Challenges for Europe and North America
Edited by Karst T. Geurs, Kevin J. Krizek and Aura Reggiani
Chapter 8: Accessibility benefi ts of integrated land use and public transport policy plans in the Netherlands
Major investments in public transport in the Netherlands are often considered inefficient from a welfare economic perspective. Bakker and Zwaneveld (2010) show that of about 150 social cost–benefit analyses (CBAs) of public transport projects in the Netherlands conducted in the past decades, only one-third of the projects had a positive benefit–cost ratio. These public transport projects were typically not part of an integrated planning approach, and the CBAs examined the costs and benefits of the transport projects only. In particular, the role of spatial planning or spatial developments in these CBAs was ignored or not made explicit (that is, land use is assumed to be fixed or does not differ between project alternatives). In recent years, however, integrated spatial and transport planning has received more attention in Dutch national policy-making. In 2007, a national policy document, Randstad Urgent, was published, aiming to improve cooperation between national and regional governments and create a joint policy decision-making process for different spatial projects and transport infrastructure projects that are to be realized within the same region (Ministry of Transport Public Works and Water Management, 2007). The policy document focused on 40 projects within the Randstad Area, the most urbanized region in the western part of the Netherlands. The aim of this new approach is to speed up the decision-making process and increase the social benefit–cost ratio of the projects. In this chapter, we examine the RAAM project (‘Rijksbesluiten Amsterdam – Almere – Markermeer’), the largest integrated policy project included in Randstad Urgent. The project involves adding 60 000 dwellings and 100 000 jobs and major transport investments in the corridor between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Amsterdam and Almere, located 30 kilometres east of Amsterdam (see Figure 8.1). Almere would nearly double in size from its current 190 000 to 350 000 inhabitants by 2030. Local governments developed three spatial policy alternatives for the development of Almere with tailored public transport investment programmes. Almere is a new town built on reclaimed land (a polder) with two bridges linking two motorways (A6 and A27) and a railway (parallel to the A6) linking to the mainland. These road connections are already severely congested and rail capacity is insufficient to increase train frequencies substantially. Doubling the population of Almere is not considered feasible without major infrastructure expansion. Transport investments are thus seen of crucial importance to the future population growth of Almere.
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