Incident Management in the Netherlands

Incident Management in the Netherlands


W J Knibbe, Ministry of Transport (AVV), NL



This paper outlines the current practice of Incident Management (IM) in The Netherlands, followed by a brief indication of the importance of IM, and concludes with future opportunities for IM. Incident Management involves all possible measures that can be taken to minimize traffic delay caused by incidents. Incident Management starts after the occurrence of an incident. It does not involve the avoidance of incidents and can thus be seen as a follow up of safety precautions.

Current IM
Since about 1995, the Dutch national road administrator (Rijkswaterstaat) has taken the initiative to implement Incident Management (IM) on the Dutch national road system. An extensive survey of possible measures was performed, based on a cost/benfit analysis. This anaysis took into account the expected reductions in traffic delay. Based on this analysis, two national regulations were implemented. The first involves quick recovery of passenger cars, the second of trucks. Supporting this implementation, a national organization was built including emergency services, road administration and insurance companies. This multi-disciplinary organization was initiated by a small staff of two employees of the Rijkswaterstaat. The results of this effort were evaluated in 2002 and found to bring a significant reduction in traffic delays. This paper outlines the national regulations and presents the results of the evaluation.

Importance of IM
The importance of IM is traditionally based on (1) safety and (2) traffic delay. Concerning safety, it is known that a quick clearance of the road reduces the time span that rescue workers are exposed to the danger of traffic passing by, as well as reducing the risk of secondary collisions for upcoming traffic. Concerning traffic delay, we indicate in this paper current knowledge on the amount of delay induced by incidents in The Netherlands. Using simple calculations and registered data of incidents we estimate how important the contribution of IM is to the reduction of this delay.

Future developments
The evaluation of Dutch IM, as well as the brief investigation of the importance of IM, indicate future developments of IM. This paper concludes with a sketch of the ideas for improvements of Dutch IM. Based on the evaluation, improvements in cooperation between the different organizations are recommended. This can take various forms, as simple (but important) as increasing the joint training effort, increasing joint surveillance, but also as complicated as integrating the different detection and warning procedures. Based on the brief investigation as well as the evaluation, it is recommended to spend more effort on the registration of incident occurrences and on the effects of IM.


Association for European Transport