Speech by State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven at seminar on future technologies (smart & green mobility), Guangzhou
The first time I came to China, almost 15 years ago, I travelled around by train.
I was impressed then by the dynamism and vast size of the city of Guangzhou.
I’m impressed today by how much more it’s grown.
And touched by the warm welcome I’ve received.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are living in exciting times for transport and mobility.
New technologies are being developed as quickly as new wind parks are being built around the world, especially in China.
Yesterday, members of the Dutch delegation paid a visit to EHANG184, the first autonomous aerial eco-friendly vehicle.
They were blown away.
What a masterpiece of innovation!
As the European frontrunner for testing autonomous driving and flying, we’re keen to find scope for testing this giant passenger drone in our country.
In the next decade, transport and mobility will change more than in the last hundred years.
We’re ready for the next giant leap in mobility.
From horse and cart to car and plane, to autonomous, sustainable flying cars, planes and even hyperloops.
Fascinating from an engineering point of view. But also an absolute necessity.
Because we face many challenges:
- mobility continues to grow
- our infrastructure is being stretched to the limit
- climate ambitions – especially for transport and mobility – are huge, and
- liveability and air quality are at stake.
Smart and green mobility promises better accessibility, sustainability and safety.
We need to invest in both for the best possible future.
The key question in the years to come is this:
How can we use all these innovations in transport and mobility to our advantage?
Smart and green mobility will enable us to tackle challenges effectively.
Luckily, both our countries are trailblazers.
We want to lead the way in innovation.
Dutch companies like NXP and Technolutions, young startups like Hardt Hyperloop and many others here this week are showing us the way to a smart, sustainable future.
We know things in China are moving at a dazzling pace.
We share the same ambitions on innovation.
And even more importantly: we work together and share knowledge.
For example in the framework of our Memorandum of Understanding on Transport and Infrastructure: a partnership of over twenty years!
Your vice-minister of Transport, Mr He Jianzhong, visited the Netherlands last November to attend a Joint Steering Committee and met with the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure.
They both agreed on an action plan as a follow up to the MoU, signed in 2016 – extending our partnership for another five years.
Under the MoU we’ll also be working together on concrete pilots for clean and smart mobility such as sustainable asphalt and intelligent transport systems on highways.
Besides that the Netherlands works together with the Ministry of Science and Technology on all kinds of new technologies, for example to reduce the use of raw materials in the automotive industry.
And a cluster of Chinese and Dutch companies and institutes are working to help to make aviation cleaner.
Ladies and gentlemen,
How can we accelerate smart and green mobility?
Let me mention three steps we’re taking in my country.
We have to ensure that our infrastructure is ready for connected and automated driving.
To keep our country accessible, competitive and futureproof.
Preparing for the future starts today!
One of the things we’ll need is digital connectivity for vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, like smart traffic lights.
We’ll be installing 1,200 of them before the end of the year.
We’ll also be putting into effect the most innovative technologies.
Because to accelerate, we need to move from testing to actual practice.
From start-up to scale-up.
Take the ‘TULIP transport corridors’, from the Port of Rotterdam to our neighbouring countries.
We want to make autonomous transport and innovative traffic management a reality on these routes.
It’ll be the next step in making the port of Rotterdam one of the most innovative and sustainable ports in the world.
In a few years’ time we’ll be able to have convoys of at least 100 lorries platooning on these routes.
Real trucks, with real cargo.
These kind of initiatives are drivers of change.
By 2030, we aim for every new car sold to be zero emission.
So, besides autonomous driving, vehicle-charging infrastructure is also at the heart of what we’re doing.
The Netherlands has one of the most extensive vehicle-charging infrastructure systems in Europe.
We’re proud of the many innovative Dutch startups that make this possible.
In this field, we share the same ambitions as China.
We have one public or community-access charging outlet for every four electric vehicles.
And we’re not just limiting ourselves to cars, buses and delivery vans.
We also provide electric charging infrastructure for Amsterdam’s famous canal boats.
Autonomous zero-emission boats will soon be travelling the canals of our capital.
This could be the start of all kinds of green logistical opportunities.
The electrification of all modes of transport is key if we’re to meet the goals we set ourselves in Paris.
And keep our cities liveable and attractive.
A great example of innovation is a special project in the city of Utrecht, where electric vehicles are charged using locally-produced solar energy.
It’s an initiative run by the people, for the people.
What else do we need?
Public and private partnerships.
They’re crucial if smart transport and mobility are to succeed.
Take green logistics.
Our cities want all goods to be delivered by zero-emission vehicles by 2025.
This ambition can only be achieved if all stakeholders work together.
Their commitment is laid down in a plan called Green Deal Zero Emission City Logistics.
All these initiatives give Dutch people more and more reasons to opt for electric transport options.
We have to enable the next generation of vehicles to actually take to the road.
So we’re going to create legal scope for automated driving.
Laying down requirements for reliability and safety that such cars must meet before they can hit the road.
A driving licence for self-driving cars, if you like.
Not for the driver – but for the car itself!
We have to create room for new transport concepts and make sure people can use them easily.
For instance, ‘mobility as a service’ – transport that’s available when you need it, to wherever you want to go, using your choice of transport modes.
I’ll also help cities and regions try out new transport concepts like car sharing, ride sharing and self-driving pods.
Another promising development is smart apps which drivers help to find a parking space.
In my country, almost a third of the traffic in cities is caused by people driving around looking for somewhere to park.
So, in a nutshell, our priorities for the next few years must be: creating new infrastructure that’s futureproof, making room for a new generation of clean vehicles, and testing innovative transport concepts.
All this will require closer cross-border cooperation in science, technology and innovation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
No one can move mountains alone.
If we want to move forward, we need all our knowledge, all our experience, all possible investment and all our enthusiasm to make it a reality.
But most importantly, we need to cooperate!
So I call on all market parties, local authorities and national governments to work on smart solutions together.
Nationally and internationally.
The Chinese and Dutch governments, together with market parties and knowledge centres, are already working together on smart and green transport and mobility.
With our biggest trade delegation ever in our joint history, we want to take essential, big, and new steps.
Because if we want to make our infrastructure futureproof, keep our cities attractive, our country sustainable and our road users safe, we need to work together.
So let’s pool our considerable knowledge and experience and write a new chapter in our longstanding friendship.
And let’s foster sustainable economic prosperity for both our peoples.
Thank you, Xiè xiè.