Over 3 million people avoid peak hour

The new approach for better traffic flows at major traffic jam junctions in twelve regions is starting to have an impact. Annually, over 3 million motorists are now avoiding peak hour. On a daily basis, this translates into 13,500 people who have disappeared from peak hour and in this way are significantly relieving congestion on the roads.

This was the outcome of the first results of the approach for better utilisation of existing infrastructure which Minister Schultz van Haegen (Infrastructure and the Environment) announced today. The initial results are mainly due to the various peak-hour avoidance projects in which Dutch motorists in various regions are being encouraged to travel to and from work in different ways or at different times. The projects that account for a considerable share of the effect are those in Arnhem-Nijmegen, Rotterdam and the Central  Netherlands.

Minister Schultz: "These initial results are promising and leave us hungry for more. They show that many people are travelling more intelligently due to small-scale, local measures. We have the key to solving the problem of congestion in our hands. But changing people’s habits requires patience and perseverance. And that’s why we will continue with this approach for making the Netherlands accessible in a smarter way."

Since 2011, the government, the regions and the business community have been working on improving accessibility in the Netherlands through the better utilisation of roads, waterways and railways. With some 300 smart and innovative measures in 12 busy regions, peak-hour traffic jams have been reduced at major junctions. The parties involved want to reduce traffic jams at busy junctions in the regions by 20 percent. The measures involved include: cycle highways, high-quality public transport, mobility budgets, cycling incentive projects, and transport by water rather than by road. In addition, agreements are being made with public sector organisations and the business community on shifting working hours and school hours so that peak hours become less busy. The approach is focusing further on the application of new in-car technologies that enable cars to communicate with one another and travel closer behind each other.

At the Beter Benutten (Better Utilisation) conference in Zwolle (6 March 2014), the Minister made new agreements with the 12 regions aimed at further reducing peak-hour congestion in the years ahead through additional measures. The Ministry and the regions will together be investing an additional 600 million euros in the period from 2014 to 2017. Through this investment, the parties want to achieve a 10 percent reduction in door-to-door travelling time in peak hour in the busiest areas.

The main emphasis in the follow-up programme will be on measures that enable travellers to arrive more quickly at their destination in an intelligent way. Together, the parties are focusing on the development of multi-modal travel information services and the use of in-car technology so that motorists can receive up-to-date and personal driving advice so that, for example, they can avoid unnecessary sudden manoeuvres on the road. In addition, the regions are collaborating on a number of important themes including: cycling, logistics, parking policy, events, approach to employers, education and peak-hour avoidance.