit.
Peijs is also calling for better information services pointing out alternative routes to motorists. Besides the current roadside signs, the minister hopes the recently established Council for Transport Information will stimulate private companies to provide better information.
She envisions internet-supplied traffic information, SMS services and inbuilt car computers that will help motorists seek the best route.
The minister also intends to have road accidents cleared up more quickly in coming years to reduce random problems affecting motorway capacity. Salvage crews might thus be permanently on call alongside motorways to intervene more quickly.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news