Concerns about raising speed limit on Dutch roads

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A rise of the speed limit on Dutch road as proposed by the incoming cabinet will lead to an increase of traffic jams.

Traffic analysts Goudappel Coffeng told daily on Tuesday that the popular measure announced by the new rightwing coalition will make car use more attractive. Rail users will switch to private vehicles and increase traffic density on the roads when they are allowed to drive at 130 kph.

The analysts will present a detailed report of their findings to the Transport Ministry later this week. It shows that junctions at Muiderberg near Amsterdam and Oudenrijn near Utrecht will clog up.

Neither the outgoing Traffic Minister Camiel Eurlings, nor the new minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen have reacted to the figures. Ms Schultz van Haegen will be sworn in on Thursday.

Accidents The Dutch road users association ANWB initially welcomed the projected speed limit rise. They agree that more people are likely to take the car rather than a train or bus if they can go faster than the current 120 kph. But ANWB are reserving judgment on the likelihood of more traffic jams.

Accidents are more likely, however, according to ANWB and Goudappel Coffeng. On average some 60 people are killed and 500 injured on the Netherlands' 2,500 km of motorways. Higher speeds mean an increased risk of accidents, which in turn lead to delays and traffic jams, they say. A spokesman for national police umbrella KLPD added that faster driving causes longer braking distances, with all its attendant risks.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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