Exclusive interview: Smart traffic solutions in the Netherlands


Ahead of Intertraffic Amsterdam, TrafficTechnologyToday.com caught up with Caspar de Jonge, ITS and smart mobility program manager at Rijkswaterstaat (the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management), to hear more about the Talking Traffic project

What is the Dutch government doing to increase smart mobility in the country?

The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, local governments and businesses are jointly investing 90 million euros in the Talking Traffic Partnership up to and including 2020.

The partnership with the traffic industry, telecommunications and internet companies, and automotive companies has been set up to develop and supply innovative traffic applications.

The deployment of connected ITS (C-ITS) applications will provide continuous en-route guidance and assistance to road users, and in the near future also to vehicles. This will increase their ability to anticipate traffic situations, which in turn improves safety, traffic flows and sustainable transport.

Why have you decided this course of action?

There are several reasons, we had an ambition to connect different groups of road users using existing telecom services and infrastructure. In the Netherlands, we have excellent 4G LTE coverage (about 98%) nationwide with 4G-enabled devices and subscriptions around 85%. That gives us a lot of possibilities to capitalize on when it comes to mobility, traffic and transport solutions.

We were very well aware that,as a public authority, we needed to cooperate with as many other entities as we could. What we were looking for was a true partnership in which we from the public side could get a co-investment, share risks with private entities but also assisting enterprises with their projects. That was exciting and also a large unknown – how do public entities (about 65-70 provinces and national authorities) cooperate with about 20-25 private entities – both small and large companies, local and international.

We had a lot of discussion about standards and data transfer, especially in regard to developing and producing new traffic light installations that can communicate with oncoming traffic through computer clouds and telecom infrastructure – that’s a challenge.

What about the project has pleased you most?

We have proven on a large scale that current 4G LTE telecommunications capabilities are suited to delivering new services in traffic transport and mobility – that was our main goal. It is possible because everybody has a smartphone or a connected car and a traffic management system or fleet management system for data aggregation and data fusion to take place to get the enriched service to the end user via existing telecommunications capabilities. You don’t need additional dedicated devices you can do it because it’s about latencies within the realm of what we need for the use cases that we’ve defined. There are 39 sub-use cases clustered into six groups that we’re going to deliver. That gives us a strong foundation for further steps towards connected and automated driving. So it doesn’t end here. We are already in the process of coming up with new steps towards a combination of short and long range communication with automated functions within the vehicle. I can’t talk freely about that because it’s still in the early stages. But we will do that in a public private cooperation because that’s something that suits us very well to share the burden, to share the risks and also share the benefits.

Intertraffic Amsterdam is not far away now (March 20), I imagine Talking Traffic will have a presence?

Yes we will be there, we’ve got a booth, as well as hosting some seminars and presentations as well as some small scale demos outside the front of the RAI Amsterdam building. We will take people in cars towards communicating traffic lights to show them what they can experience in the car and on the dashboard. We’re hoping to show the first functionalities of Talking Traffic at the show and then upload it the following day.

After that, users can download an app but we also expect some of these companies to be delivering these new services to automotive entities to be packaged along with their own services and we don’t mind, as long as they get the intended functionality.

For more on the projects Rijkswaterstaat is involved with, you

can register for Intertraffic Amsterdam, March 20-23 here.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and Rijkswaterstaat are co-hosting the event and can be found in the Smart Mobility Networking Area in hall 8.in Hall 8, Stand 08.416

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).