Dutch railway operator ProRail plans to invest at least €20bn in improving the railways to cope with the expected boom in passengers, chief executive Pier Eringa told the Telegraaf in an interview.
Eringa said passenger numbers are expected to surge 45% in the coming 10 years, well above the earlier forecast of 30%.
‘People have had enough of traffic jams on the roads and in cities and will be driven to use trains,’ he told the paper. ‘That is great, of course. However, we will need to take action to absorb the increase.’
The €20bn earmarked for investment is not enough, Eringa told the paper, given the plans to build hundreds of thousands of new homes over the next few years.
‘Expanding services can only take place in a combination with light rail services, shared taxis or, for example, e-bikes,’ the ProRail chief said.
According to a report in Thursday’s Financieele Dagblad, the Netherlands is losing its edge when it comes to mobility and innovation. The Automatic Disruption Radar, put together by consultancy Roland Berger, shows the Netherlands has dropped of the top spot in terms of experimentation with new transport concepts.
‘It is not just about cars, but about reorganising a country’s mobility infrastructure,’ Roland Berger partner Rene Seyger told the FD. ‘Asian countries are quicker at changing their laws so they can implement new concepts more quickly.’
Meanwhile, more than 40 Dutch companies, including Philips, Unilever and KPN, have formed a new alliance aimed at halving the carbon dioxide emissions during business travel.
According to environmental group Natuur & Milieu, which backs the initiative, corporate travel produces 13 megatons of CO2 a year, equivalent to the CO2 produced by 4.5 million gas-burning households.
Among the steps which the companies have already taken: ABN Amro news new members of staff a train season ticket and accountants group PwC has replaced plane trips of under 500 km by the train, as much as possible.
In addition, energy group Eneco is switching to electric only company cars and civil engineering group Arcadis is moving to a new location with better public transport links, Natuur & Milieu said.
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