An international comparison of accessibility and congestion problems in urban areas: can we still compete with our neighbours?

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

policy - congestion, place - urban


A comparison of the quality of infrastructure networks in the Randstad area of the Netherlands, the Rhein-Ruhr area and the Antwerp-Brussels-Ghent region formed the central focus of two studies carried out by TNO-INRO. The first of these was conducted on behalf of the 'Research Unit for Integrated Transport Studies', and starts by comparing the supply of motorway infrastructure, public transport and spatial aspects. Internal accessibility for commuter and business travel in the areas studied, both by private car and public transport, was also compared, and further analyses were made of the influence of the urban structure on the quality of internal accessibility in the Randstad and Rhein-Ruhr areas. The results revealed a slightly better infrastructure network in the Randstad, both for public transport and private cars. The matching between the urban structure and public transport was better in the Randstad, whereas matching to the motorway network proved better in the Rhein-Ruhr area. However, the better proximity within the Rhein-Ruhr area leads to better overall internal accessibility for business travel, whether by public transport or private car. The second study, conducted for the Dutch Ministry of Transport and Public Works, focuses on the supply and use of motorway networks in the three areas studied. Compared with the Randstad, and taking the number of inhabitants into account, the capacity of the motorway networks in the Rhein-Ruhr area and the Antwerp-Brussels-Ghent region is 10% to 20% higher. The supply of other main roads in the Randstad also proved to be low. However, the motorway network in the Randstad was the most accessible. Owing to the low supply level and the lack of alternatives, traffic volumes were 20% higher on motorways in the Randstad, leading to the expectation of more traffic jams in this area. Furthermore, the predicted acceleration in car ownership and faster population growth mean that the congestion problems of the Randstad may be exacerbated in the near future.


Permission to publish abstract given by AET.