The future of living, working and transport in Dutch regions: planning for uncertainty

For many years spatial and transport planning was a process of guiding and directing growth. Population, housing stock, jobs, kilometres travelled almost continuously increased for almost as long as one can remember. The question was not if there would be growth but how much growth there would be. The PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency recently executed a foresight study investigating possible futures for living, working and transport in the Netherlands, looking towards the year 2040. In the study the authors look at living, working, mobility and accessibility, asking themselves three questions: what is the dominant direction of developments per region, how robust is this direction of development and what kind of bandwidth can be expected. The study incorporates three scenarios for the future. One business-as-usual variant, extrapolating recent trends into the future to describe a "surprise-free" future. And a high and a low scenario based on the two extreme scenarios from a previous study of the agency in cooperation with the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis. All scenarios assume unchanged policies with regard to planning and transport. In addition, different sets of policy measures were investigated: one regarding a much more liberal spatial planning policy and three alternatives for future infrastructure policies: two levels of investment and a combination with congestion charging. For each of the scenarios the authors analysed the development of population, households, jobs, mobility, match between jobs and workers and accessibility (jobs within reach). From this study the authors find that growth should no longer be taken for granted in many parts of the country. However, that does not mean that decline is immediately at their doorstep either. In some regions it is but for most of the country the future is much more diffused. Planning will have to deal with a broad spectrum of developments. The authors also find that changing the dominant way of thinking in urban planning can have great consequences regarding the spatial patterns in their country and the resulting mobility patterns. And the authors draw conclusions on the different infrastructure strategies. These insights gained in possible future development paths are relevant for policy. Continuing as has always been done before, with policies grafted on growth and expansion, can have severe negative effects: disinvestments in infrastructure and built environment and decline in existing urban areas. Since the uncertainty regarding the future is large, this justifies a new approach for planning: planning for uncertainty. The authors also conclude that new directions in policy should be carefully considered since their effects could include unwanted ones.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Abstract used by permission of Association for European Transport.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Association for European Transport (AET)

    1 Vernon Mews, Vernon Street, West Kensington
    London W14 0RL,    
  • Authors:
    • Snellen, Daniëlle
    • Ritsema van Eck, Jan
    • Hilbers, Hans
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 2011


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Bibliography; Figures;
  • Pagination: 14p
  • Monograph Title: European Transport Conference 2011: Seminars

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01491601
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 20 2013 3:30PM