The Future Flows of Dangerous Goods by Road in the Netherlands

The Future Flows of Dangerous Goods by Road in the Netherlands


J Francke, KIM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis, NL; T Arts, DVS Centre for Transport and Navigation, NL


The paper describes a new method of data collection and forecasting the volume and nature of the dangerous goods transported along roads in the Netherlands both in the present and the future.


The Dutch government has a responsibility to ensure the ?external safety? of the population. The concept of external safety is used here in terms of offering protection to people living near routes used for the transport of hazardous materials and near companies producing, processing or storing these substances. The Netherlands is a densely populated country and conflicts are expected between the increasing need for ?living space? (spatial development) and the growing volume of transported hazardous materials.

To make sure that the transport of hazardous substances in the Netherlands in future remains possible, a new, proactive, policy approach is announced in the long-term policy-planning document ?Nota Mobiliteit? which was adopted in parliament in 2006. In this new approach the central government should no longer focus on resolving local bottlenecks, but should study the entire chain of hazardous substances, from production to usage, together with local government, infrastructure administrators and the corporate sector. Based on this approach, taking the expected transport volumes and planned spatial developments as a starting point, the state wants to define a national basic network for the transport of hazardous substances. The state will stipulate conditions for transport on and spatial planning around this network, to make sure that risks as a consequence of the transport of dangerous goods over the network are as low as possible. Attention must also be paid to the prevention of the release of dangerous substances at the source, to the intelligent use of space and to proper organisation of disaster recovery facilities. To make this possible, the parties involved must hold one another accountable.

In order gain insight into the location and the extent of high-risk situations data is collected about the transport of hazardous substances and of developments in the surroundings of transport routes. Computer models are used to calculate the risks and effects of accidents involving the various categories of dangerous goods. The results of these calculations are published in a risk-map available to the public showing iso-risk-curves: the distance to the transport routes where a certain level of personal risk (PR) is reached (or is exceeded). The number of vulnerable locations (houses, hospitals) along roads within this contour of maximum Personal Risk was limited in 2002 but is expected to be rise in the near future if no action is taken.

For the transport by pipeline, water, rail and air information about volume and nature of transported dangerous goods is registered conscientiously using automatic notification and tracking systems along the transport route. However, for the transport of dangerous goods by road there is only very limited and unreliable information about the chosen routes. To remedy this lack of (reliable) information Rijkswaterstaat started in 2006 with a new way of data collection on the transport of hazardous substances using automatic video registration along the highway network. Based on this new data more accurate and reliable information about the volume and routes becomes available to describe and monitor the current situation.

To estimate the possible future amounts of hazardous substances transported by road forecasts have been made based on four long-term scenarios of socio-economic development. These four scenarios are designed on two key uncertainties: the international cooperation and the institutional reforms in the public sector.

Subject of this paper is the need for reliable policy information in the domain of external safety along roads. It describes the way in which this information is obtained and the method of calculation of the volume and nature of the dangerous goods transported along roads in the Netherlands both in the present and the future.


Association for European Transport