WORLD FIRST: Province of North Holland launches Blue Wave traffic management system for roads and waterways


The Province of North Holland is using Intertraffic Amsterdam this week (March 20-23) to showcase its new Blue Wave traffic management system – the first in the world to integrate management of water and road traffic in order to optimize bridge openings. The system will go live next month (April 17, 2018)

The extensive network of canals in Amsterdam and across North Holland means that bridge openings have a significant impact on road traffic flows. Moreover, canal traffic can be delayed as it must wait for bridge openings to be scheduled.

Blue Wave works via an app which boat skippers use to plan their journey. This app sends trip data to traffic management centers, which then make it available as open data to trip planners and navigation companies. This means that both drivers and skippers can get accurate information about bridge opening times so they can better plan their journeys to coincide with them and avoid delays. The app can help boats to bunch together that are on similar trips so that a single bridge opening will allow multiple craft through.

“It’s like green wave for the waterways,” project manager Giovanni Huisken (above) of Provincie Noord-Holland tells

“We have a bridge management system [designed by Technolusion], which is the heart of it, which gets information from a lot of sources such as public transport, especially about delays, so we know when they are going to cross the bridges. We also have sailing vessels and recreational vessels providing data – that last one is about 80% of the river traffic.”

“Until recently we didn’t have any clue about exactly where boats were going on the waterways, so we asked an app developer [Teqplay] to provide data about where vessels are now and where they are going. They provide navigation for recreational vessels and the app can, based on the speed and GPS data, predict the time a certain vessel will be at a certain bridge.

“The bridge management system has the optimum bridge opening times and that information is fed to the NDW which is the National Data Warehouse for road traffic and they are the distribution point for all of the Netherlands. So, for instance TomTom, can fetch the opening times of the bridges and use it within their navigation system.

“It’s win-win because the road traffic can go faster and you can have a sort of convoy of vessels on the river, so you have fewer bridge openings and river traffic goes faster.”

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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).