Theory-into practice in Dordrecht

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe


In the Netherlands, public transport planning plays an important role in strategic town and land use planning. Researchers and policy analysts are fully aware that public transpoff operates in a social, economic and political context and that transport projects should utilize scarce resources efficiently to achieve stated policy goals and objectives. The Dutch government is at present pursuing radical policy changes. Governments at different levels invest selectively to ensure long term sustainable development. In public transport, policy measures that are under consideration include giving relief to congestions by raising the share of public transport in total travel demands and improving financial performance of operators by reducing their reliance on government subsidy. The emphasis is to provide high quality services to meet the mobility needs of the public. At the same time, the government strives to minimize direct interventions and to reduce the level of public expenditures. The chosen strategy is to achieve greater efficiency in sector management and to place more reliance on the vigour of the market. Proposals have been put forward to bring about decentraiisation, deregulation and privatisation. Within the public transport sector, plans have been drawn up. The basic principles have been endorsed by different parties in the Dutch Parliament. Dordrecht is a medium size city, with a land area of 80.5 square kilometres and a population of 116,200 inhabitants. The transport policy of Dordrecht Municipal Authority is designed to complement its adopted land Use strategy and to promote the goals set out in its economic development plan. The municipality has prepared a strate- gic traffic and transport plan to meet the predicted growth in travel demands. This plan contains new initiatives, with an overall aim to improve the quality of the living environment and to stimulate economic growth in the region. The aim of this paper is to describe the transport and land use policies'in Dordrecht, with particular attentions given to the three-bus system. It is an operational concept which has been devised by Dordreeht Municipal Bus Company (SVD) which carries at present on average over 20,000 passengers daily. The new scheme has been formulated to stimulate patronage and to generate additional revenues. It is also designed as an essential part of the municipality's strategy to enhance economic growth, to increase operating efficiency and to encourage modal split in favour of public transport. Dordrecht has chosen an integrated approach in transport and land use planning. [Dordrecht and its surrounding areas are also served by regional buses that are run by another operating company known as Zuid-West Nedertand (ZWN). It is one of the daughter companies owned by the regional transport company known as the VSN Group. The two operators co-operate in some areas and compete in others. For focus, this paper only examines the impacts of changes introduced by SVD, which is fully owned by Dordrecht Municipal Authority. However, there are plans to merge the urban and the regional operators in Dordrecht region to form a new company in the near future.] Section 2 provides background information on Dordrecht and describes the policy visions which the Municipal Authority has adopted. Section 3 gives an overall picture of the traffic and transport policy in the Netherlands. Particular attentions will be given to Dordrecht's public transport policy and plans. Section 4 describes the 3-bus system that has been implemented to provide better services and to increase ridership. Section 5 reviews the research programme that has been formulated as a joint project to monitor and to evaluate the effects of the 3-bus system. Section 6 ends with a few concluding remarks on the lessons learnt so far.


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