Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Netherlands invests €70m in intelligent transport systems

Steve Rogerson
December 10, 2015
The Netherlands plans to invest €70m in intelligent transport systems (ITS) until 2018. The money has been allocated by Schultz van Haegen, minister for infrastructure and the environment, and twelve regions.
The money will provide new technology and services that give travellers 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 services and gain practical experience with the latest technology.
Intelligent transport systems focus on travel behaviour before and during journeys. The goal is to serve travellers with personal, real-time and location-dependent advice. The investment of millions of euros could strengthen 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,” said van Haegen. “But it’s not until you piece together the puzzle that you can really give travellers customised 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.”
The nine ITS 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 lorry trips per day can be structurally avoided in the regions involved.
Another project is being started to reduce the build-up of traffic due to incidents. It is being rolled out in Brabant and Noord-Holland to begin with. Each year, more than 20,000 lorries and 150,000 passenger cars break down on the main road network. Improved sharing of information means both traffic management and road users can make allowance for incidents more effectively. With national coverage, this can result in 2.5 per cent congestion reduction.
Major improvements may also be made in terms of congestion around festivals, congresses and concerts. Each year, festivalgoers account for five million rush-hour car trips in and around cities. Investing in the development of good information services and event apps allows visitors to get customised travel advice, which will optimise the area’s accessibility for festivalgoers and other road users.
Projects are also being set up on the themes of connected and cooperative intelligent transport systems, travel information services, setting of new standards, and sharing of diverse streaming data of road managers and private parties.
In the Beter Benutten (Optimising Use) programme, the government, regions and businesses are working together to improve road, waterway and railway accessibility, and actively encouraging cooperation between the private sector, users and the government. The regions Brabant, Arnhem/Nijmegen, Twente, Maastricht, Haaglanden, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Stedendriehoek (the Apeldoorn-Deventer-Zutphen region), Groningen/Assen, Midden-Nederland, Zwolle/Kampen and Leeuwarden are investing in ITS together with the Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment.
The vast majority of Dutch adults are using smart phones and, increasingly, cars and infrastructure are getting connected 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 programme is looking at all possibilities in short and long range communications based services in support of the Dutch hybrid ITS strategy,” said Caspar de Jonge, programme manager for Beter Benutten ITS. “As we want to achieve results quickly, we need solutions that can be implemented quickly in all regions and all user groups. C-ITS using existing cellular 4G network technology will fill that need and at the same time prepare us for the next level of future telecoms and automotive developments.
“In the Brabant region, we will combine this with further testing of DSRC based technology, expanding on current live test projects in Helmond (Compass 4D) and between Eindhoven and Tilburg (shockwave mitigation). Brabant is a logical region for further real-world testing of 802.11p functionalities; this region’s innovation ambitions coincide with the development of the cooperative corridor between Rotterdam, Frankfurt and Vienna.”
The ministry is conducting several ITS programmes and projects with regional partners. Advanced technologies are being tested out in combination with new forms of traffic management and collaboration in the Amsterdam pilot, the ITS corridor, the innovation traffic centre and the policy theme of autonomous vehicle travel, among other initiatives. These and other efforts are part of the Road Map for Better In-transit Information (Routekaart Beter Geïnformeerd op Weg), in which government authorities and businesses are aiming for various long-term transitions.
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 programmes and initiatives initiated by governments in recent years make the Netherlands a 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 favourable testing, development and implementation environment.