Report 1 Road infrastructure planning in the Netherlands Problems and trends for increasing sustainability

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1 Faculty of Spatial Sciences Report 1 Road infrastructure planning in the Netherlands Problems and trends for increasing sustainability Taede Tillema and Jos Arts Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen May

2 1. Introduction This report describes and conceptualizes Dutch road infrastructure planning and discusses the problems and trends for alleviating them. Developments in the field are linked to more general trends in society. In fact, the infrastructure trends within Rijkswaterstaat are positioned within the broader, scientific perspective. Section 2 starts with an introduction into the transport infrastructure planning practice in the Netherlands. In section 3, we conceptualize the field of infrastructure planning. Problems with the planning of road infrastructure in the Netherlands are discussed in section 4. Section 5 addresses trends in the infrastructure planning field and relates them to more general trends in the post modern society. Finally, section 6 provides a short discussion. To increase the readability, each section starts with a framework in which the most important points that are made in each section are summarized. The necessary context is provided by the main text. 2. Transport infrastructure planning in the Netherlands: an introduction Main points addressed in this section Policy shifts in time regarding the focus on supply or demand-related measures to improve mobility. Current policy is laid down in the National Mobility Plan (Nota Mobiliteit): both supply of infrastructure and demand measures (e.g., road pricing) are important. Fields of infrastructure and spatial planning are still rather separated: sectoral planning ( silos ). But, first steps towards external integration (e.g., area-oriented approach; from MIT to MIRT) Three stages in infrastructure planning are laid down in the programming and budgeting system (MIRT): explorative phase, project study phase, realization stage. A well-functioning transportation system plays an essential role in open economies around the world. This may even be more the case for a country such as the Netherlands whose economic well-being depends largely on a fluent distribution of goods to and from its two important international mainports, i.e. the harbour of Rotterdam and the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. As a consequence, transport and mobility play an important role in Dutch policy making, which is also reflected by various policy reports that have been written and the extensive array of planning instruments that have been created over time. In the Netherlands, national policy reports guide the transport related developments for pre-determined time horizons. Since the 1960s five of such policy reports have been developed by Dutch government. These plans differ substantially with respect to their focus on either supply or demand related measures to improve mobility (see, e.g., Bouwman and Linden, 2004). In the most recent policy plan, i.e. the National Mobility Plan ( Nota Mobiliteit ; V&W, 2005) supply-side measures play an important role (e.g., planning new peak lanes, extension of roads by extra lanes, or new roads). However, at the same time it also pays attention to demand measures, such as road pricing. It aims to facilitate traffic demand, but not always and in an unlimited way; in addition to accessibility, for instance, objectives such as traffic safety and liveability also have to be attained and, therefore, take an important place 2

3 in Dutch transport policy. This policy has been confirmed and elaborated in the Mobility Approach policy document ( Mobiliteitsaanpak, V&W 2008). Mobility is thus seen as a necessary condition for economic and social development, albeit within environmental boundaries (V&W, 2006, 2008b). This also stresses the strong relationship between transportation and spatial planning policies. Nevertheless, despite the now generally accepted view that transportation planning and spatial planning ought to be closely linked, in order to alleviate the current complex environmental problems, both sectors are (still) rather separated. Fuelled especially by the strong growth of car traffic in the post-reconstruction period after the Second World War, a full traffic and transportation sector more or less liberated itself from the spatial planning field. The idea was that such a separate field was better able to control and facilitate the need for extra road capacity. This sectoral approach initially appeared to be successful given the rather rapid increase in highway capacity between 1960 and 1975; in this period the highway network in the Netherlands increased from 333 to 1540 kilometres (V&W & VRO, 1977) see figure 1. However, starting in the late sixties of the last century also people became more and more aware of the downsides of the traffic growth, such as traffic pollution, unsafety, and the harmful effects of infrastructure provision on the environment. The growing societal resistance (see, e.g., Tjallingii, 1996; Bosch and Van der Ham, 1998) and opposition in the years thereafter often resulted in planning delays and sometimes even cancellations of infrastructural plans. As a consequence, the trend has been more and more to change from a purely line-focused sectoral planning approach towards a plan-making process that takes into account the opportunities and limitations offered by the surrounding area. Such an integrated planning approach is expected to result into a more sustainable planning process and into more sustainable road infrastructure (Arts, 2007). Although area-oriented approaches are getting more attention in policy documents, practical experiences are not abundant. The start WW2 Rebuilding the nation Mass motorization Oil crisis and changing society Completing the network, environmental restrictions kilometres Length of carriageway Length of roads Length of roads widened Figure 1: Development of the Dutch national road network (source: RWS 2009) To regulate the budgets for investments in new road infrastructure there is a programming and budgeting system under which the Long-Range Programme Infrastructure & Transport ( MIT ; V&W, 2007) is updated every year. The MIT year 3

4 provides an overview of current infrastructure projects and involves three stages of decision-making: the explorative study stage ( reconnaissance studies ; verkenning ), the project study ( planstudie ) and the actual realisation stage ( realisatie ). To be realised, every infrastructure project has to run through each of these subsequent stages (V&W, 2004). Recently the MIT has been replaced by the MIRT the Long- Range Programme Infrastructure, Space & Transport as part of the Cabinet policy to integrate spatial and infrastructure investments in a better way. The goal of the explorative phase is to provide the minister of Transport with the information to make a sound assessment of the need and necessity of a proposed infrastructure project. It starts with an intake decision; this is a declaration by the minister that a certain trafficrelated problem may exist. After this intake decision, an explorative study starts, in which the problem is worked out into more detail, the relevant directions for solutions are investigated, the necessity to make infrastructural solutions is made clear, and in which an indication is given of the finances that are involved. Afterwards, the minister can order to start a project study. In the project study phase the formal decisionmaking takes place. Usually, route determination and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures resulting in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) are required. Both are fully integrated, as required by the Infrastructure Planning Act ( Tracéwet ). The project study phase is characterized by several rounds of clarifying the proposed project, each of them concluded by a round of consultation, advice and public review. After the last consultation round, the ministers of Transport and of Environment make the final Route Decision. Subsequently, the (environmental) permits necessary to carry out the project can be granted by the authorities involved. In the final stage, the realisation phase, the procurement procedure is started, after which the bidding market party that has won the contractor can sign the contract with the government after which the construction of the road can begin. After the construction has finished, EIA follow up monitoring and ex-post evaluations can be performed. It can be concluded that the regulations for road infrastructure development are strict because of the potentially huge impact of transport infrastructure on the environment, health, on safety and on property interests. Whereas traditionally the road infrastructure planning process was rather line-based and sectoral, planning delays and lacking quality of proposals have led to the current common vision that a change is needed into a more integrated, flexible planning approach in order to decrease the problems. The development of the MIRT-programme and MIRT-rules (V&W and VROM, 2008) in this respect can be seen as an example of the translation of this vision into concrete plan making. 3. Conceptualization of the transport infrastructure planning field: a sustainability perspective Main points addressed in this section Conceptualization of infrastructure planning o The planning process takes place in an environment, that we divide into three pillars: economic space, ecological space and social-cultural space (i.e., the pillars of sustainability) o This environment influences and is influenced by external trends that consist of: economic trends and innovations, societal trends, political/administrative trends, and environmental trends (see, also, section 5) 4

5 The current view (in practice, science and policy) is that measures aimed to influence traffic demand and measures aimed to make optimal use of the available road capacity are not sufficient for dealing with increasing traffic congestion problems. Extra road capacity (i.e. the supply side) by providing new transport infrastructure is also needed (V&W, 2005). As described in section 2, the infrastructure planning process can roughly be divided into three stages: the explorative study stage, the project study stage, and the realization and operation phase. Ideally these stages are passed through as a smooth succession of activities in time (see section 2). However, it is not uncommon in reality that experiences in later phases lead to (needed) adjustments in earlier planning stages. This may to a large extent be due to the complex (direct) environment in which (project) planning takes place. In line with the three-pillar approach to sustainability (see, e.g., Gibson 2005) we divide this direct environment into three interrelated parts: an ecological/physical space, a social (-cultural) space and an economic space. The ecological space represents the non-human characteristics, such as the quantity of space. The social space regards the human-side, meaning the actors that live in a certain area. The economic space resembles the direct economic characteristics of the environment in which the infrastructure project planning takes place. All three spaces are interrelated, which is indicated by the dashed lines in figure 2. The quality of space ( ecological space ), for instance, can be rather subjective, as people ( social-cultural space ) may value spatial characteristics differently. Moreover, the availability of space ( ecological space ) and the perceived quality may influence the opinions and possible actions of people ( social-cultural space ) regarding certain infrastructure plans. Also, mutual relationships with the economic space can be drawn; the economic situation in an area may set the financial preconditions within which actors have to make plans. In reverse, the economic space may also be influenced by actors themselves, for instance, by the way decision takers assign available budgets. On the other hand, relationships can be drawn between the economic and ecological space. Economic and ecological aspects may well conflict because the most profitable plan (at least in the short run) may not be the most preferred plan from an ecological point of view. For creating sustainable plans, and, in the end, to realize sustainable infrastructure, a good balance between the ecological, the economic and the socio-cultural space is necessary. Infrastructure planning takes place within these direct environments, and, therefore, is strongly linked to them. Within the social space we distinguish different types of actors, e.g.: (semi) public institutions, the market or private sector, interest groups, non-for profit (governmental) organizations, and (individual) households. All these actors have their own interests, attitudes, habits, preferences, demands, etcetera. These determine their behaviour. Their involvement in the planning process, however, may differ. Some actors, for instance, have more (legal) power than others. Also the type of power is distributed differently: legal power, development power, hindrance power. Furthermore, the type involvement may depend on the (un)willingness and capacity to cooperate and/or invest, but also it is subject to timing. Traditionally, the first stages of exploring and studying projects are dominated by the government and by other public institutions. In contrast, market parties contractors are the ones that actually build the road infrastructure, whereas contractors and public institutions/agencies such as Rijkswaterstaat are involved in the (planning of) maintenance. The market is, 5

6 however, hardly involved in the planning process itself apart from some engineering and impact assessment work by consultancy companies. Third parties (such as residents, households, NGOs) tend to be involved especially in the project study stage e.g. as part of public review of formal procedures such as EIA, route planning procedures and land-use planning procedures but they are usually much less present in the more abstract policy-oriented stage of explorative studies. All these actors influence the plan-making process. The resulting plan in turn may conflict with preferences/demands of specific actors and may lead to opposition and the subsequent delay, readjustment or even cancellation of plans. Relations between the ecological space and planning can be addressed as well. The availability of space, for instance, is an important precondition for plan-making. Finally, the economic situation determines the financial possibilities and limitations of a project. The direct environment around a project plan is not independent from its external environment. Societal trends, like globalization and more articulate citizens, political/administrative trends, such as neo-liberalism, and environmental/ecological trends (e.g., climate change, pollution by emissions, ecological degradation, sustainability) all have their influence on the direct environment, and thus on the infrastructure planning. Such external trends are described more elaborately in section 5. On the other hand, experiences with different infrastructural planning projects may influence the external environment. These experiences may, for instance, lead to the adjustment or creation of new regulations, the use of well-evaluated technologies in other fields, etcetera. 6

7 External influences & trends Economic trends and innovations Direct (project) environment Economic space Investment budget and climate Pricing externalities Cost benefit analysis Planning process Environmental trends Ecologic space Quantity of space Quality of space abstract opeartional Policy Explor. study Project study time Realization Mainte -nance Social-cultural space Actors 1. Type Institutional/public Market Households 2. Prefs., demands, behaviour 3. Involvement (in process) Power Timing Cooperation Societal trends Political/ administrative trends Figure 2: Conceptual framework 7

8 4. Problems with the planning of infrastructure in the Netherlands Main points addressed in this section The planning of road infrastructure in the Netherlands has come to a deadlock: o Time-span from explorative planning stage to realization: +/ years. o Formal time limits are not met in practice. o Much time spent on will-shaping. Problems in MIT planning phases: o Explorative phase: often lacking, unstructured and undirected. o Project study phase: gathering of (too) much detailed data with uncertainty, judicial risks, and, as a consequence, time and cost overruns. o Construction and operation: monitoring of effects of a project is insufficient or missing. The planning of road infrastructure in the Netherlands has come to a deadlock. Time and cost overruns are rule rather than exception. Moreover, both the planning process and the outcome often run short in quality and innovativeness. Projects, for which a final decision has been made, take some nine to ten years from the first start in the reconnaissance phase to the final construction (see, e.g., Elverding 1, 2008). Moreover, many projects proposed within the Long-Range Programme Infrastructure & Transport (MIT) have not yet been approved and have actually stagnated. If these projects are also taken into account, the duration of the planning process is even higher: on average approximately fifteen years, while projects with a planning process of more than twenty years are no exception. Many formal time limits are not met in practice. Even over time, little or no improvement can be seen (Elverding, 2008). Most time seems to be spent on will-shaping, the principle go/no-go decision (Arts, 2007). Nevertheless, it is not only a problem that is specifically linked to the Netherlands. In other countries the planning of transport infrastructure also takes much time, in the order of ten to twenty years (see e.g. TK, 2004; Flyvbjerg et al., 2003; WRR, 1994). Amount of effort reconnaisance phase project study phase realization phase maintenance phase Stages planning process Figure 3: Present situation in road construction projects 1 An external committee on the Faster decision-making of infrastructure projects ( Commissie Elverding ), appointed by the Dutch minister of Transport and the minister of Environment together. 8

9 Figure 3 schematically indicates the effort that, generally speaking, is put into each of the phases in a MIT-project; higher boxes thereby represent higher effort (see, also, Lenferink et al., 2008). Currently, the explorative phase for many projects is often lacking, and when it is carried out it is rather unstructured and undirected. A great number of alternatives go through an unclear decision-making process, which results in a project-study decision that is usually little focused. The phase can be characterized by a low degree of participation, especially compared with the project study phase, in which the many alternatives that result from the explorative phase are examined more closely. Within the project-study phase much detailed information is usually gathered in order to check whether the various alternatives fit within the strict (environmental) regulations especially air quality, noise and nature issues are of vital importance to the plan and within the decision-making process. However, stakeholders involved, who oppose to a project, can easily find facts in the great amount of information that contain errors, and thus provide ground to appeal against such a project proposal, which they utilize. As a consequence, these appeals can well cause major delays or even (temporary) cancellations of total projects. The judicial risks, together with the ever-changing political preferences, commitment and a consensus orientation ( polderen ) create an unstable context in the project study phase, and cause this phase of the project to be time and cost intensive. Once the construction phase is started, the planning process seems to calm down. After completion of the construction there is hardly any specific (political and social) attention for the project anymore: the monitoring of the effects of the project is insufficient or missing. 5. Trends in the network society: creating and solving problems with respect to the Dutch infrastructure planning? 5.1 Introduction Planning takes place in a society that is in a continuous state of flux. Trends in society on the one hand cause the problems that the infrastructure planning field faces. Proposed remedies, on the other hand, also can be traced back to these trends. In section 5.2 we shortly describe some of the, in our opinion, important trends in the current society. The characteristics underlying the problems in the infrastructure planning are discussed in section 5.3. Section 5.4 elaborates on solution directions in the light of the societal trends. 5.2 Trends in society Many trends can be seen in society. The difficulty is to categorize them, because they are often interrelated. Without the aim of being exhaustive we distinguish five trends, relevant for Dutch infrastructure planning, and in our opinion most prevalent. General trends in society: 1. Ongoing individualization 2. Glocalization: combination of globalization and regionalization/localization 3. Limits to neo-liberalism 4. Institutional rules and steering: diminishing role of the state government? 5. Environmental issues: global and local. 9

10 Generally speaking these societal trends, although maybe categorized or labelled somewhat differently, also emerge from other scenario studies (see, for instance, Van der Vlist et al., 2008; Van Twist et al., 2009). We explain each of these trends in the different subsections below. (Ongoing) individualization Traditionally, Dutch society was strongly divided along class and religious lines. This gradually changed in the 1960s and 1970s which was a time of great social and cultural change (i.e., the depillarization, ontzuiling ), partly driven by the growing resistance against (rigid) traditional norms and values and fed by the increasing prosperity and education level of the population. People strived for change in matters of individual rights (e.g., emancipation) and environmental issues. The society became more individualized. This process was further strengthened by the increasing possibilities due to technological innovations. An important example is the growing mobility of people due to mass transportation (especially the car), which made people more free in undertaking activities at a distance. Another example are the possibilities provided by the introduction and widespread adoption of modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). These ICTs, together with the growth of innovative transportation modes lead to a new geography by transforming post-industrial society from a place-based to a more person-based (network) society (Castells, 1996; Haythornthwaite and Wellman, 2002). However, the individualization and decoupling of places in turn appears to increase the relevance and meaning of social contacts, not only in terms of coordinating our activities (e.g. by means of ICTs) but also when it comes to fulfilling needs of belonging to others or to self-identification (Bauman, 2000). Glocalization: globalization and localization Globalization is the name for the process of increasing the connectivity and interdependence of the world s markets and businesses (Investorwords.com, 2009). This definition seems to be rather economic-based. However, the globalization process is a combination of economic, technological, socio-cultural and political forces (Croucher, 2004). Recent driving factors are the advances in ICTs, which have made it possible to maintain social networks at a distance. Still, however, occasional physical meetings appear to be necessary to maintain or deepen contacts and to create trust (see, e.g., Urry, 2007). Whereas, on the one hand the world more and more becomes a level playing field, there are also attenuating trends with respect to localization/regionalization. This may have different (interrelated) reasons. From a social point of view, the rapid depillarization of society and the globalization have uprooted persons. As a consequence people are searching for certainties and feelings of belonging, which they may find in the familiar area/region where they live. From a political standpoint, decentralization processes have become popular. The idea being that local issues and problems can be better solved by government bodies located in the area where such issues take place. In addition, regions are exploring more and more to their ((semi- )historic and local) identity to distinguish themselves in the global competition. These two contemporary, but opposite trends of on the one hand globalization, and, on the other hand, localization (see, also, figure 4), can also be referred to as glocalization (see, also, Wellman, 2002). 10

11 globalization localization glocalization Figure 4: Trend towards globalization and regionalization/localization Limits to neo-liberalism In many Western countries, neo-liberalism dominates policy-making. This ideology seeks to restore the free market economy, advocated by traditional liberalism that considers individual liberty and equality to be the most important political goals. Since the 1980s this ideology has gained much momentum with respect to reorganising the government sector (the so-called New Public Management ) in many countries, including the Netherlands. This restoration is achieved by transferring part of the control of the economy from state to the private sector (Cohen, 2007). In this respect, different overlapping regime changes can be identified, such as liberalization, privatization and commercialization (WRR, 2008). When a state-dominated sector is liberalized, competition constraints are taken away such that more (private) companies can compete in offering goods and services to consumers. The reasoning behind it is that competition leads to more efficient production and lower prices. Privatization can go hand-in-hand with liberalization. However, privatization can also take place without introducing competition; the public monopoly is than replaced by private monopoly (WRR, 2008). Commercialization, finally, is the trend to run a publicly owned sector on the basis of commercial market principles. In the Netherlands these free market principles have led to regime changes in different formerly publicly owned companies, especially in the 1990s. Examples are, the privatization (and splitting up) of the Dutch railways, the commercialization of electricity companies and of the mail and telecom sector. Whether or not we are still in the neo-liberal period is somewhat unclear. However, amongst other things, growing environmental and climate problems, and growing gaps between rich and poor, indicate that neo-liberalism does not solve all problems and may even lead to new ones. Moreover, the recent worldwide financial crisis has indicated the need for a government sector to regulate market failures. There are some indications that we are currently living in a post neo-liberal society (see, e.g., Docherty et al., 2004). 11

12 Institutional rules and steering issues In line with the neo-liberalist ideology, the Dutch government intends to cut in bureaucracy, which stands for the total array of regulating institutions and regulations (Van Dale, 2009). The expectation is that by reducing the number of rules, the private market sector can more freely operate against lower administrative costs. Moreover, the reduction of rules can decrease public enforcement costs. The size of the regulatory instruments on a national level are not only decreased by cutting rules but also by transferring certain responsibilities to more decentralized public institutions such as regions and municipalities. Somewhat contrary to this trend are the expanding requirements of European (environmental) directives/regulations that have to be translated into Dutch regulations e.g., Habitat/Birds directives, air quality directive. Thus, whereas the aim is to cut regulations on a national level, they are often replaced by new ones on an European or regional/municipal scale. This institutional trend seems to be somewhat analogous to the trend of glocalisation. Environmental issues: global and local As described before, the end of the 1960s was a period of great social and cultural change in many Western countries where a rather rigid culture, unable to contain the demands for greater individual freedom, broke free of its social constraints. It was in that same period that concerns arose regarding the limitedness of natural resources, especially the fossil fuels, and the accompanying pollution of the environment. This led to the publication of the first report of the Club of Rome in 1972, called The Limits to Growth. This report explored a number of scenarios and stressed the choices open to society to reconcile sustainable progress within environmental constraints (The Club of Rome, 2009). The international effects of this report were huge and are sometimes described as a Big Bang. The increasing awareness led to progressive environmental policies in the eighties. Well-known examples are policies that were aimed to reduce more globally related problems such as acid rain effects, and, measures taken to reduce the wholes in the ozone layer. However, also policies for local environmental problems were constructed. Dutch examples are the soil contamination policies and waste management e.g. separated garbage selection and the deposits on plastic (bottles). All these concerns also led to the notion that economic development should not go at the expense of the environment. As a consequence, the concept of sustainability gained on popularity. The UN report Our Common Future (WCED 1987) is considered to be one of the first contributions that defines sustainability adequately: [Sustainable development is] development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (WCED 1987). The concept should ideally combine economic, social and environmental aspects of growth and development (Porter and De Roo, 2007). In practice, however, economic and social values often dominated (weaker, long-term) ecological concerns. This especially was the case in the 1990s and in the beginning of the new millennium, in which the strong free market orientation in Western societies pushed ecological values to the background. However, more recently, and partly initiated and accelerated by Al Gore s documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, environmental issues have returned to the foreground. This time, however, the focus is on global warming and its consequences for climate change, which is a harder problem to tackle than the (local) environmental problems that dominated policy in the 1980s. 12

13 5.3 Characteristics behind the problems in the Dutch road infrastructure planning Main points addressed in this section Characteristics behind the problems of the road infrastructure planning can be traced back to (several) societal trends described in section 5.2. In this section, we distinguish and describe four, interdependent, characteristics (see Arts, 2007): o Large stakes that may conflict with each other o An increasing scarcity of space and an increasing population size o A growing influence of (European) regulation o A changing role of the central government. Road infrastructure (realization) influences stakes both positively and negatively. A negative aspect is that infrastructure occupies space that cannot be used for other purposes. But also the construction and the utilization of infrastructure may negatively affect the environment (e.g., noise nuisance, air pollution, traffic safety). Positive effects, on the other hand, are that infrastructure connects different opportunity locations, structures space and that it facilitates (car) mobility. Because of the scarcity of space in the Netherlands (relative to many other countries) in combination with a growing population size, many functions such as living, working, recreating, services, agriculture, nature, water, and traffic compete for the available space. These different functions often conflict, and, have led to the development of a large set of (binding) instruments to reconcile functions and potential conflicts. However, the ever increasing influence of (European) environmental directives, rules, and legislation further complicates the infrastructure planning process. The consequence of these, often complex, rules is that mistakes in the preparation of certain formal decisions are quickly made. As a consequence, it is not uncommon that (European) environmental regulations are the reason for negative court decisions on (parts of) infrastructure planning proposals. Well-known examples in the Netherlands are the negative court decisions regarding the broadening of the A4 motorway near Leiden in 2007 and with respect to the planning of some peak lanes along motorways (e.g., along the A1 and A2 motorways in 2004). However, these, from a developer s perspective, negative court decisions are not particularly due to European directives (in this case regarding air quality), but rather are caused by the strict way regulations are interpreted by the state (Zonneveld et al., 2008). In the Netherlands, for instance, a sharp boundary is drawn between plans that just meet or fail the formulated air quality norms whereas in many other EU member states it is not common practice to test projects that only slightly decrease air quality (Zonneveld et al., 2008). Furthermore, in contrast to other countries, in the Netherlands limiting values count everywhere irrespective of whether people are actually exposed to air pollution. Also limiting values are determined in a very detailed way and are enforced more strictly compared to in many other countries. Also, Dutch infrastructure planning may be further complicated by the rather centralized perspective; the government takes up a key position, which is due to the collective character of and the external effects linked to road infrastructure. However, infrastructure also has important local implications, such as intersections of nature and Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) effects. These more local characteristics may be better dealt with at a more decentralized level, because local and regional (public) institutions may have more knowledge about specific local contexts. 13

14 The characteristics and developments described above make road infrastructure planning uncertain and unpredictable. The traditional reflex of the planners has been to hedge the risks by means of reinforcing a sectoral and linear infrastructure planning process. However, such an isolated perspective does not consider a proper fit of infrastructure into its environment and, therefore, further complicates the planning process. This may, for instance, also lead to a sub-optimal exploitation of the structuring function of the road for a certain area by not exploiting the opportunities of spatial combinations of for instance road, housing and working development in a good way. Moreover, because of the strong focus on formal procedures to plan a line through the landscape, the importance of different stakeholders in the physical and social environment is often disregarded, which may lead again to suboptimal plans (that invest much in mitigation measures instead of focusing on smart spatial designs) and to opposition. 5.4 Trends for alleviating the problems in the Dutch road infrastructure planning Main points addressed in this section Section General trends in transportation policy and planning (both traffic and infrastructure related): o Until mid-1970s: Facilitating demand by building new road infrastructure o 1980s and early 1990s: due to recognition of the negative impacts of transport, a policy shift occurred: Influencing demand (e.g., making public transport more attractive) Optimal use of road capacity (e.g., network optimization) o Mid-1990s onwards: combination of more demand and supply dominated prior policy views: Facilitating traffic, by providing extra road capacity Streamlining traffic demand (e.g., by means of road pricing). Section Recent trends in infrastructure planning Content o Trend towards network analyses and area oriented approach o Trend towards achieving sustainability and a higher spatial quality o Trend towards (stronger and earlier) market involvement/ppp o Trend towards small, smart solutions Process o From MIT to MIRT o More balanced approach in terms of attention for, and effort put into the different phases of infrastructure planning. Administrative, steering, and judicial trends o Decision-makers/administrators should stick to plans o Stronger decentralization, because of situation-specificity o Administrative loop option for administrative law judges o Spoedwetgeving (Urgent Law) o Programmatic planning (e.g., NSL, MIRT). 14

15 5.4.1 General trends over time in transportation planning In our definition, transportation planning both contains policy measures relating to traffic demand (e.g., road pricing) and supply (e.g., new infrastructure). Although, we particularly focus on the supply side the spatial hard ware both demand and supply are strongly related. Therefore, in this section we (implicitly) describe both transport policies relating to supply and demand. The field of transportation planning is dynamic in a sense that (positive and negative) real world experiences lead to adaptations in planning policies and processes. Section 2 already gave some information regarding trend or focus shifts in time. Traditionally, until the mid-1970s, transport planning aimed on facilitating the needed extra road capacity as a consequence of increasing car possession and car use. However, the stronger recognition that transport also had negative consequences (e.g., air pollution, noise nuisance, traffic accidents, fragmentation of nature, and destruction of the skyline) created a policy shift in the 1980s and the early 1990s. On the one hand, policy makers tried to influence traffic demand, for instance, by making public transport more attractive. From a supply side perspective, on the other hand, policies were aimed at making an optimal use of the available road capacity (by means of, for instance, dynamic traffic management and network optimization), and by a better physical fit of the infrastructure into its environment. From the mid 1990s onwards directions in the transport planning field again were slightly changing. The policies started to aim at facilitating traffic, by providing extra road capacity, and at streamlining traffic demand (e.g., by means of road pricing). This can be seen as a combination of the more demand and supply dominated prior policy views (an example of this is provided by the Ladder van Verdaas ; Verdaas et al., 2005). In that same period, however, it became clear that new infrastructural projects were coping with large cost and time overruns as a consequence of the increased complexity surrounding projects, such as the opposition of actors, the scarcity of space and the environmental regulations. In addition, the expectation of the Dutch cabinet that the market would play a large role in these projects by means of public private partnerships turned out to be wrong. Market parties were hardly interested. Examples of Dutch mega-projects that did not run according to plan are the goods train line called Betuwe line and the high-speed train line HSL-south. The problems even led to a parliamentary research into the consequences and possible lessons for the future (Duivesteijn, 2004) Recent trends in infrastructure planning As described in section 5.3, also road infrastructure planning deals with delays, cost overruns and even cancellations. Some contemporary policy trends towards alleviating these problems can be distinguished. We categorize them into three (interrelated) themes: (i) trends in the content, (ii) trends in the planning process, (iii) administrative and judicial trends. Content Influenced by, amongst other things, environmental/sustainability concerns, scarcity of space, the changed roles of the individual and traffic congestion problems, there is an increasing trend towards area oriented road infrastructure planning. The notion that the area around road infrastructure is important entered the policy domain already in the 1970s (see, also Struiksma and Tillema, 2009). On the one hand, policy documents at that time began to acknowledge that a new road had to be seen as part of a total network. In this way, potential traffic flows over a new road could be estimated 15

16 more accurately in advance. Moreover, the expectation was (and still is) that a thorough network analysis can lead to an optimal use of the available road/network capacity. On the other hand, policy documents started to pay more attention to the physical fit of a line within its environment and to the harmful effects of traffic, such as air pollution. With respect to this environmental aspect, policy documents in the 1970s till 1990s particularly focused on minimising the harmful consequences of a new road for the environment (e.g., by constructing noise barriers). More recently, however, the context has been broadened towards a more integrative (areaoriented) planning with a stronger emphasis on development and on opportunities. A road is not only being regarded as part of a network but also as part of a total environment. The trend is to co-develop and tune both the road infrastructure and the area around it instead of protecting the environment from the road (see, e.g., Elverding, 2008; V&W, 2009). Concepts like spatial quality and sustainability are important in this respect (Hooijmeijer et al., 2001). With respect to sustainability the challenge lies in combining solutions for the three P s: people, planet, profit; the trend is to change to a more integral sustainability and health thinking (DWW, 2007). Moreover, the attention has also been broadened more specifically to the actor-environment. A stronger and earlier involvement in the planning process of people, the market and local (and regional) public institutions may well lead to more acceptable, sustainable and innovative plans, which may reduce opposition-related delays (see, e.g., Elverding, 2008). In addition, costs may potentially reduce because of a smoother planning process, and, because of utilizing potential co-financing opportunities (e.g., public-private and/or public-public partnerships; see, e.g., Ruding, 2008). In the public debate, a stronger involvement of the market in projects by means of, for instance, public private partnerships (PPP) is regarded to be important. This is because of positive PPP effects in other European countries and because there is some doubt whether public institutions, such as Rijkswaterstaat, are sufficiently equipped to carry out their heavy tasks in the construction and operation phase(s), especially when it comes to complicated projects both from a technical and legal point of view that demand much specialized expertise, experience and continuity. Moreover, market involvement may reduce costs because of co-financing possibilities (Ruding, 2008). However, early market involvement should not only focus on financing aspects but should take sustainable development as a starting point (see, e.g. DWW, 2007). Market involvement is still limited especially when it comes to co-financing. In the light of the current financial and economic crisis it is even more uncertain what will happen. As we speak, large institutional investors, such as banks and the Dutch pension funds, are coping with financial problems caused by the worldwide stock decreases. This might make it doubtful whether such institutions are currently willing to invest in road infrastructure, without some changes in current financial structures. On the other hand, in the search for more reliable and stable investment options than stocks, infrastructure investments backed by government may proof to be an interesting investment option. However, the involvement may not only depend on the willingness of these private investors to participate. It may also be influenced by potentially changing political views. The near future will teach whether neoliberalism, for instance, remains to dominate the political system, or that adjusted (more sustainability related) views emerge in which the role of the market may change. 16

17 A final content-related trend is the more extensive use of relatively small and easy implementable measures (DWW, 2007). Examples, for instance, are dynamic traffic management measures and measures aimed to influence people s behaviour (e.g. road pricing). These measures may lead to a more efficient use of the available road capacity against reletively low costs. Process As described in section 2, the MIRT ( Long-Range Programme Infrastructure, Space & Transport ) provides an overview of current infrastructure projects and involves three stages of decision-making: the explorative study stage ( reconnaissance studies ), the project study and the actual realisation stage. To be realised, every infrastructure project has to run through each of these subsequent stages (V&W, 2004). Section 4 described some of the problems related to each of these planning stages. An important recognition made was that the planning process is rather unbalanced (see, Elverding, 2008). There is a strong focus on the project study phase, in which various alternatives are worked out in detail, often without a careful problem definition and a thorough ex ante consideration of the feasibility of the alternatives. The contemporary notion in policy-making, partly enforced by the Committee Elverding (see also section 4), is that there is need for a more balanced approach in terms of attention for, and effort put into the different planning phases of infrastructure project planning. More effort is required in the explorative phase. Based on a thorough problem definition and consultation of relevant actors, a preference decision should be developed with a clear political commitment of the various authorities involved (Elverding, 2008). The project study phase should be more compact and pragmatic. Some suggested improvements in this phase are: more simple calculations, working with ranges and with goal prescriptions and flexibility provisions, and sanctions on not keeping terms. The Elverding Committee wants to prevent detailed assessments of environmental impacts and measures by complex prediction models, the outcomes of which in such an early phase are often surrounded by huge uncertainty, and, therefore, low practical relevance. Instead, more standardized rules of thumb have to be introduced, which still enable decision-making based on quantitative data. The monitoring of whether certain (environmental) standards are actually exceeded due to an infrastructure project should be carried out in a real-world situation (i.e., after the construction phase). This is different from the current approach in which the potential for exceeding standards and the needed mitigating measures already have to be assessed in the project study phase. Traditionally, different actors such as decentral public institutions, civilians, firms and social organizations are particularly involved in the project study phase, in which the central government already has a certain preferred alternative. Inspired by the problems in road infrastructure planning, a more contemporary view is that relevant actors should already be actively consulted early on, in the explorative phase (Elverding, 2008). This may lead to a broader discussion about need and necessity of a project. And, it may result in more innovative and accepted plans. Possible planning improvements that may be caused by another arrangement of the planning process may be constrained when no clear time targets are set. Therefore, Elverding (2008) advises to introduce strict time limits for different planning phases with sanctions on not meeting the terms. This may prevent delays and avoid repetitions, 17

18 Administrative, steering, and judicial trends Recently some administrative and judicial changes have been proposed to improve the planning (see Elverding, 2008). One view is that decision-makers/administrators should stick to the plan once a well-balanced decision has been taken politieke rechte rug because shifts in ideas may result in changing plans and delays. Another administrative trend, which fits well within the more general institutional trends described in section 5.2, is the emphasis on decentralization of tasks and responsibilities (VROM, 2002). With respect to the infrastructure planning the view is that area-oriented projects are to a large extent situation/context-specific. More decentralized institutions will usually have a better insight into the local demand, preferences and opportunities. In addition, they may contribute to a project financially. The general contemporary expectation in policy is that a stronger involvement of lower scale public institutions is needed to achieve successful (areaoriented) projects (see, e.g., V&W and VROM, 2009). As described in section 5.3, many negative court decisions about infrastructure projects are not particularly due to European directives (in this case regarding air quality), but rather are caused by the strict way regulations are interpreted by the state (Zonneveld et al., 2008). The sectoral legislation often results in a detailed foundation of decisions. In the case of legal opposition against a plan, the judge regularly is required to test the decision, and often the underlying reports. This makes such project decisions vulnerable for cancellation (Elverding, 2008). The Elverding commission (2008) advised to create a sort of administrative loop that offers the possibility to (marginally) repair a plan without a total cancellation of the plan. Moreover, the committee recommended, amongst other things: (i) to restrict the possibilities of appeal of decentral public institutions, (ii) to give the judge in administrative law the opportunity to compensate certain actors instead of totally rejecting a plan, (iii) shorten the time span within which the judge has to come to the verdict, (iv) the introduction of Spoedwetgeving ( Urgent Law ). The latter is specifically meant for speeding-up the planning and construction of peak lanes and widening of roads. In March 2009 such a Spoedwetgeving for urgent projects has actually been approved by the Dutch parliament. Sometimes, however, it may remain difficult or even impossible for a project to meet the environmental regulations to a sufficient extent. In 2007 an important new national air quality regulation called Air Quality Act ( Wet Luchtkwaliteit ) was approved, which contains the concept of a national cooperation programme on air quality (NSL, Nationaal Samenwerkingsprogramma Luchtkwaliteit ). In 2008 the NSL was send to Dutch parliament, public review and to the EU Commission (for derogation of the EU air quality regulations). April 2009 the EU Commission gave derogation to the Netherlands; this spring the NSL will be discussed in Dutch Parliament. With the NSL an important policy shift is made from a project-oriented assessment to a programme-oriented evaluation of air quality, in which the central government cooperates with decentralised authorities in areas where air quality standards are being exceeded (VROM, 2008). Also in road infrastructure planning there we see a trend towards a more integrated programme-oriented approach. The current Long-Range Programme Infrastructure, Space & Transport ( MIRT ; V&W, 2008), for instance, provides an overview of national investments in infrastructure and spatial development and more specifically promotes better coordination by combined infrastructure and area-oriented projects. Generally speaking, a programme contains 18

19 different projects and aims to reach an overarching goal (see, e.g., Kor and Wijnen, 2005), such as improving the general air quality in a region. Decision-making on such a higher (programmatic) level offers opportunities to give more attention to need and usefulness discussions about investment proposals and to defining projects and it gives the possibility to deal with complex issues in a more flexible way. Important projects within a programme, for instance, may carry on despite potentially exceeding of local standards as general mitigation measures are taken to lower background pollution levels at the higher (national) scale. Moreover, by focusing on improvements on a higher spatial scale, sub-optimal local solutions can be avoided. In addition, a programmatic approach is offers better possibilities to maintain environmental and spatial quality in area in the stages of operation and maintenance as the infrastructure project then will become part of the regulatory network and management. Scientific trends in the planning field More generally, in the current field of planning an important trend is the communicative planning approach which came to the forefront in the late 1980s but is still important to current science and practice. Related to this are the importance attached to network planning, institutionalisation, strategic action and dealing with complexity in planning sometimes coined as post-structuralism and postmodernism. In report 3 a discussion in more depth is given of current developments in Dutch planning science and related sciences. 6. Discussion: implications of trends for Rijkswaterstaat The extent to which Rijkswaterstaat is able to operate in the changing field of the Dutch road infrastructure planning is rather unclear. However, several factors can be distinguished that may be challenging. One of them is the increasing glocalization. Responsibilities are often decentralized to lower governmental bodies (regions, municipalities). Projects on the other hand also more and more have to deal with an increasing influence of the European Union both with respect to policy and regarding rules/directives. This may lead to infrastructure planning on a national level being confronted with a (policy) vacuum (see also figure 5). RWS as a national road maintenance authority is situated in a split between internationalisation and a localisation trend. The organisation both has to cope with international developments that it can hardly influence and at the same time has to act as partner for decentral public institutions in order to fulfill its duties. Besides globalisation and decentralization, also the necessity to strengthen civil and societal participation and a strengthened free market system demand a lot of effort. The organisational demands are high whereas capacity is under pressure; it is questionable whether the RWSorganisation is sufficiently equipped from a capacity/knowledge point of view (i.e. human capital). Moreover, it is unclear whether the RWS-culture concurs with the stronger focus on free market processes, civil participation and especially with areaoriented work. The area-oriented approach to road infrastructure planning does not only focus on cooperation with different actors, but also asks for improving spatial quality by means of a more integrated area-level planning: the main focus is on the area. By incorporating the area, RWS is entering the domain of other departments such as VROM (Ministry of Housing, Spatial planning and the environment). It is unclear whether these more spatial perspectives link up with the political mandate of RWS, which is especially project control oriented, and with its expertise. A more integrated planning by focusing on sustainability and/or spatial quality, furthermore, 19

20 asks for a broader approach than cost efficiency alone; also socio-cultural and ecological aspects have to be included into planning. The question is whether such broader scope/vision fits wel into the neo-liberal, often cost-oriented idea that also plays an important role in the RWS organisation (for instance, new public management, liberalisation, reducing the size of the government, etc.). The current business plan of Rijkswaterstaat can be seen as an attempt to deal with these challenges. However, further action seems to be needed. The research program RWS- RUG (report 2) seeks to study relevant avenues for further improvement. A more integrated, sustainable planning lies at the heart of the program.. Globalisation Policy vacuum at national level Marketinvolvement RWS Public participation Localisation/ regionalisation Figure 5: Outward trends of globalisation and localisation, of increasing market involvement and public participation and the possibly resulting (policy) vacuum at the central/national level. 20

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