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Smart mobility: ‘We have to get away from the auto-dominant thinking’

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From 2021 many Dutch cities will be dense. If we do nothing, the chaos doubles over the next five years. This is evident from an analysis of CROW knowledge center. According to research by Deloitte, in 2040 the need for parking spaces can be reduced by almost 40% by partial and self-driving cars. ‘That effect is already visible in some big cities.’ Advisors Hans Voerkecht and Wouter de Wit about trends and smart solutions for a future-proof city.

Which trends do you see in making the city future-proof?

‘Mobility and traffic flows continue to grow for the time being,’ says Hans Voerkrecht. Hans was involved as a project manager in the CROW analysis. He now works as a senior researcher at consultancy firm CE Delft: ‘Smart solutions are necessary. So: invest in good public transport systems and connections in combination with other clean means of transport, including the bicycle. ‘

‘There are already quite a few trends that can increase the accessibility and liveability of cities,’ continues Wouter de Wit, advisor at Deloitte Real Estate and Partnerships. ‘Shared cars and shared bicycles can, in combination with Mobility as a Service initiatives, reduce the number of cars and parking places in cities, provided they are facilitated.’

What would you like to advise road authorities about the infrastructure?

Hans: ‘With a new infrastructure you will not get there. The capacity of parking spaces on the outskirts of the city is not infinite. P + R sites are already bursting at the seams. Therefore, shift the focus from car-dominant thinking to alternative transport systems, such as the combination of public transport and bicycle or light rail. Make it more attractive to travel by public transport and increase the capacity. Reduced travel times due to fewer stops on tram and bus lines and priority on all intersections. In the meantime, increase the rates for the parking places in the city. Use access charges for commuters to relieve the city. ‘

Wouter: ‘I agree with Hans. In addition, the current infrastructure can be used more efficiently by sharing cars, car rides and parking spaces. Sharing becomes more attractive with Mobility as a Service and self-driving cars.MaaS makes the various forms of mobility accessible to everyone in one clear app. If you can drive a self-driving car at any time of the day, then the added value of your own car at the door is still relatively small. So you create a much lower parking requirement. All in all, the number of parking places needed in the Netherlands could drop to around 9 million in 2040. The vacated space will then provide space for around 45,000 new homes and 7,000 hectares of green. ‘

Can you agree with this research vision, Hans?

Hans: ‘The idea of Deloitte is partly feasible. Especially when it comes to the shared cars. That does yield something, but self-driving cars also provide additional transport flows in the inner city. And you want to reduce that. ‘

Wouter: ‘It is true that self-driving cars, especially in the short term when they have to mix with other road users, do not reduce traffic. I think the CROW analysis for 2021 is very realistic. For the period that we are looking at, until 2040, the potential of self-driving cars is large because they improve both road safety and traffic flow (driving closer to each other). In addition, a change in behavior is necessary to prevent the inner city from being blocked by non-shared self-driving cars. ‘

What are your own experiences in the city?

Hans: ‘I live in the Metropolitan area The Hague-Rotterdam, in Pijnacker. I have disposed of my car and use a shared car. Fortunately my children are already used to it. And I.’

Wouter: ‘I live in Amsterdam. This is already being done to improve the quality of life and accessibility. A car-free Leidseplein, quite a few providers of shared cars and shared bicycles and a strict parking policy. For example, I can not park my lease car at Deloitte. Lease contracts are anything but flexible. This is changing. Both leasing companies and employers are increasingly encouraging car sharing. Moreover, the number of car-sharing providers in Amsterdam is growing fast. However, they all still work with their own subscription form and app. If I can select the optimal option for each ride via an overarching platform, it becomes much more attractive. Such platforms are coming, so I do not expect that I will have my own car in the long run. ‘

More information about Smart Mobility Stories

This article is part of the Smart Mobility Stories # 10. On the website of the Innovation Center You can find more information about Smart Mobility Stories. More information about smart mobility can be found on the Smart Mobility page.

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