Case study Beter Benutten: the method for optimising use of resources

Under the auspices of the Optimising Use method a lot has been learnt within Rijkswaterstaat on how innovative measures can improve accessibility in the busiest areas. Although the programme expired in 2018, the knowledge and experience is retained in the Optimising Use method. Smart mobility initiatives carry on where Optimising Use leaves off. Use the method to make a success of Smart Mobility.

The Dutch government, regions and business community have been working in partnership since 2011 to improve accessibility by road, water and rail in the busiest regions. Optimising Use is an approach that primarily aims to optimise use of infrastructure and reduce congestion at major pinch-points. In 2014, the programme was extended to the end of 2017. In Optimising Use (Follow-Up), the focus is mainly on measures that allow travellers to get to where they want to be in a smart way. This is also how Smart Mobility works. The best practices in the ‘Toolbox Smart Mobility’ all cover elements of this working method.

Results to date

The fact that the Optimising Use approach is highly effective can be seen from the results. The first part of Optimising Use covers over 350 practical measures aimed at smarter use of infrastructure, influencing demand and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). These measures have led to 48,000 journeys avoiding rush-hour traffic per average working day. That translates to 19 per cent less congestion on over 400 Optimising Use routes at peak times in the morning and evening. At the same time, the measures make a positive contribution to sustainability, as those avoiding the rush-hour traffic take the train or bike/e-bike. This means there is an overall reduction in CO2 emissions of 70,000 t.

In the second part of Optimising Use, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and Rijkswaterstaat are working in partnership with the business community, not least via the Partnership Talking Traffic on 'new generation’ travel information. This is a way of making sure travellers are well informed before they embark on their journey and, once underway, know what is going on around the next corner, at the following exit or just before their destination.s

The method is the secret

The knowledge and experience on the Optimising Use method has been gathered and pooled thematically in the online Wegwijs platform. This is where you can read about the 'secret’ that has made the Optimising Use method a success. Interesting examples, practical instruments and valuable lessons give you an insight into how the approach is applied, and how you, a project manager, can use it.

Want to use Smart Mobility yourself? Get some inspiration from the 5 building blocks of the Optimising Use method.

Wide-ranging problem analysis This building block describes how you can work towards cost-effective solutions using a stakeholder and behaviour analysis, and solution scenarios. The method is suitable for area development plans aimed at increasing accessibility, but can also be used within a MIRT (Long-Term Infrastructure, Planning and Transportation) project. It helps policy makers and project managers to structure a thorough problem analysis.

Cost-effective solutions A cost-effectiveness analysis can be used to estimate the cost of individual measures and the effects to be expected. With a good target-group analysis and a structured estimation of the effects you can fine-tune the measures. Moreover, a good cost-effectiveness analysis provides important input for monitoring and evaluating measures.

Monitoring and evaluation The aim of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is to get projects to perform better and to learn lessons for future projects with as little extra pressure of work as possible.

Collaboration with employers The involvement of employers in Optimising Use initiatives proved very successful. That makes it possible for employers to influence their employees’ behaviour, for instance by encouraging use of alternative modes of transport. You can also make use of this approach with Smart Mobility.

Sustainability Sustainability is concerned with reducing emissions of CO2, particulate matter and nitrogen. Reducing traffic jams and shortening journey times, 2 important aims of Optimising Use, have a close relationship with sustainability. For instance, if employees cycle to work rather than take the car, they will be playing a part in reducing their carbon footprint and improving air quality. Sustainability is another important goal of Smart Mobility.

Solution scenarios

Smart mobility builds on the solution scenarios of Optimising Use and takes them to a new level.

Behaviour Insight into behaviour makes it possible for you to offer travellers suitable alternatives and reach the best possible effect using as few resources as possible. An evaluation study will give a good idea of what works and how you can apply principles of behaviour. This was used, for instance, to develop the TimesUpp app, the personal travel assistant that looks up the smartest route for you and tells you what the best time to leave is.

ITS Increasing numbers of travellers have smartphones or tablets, and thus constantly have information at their fingertips that can help them to plan and organise their journey. One example of this is Partnership Talking Traffic, also a Smart Mobility project. This is a collaborative effort between public and private parties which aims to assist road users and keep them continuously updated.

IMMA stands for Integrated Mobility Management Architecture and pools knowledge and experience gained from ITS, rush-hour avoidance, cycling projects and behaviour. IMMA ensures that there is a uniform, efficient, verifiable implementation of baseline measurements, recruitment, tracking and rewarding of participants in cycling and rush-hour avoidance projects, and traffic studies, for example.

Logistics The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment has developed a guide to road-based goods traffic mobility projects ‘(Wegwijzer Mobiliteitsprojecten Goederenvervoer over de Weg)’. The guide offers practical advice and tips in relation to how, why and when it might be worth transporting goods by road. Part of that is geared to improving supermarket logistics using Smart Mobility. By sharing data, we can reduce the number of kilometres expended by drivers aimlessly looking for parking spaces in city centres and goods-vehicle capacity can be utilised effectively.

Cycling Encouraging cycling and the use of e-bikes has the aim of giving people the option of going for a conventional bicycle or e-bike rather than the car. This includes e-bike schemes, better cycling infrastructure and bicycle sheds at public transport stops. A ‘P+Bike’ car park is somewhere on the edge of town where people can leave their car, before making the last part of their journey by bike.

Park + Ride Measures such as making parking more expensive or reducing parking capacity can, potentially, have a drastic effect on people's travelling behaviour. With the help of Smart Mobility applications, people driving into towns and cities can make more efficient use of parking facilities, thereby reducing the number of kilometres expended looking for parking spaces.

Learn more about the Better Benutten method at the Wegwijs online platform.