Case study Reliable and relevant information for travellers

Rotterdam Onderweg is an accessibility platform in the Rotterdam region that offers up-to-date, reliable and appropriate journey information to travellers. Rotterdam Onderweg is unique in its approach because it specifically maps out urban accessibility, combines information on road traffic and other modes of transport and shows live streams from around 30 traffic cameras around the city and on the ring road.

This information is offered via the website and via various social media channels. Rotterdam Onderweg is an initiative of the municipality of Rotterdam that seeks partnership with parties in the market and other road managers, such as Rijkswaterstaat.

Rotterdam Onderweg visualises accessibility in the city of Rotterdam and the surrounding area, using an Interactive map. Google Maps is used to do this. The map offers the opportunity of planning a route and has various options that can be checked on or off. Consider, for instance, public transport stops with real-time departures and live location information on public transport vehicles (and ferries), public transport bike (OV-fiets) sites, waterbus stops, bicycle shelters and parking garages, plus information on current availability. Scheduled roadworks and events are also shown on the map.

Rotterdam Onderweg keeps informed about incidents through direct contact with the Traffic Control Room. The platform reports incidents and updates via the website and social media. Finally, Rotterdam Onderweg also makes short videos on roadworks or up-coming events which will have an impact on accessibility (for instance the Rotterdam marathon).

Background and aim

The idea for Rotterdam Onderweg emerged from a Television programme, ‘Wegwerken’ on local station RTV Rijnmond, that was shown in 2013. The roadworks in the Maas tunnel were the spur for the urgency with which the Rotterdam Onderweg platform was set up, something which could subsequently be used as a channel for information on urban accessibility. Rotterdam Onderweg went 'live’ In June 2017.

The primary aim of Rotterdam Onderweg is to provide travellers In, around and passing through Rotterdam with up-to-date, reliable and appropriate information so that they can make their own choice. The slogan 'Know how to get there' fits in with this aim.

Scope and effect

Although there are no quantitative aims for Rotterdam Onderweg, the service is monitored every week. Since the start of Rotterdam Onderweg, the number of unique hits to the website has mushroomed. Particularly where there are incidents or other situations that may have a bearing on traffic (e.g. snow), there is a visible peak in hits for the platform.

The Rotterdam Onderweg web page was visited more than 678,000 times between 15 June 2017 and 18 April 2018, of which 548,000 hits were unique. The page with traffic cameras is the most viewed, about 231,000 times. On Twitter, Rotterdam Onderweg has accumulated more than 1,000 followers.

These followers are kept informed of the real-time traffic situation In and around Rotterdam with 1,187 messages. And the number of followers has also risen on Facebook: they currently number in excess of 7,000.

Points for attention

Rotterdam Onderweg lists the following considerations with regard to the approach:

  • The scope of the platform can be extended by working together with other parties in the area and event organisations. Rotterdam Onderweg works together with, for example, RTV Rijnmond and the NN Rotterdam Marathon. The Rotterdam Onderweg website is also accessible via other parties, by means of a so-called iFrame.
  • The coordination between Rijkswaterstaat and cities, for example in providing information about works taking place, is very important. After all, works in cities also affect motorways and vice versa. In the context of the Major Maintenance Project, this coordination is absolutely essential for everyone involved.

Can the measure be deployed more broadly?

The Rotterdam Onderweg measure can be applied more broadly. The size of the platform depends on the wishes of a project or region. Rotterdam Onderweg offers the following recommendations for deployment of a similar sort of platform:

  • Just make a start. It is difficult to get the platform fully reliable immediately, but don't let this deter you from getting started. By getting to work and creating mass, you also bring information to the platform (e.g. project leaders who provide information themselves).
  • A large project can help generate a flying start, because the urgency is present.
  • Be aware that there is a division between accessibility communication and project communication. To give an example, Rotterdam Onderweg does not communicate in detail about the reasons for the renovation of the Maas Tunnel, but does communicate about the consequences for accessibility.
  • Make sure that there is internal support and sufficient capacity. There must be someone available 24/7 for notifications and emergencies.