Because many people worked from home in times of corona, the number of traffic jams has decreased considerably. At the moment, more people are going to the office again, but even now we don't stand still en masse in the morning and in the evening. According to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, this situation is permanent. Therefore, it may no longer be necessary to invest in expanding the Dutch network of roads, according to the organization.
The Planning Bureau therefore advises the government to take a good look at the expansion plans for highways where there are often traffic jams. During the corona crisis, many employers have noticed that working from home works excellently and do not call their employees back to the office en masse. According to the Planning Bureau, the total traffic density on Dutch roads is not decreasing, but the spread will be greater. In other words: the rush hour will remain calmer.
The Mobility Alliance - a partnership of 25 parties in the mobility sector - does not understand the advice of the Planning Bureau. "We warned about corona myopia before," said chairman Steven van Eijck. “The Planning Bureau focuses unilaterally on the short term. [...] There will be 1 million more homes until 2030 and almost 2 million Dutch people by 2040. Doing nothing now will get us stuck. Letting that happen is not the way to force different travel behavior."
Even now that the home working advice is still in force, the number of passengers in public transport is already at 75 percent of before corona, the Mobility Alliance writes. We are already at 90 percent on the road, partly because more people are opting for individual transport. The Mobility Analysis of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management states that "the actual number of trips will increase by tens of percentages in the coming decades."
For car traffic, the expectation is between minus 6 and plus 32 percent. Freight transport by road will also increase strongly, expected by 5 to 27 percent. In this calculation, an expected decrease in commuter traffic has already been taken into account. In the past, such studies have always been overtaken by reality, according to the Mobility Alliance. Growth has always been higher than anticipated.
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