This morging was only slightly different compared to others: traffic was bad.
This time it was 525KM bad at it’s peak, a few minutes past 9 in the morning.
We Dutchies have always been very good at complaining about any- and everything. Weather, immigrants, politicians, the national football-coach, the neighbors and the traffic.
True, all named above do have flaws, faults or less desirable characteristics but complaining about the traffic has become a national sport. And also yes: there is a lot to complain about.
The only issue is that often it only remains at complaints, and no thoughts are given to solve the issue properly. Short-term solutions are often favoured as they accomplish quick-wins, but do not guarantee effects in the future.
A nice example is the often considered solution of laying down more tarmac. The reasoning behind this is that more tarmac allows for more traffic to go to the destination, and simple provides more space for the traffic to drive on.
At first it seams a really nice solution. We’ve got the spare land to build more highways on, or extend the existing highways; but there’s a catch. What to do about the existing bottlenecks? I’m talking about bridges, tunnels, fly-overs and other obstacles that are there due to our other infrastructures or nature itself. All of these will also have to be adapted or otherwise modified for the roads to consistently be improved.
Aside: the often cited argument of environmentalist groups that greater supply (of tarmac) leads to greater demand (traffic using the tarmac) is untrue, or at most of a very little influence on the daily commute in my opinion. Even if it is true, the daily practice learns us that with the current methods to get commuters out of their cars (high added taxes on fuels, fuel-dependent tax when buying a car, economy-priced public transportation) in place, traffic is still bad. More demand only adds little to the traffic as many already fear the morning-queue on the highways and try to avoid it by using alternative transportation methods.
More tarmac: insurmountable issues.
The second is to improve the public transportation. More supply, greater demand.
This also only has limited effect on the daily traffic, as many commuters have to travel to and from places not connected (well) to the public transportation network. And in many cases, using a car is simply faster than going by bus/subway/tram/train/lightrail.
To truly improve public transportation, a considerable investment has to be done to connect more cities by train, expand existing subway and tram-nets or intensify bus-services. It can only be guessed whether the proposed improvements are worth the massive investment. My guess would be that this would require at least €200 billion over the next five years: a price we simply cannot afford.
More could be added, but you would probably have guessed a single solution is not sufficient.
My proposal would thus be to combine several solutions, while the question still remains whether the issue can be solved at all.
If I were to have a saying in this: I would lay down more tarmac (both new highways and improvement of the current ones), improve the secondary road network to only have the inter-regional traffic using the highway, local traffic will use the secondary network. Also, I would cut down on highway-exits: less traffic is switching lanes leading to less accidents and better flow through.
To not end this list: I would intensify the public transportation by running more trains / buses / trams / lightrails / subway trains over the same route. More available space and with competitive pricing would almost certainly get more people in the public transportation.
In short: a combination of all these solutions might provide an answer to our daily growing problem.
With the emphasis on might, I’m not sure whether it can be solved at all.
What about you?