The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, making it basically almost a city state, and as such hardly suitable for mass car ownership, leading to serious congestion. On the flip side, the country is perfectly suited for railway traffic. Recent improvements like the OV-chip card, enables a near-friction-less travel in the Netherlands, leading to travel opportunities from nearly any point in the Netherlands to any other within a couple of hours, by just swiping your card from one card reader to the next, and not having to worry about buying tickets or study complex timetables as buses, trams and trains go frequent enough to allow for missing one underway.
[9292.nl] – national door-to-door public transport planner
Electrified railways are a perfect element in the renewable energy transition. Since 2017 Dutch Rail claims to operate for 100% on renewable energy. Does it? Well, the claim is based on a bookkeeping trick. Dutch Rail DID indeed invest in new wind capacity, but much of it is installed abroad, so technically, Dutch trains are not running on wind power, not directly at least. However, on a moral plane, Dutch Rail did its duty and compensated its energy use by building an equivalent amount of renewable energy capacity. As far as we are concerned, they are welcome to use that fact as the basis for promoting their green image, stimulating other energy intensive companies to do the same and as such get the energy transition going.
Dutch Rail CEO Roger van Boxtel in a stunt video, promoting the 100% renewable energy green credentials of his organisation.
[deepresource] – Dutch Rail and its 100% renewable energy claim.
The last missing link in optimizing Dutch public transport would be to turn the national highway grid into virtual railway tracks, by allowing private companies to own a large van fleets, offering driverless automatic driving along these highways, from platform to platform, with traditional bus services to offer transport from those platforms to the inner city and railway station. Once that is in place, the privately owned car would have made itself superfluous and large segments of the population could be persuaded to snub the privately-owned car. Sky-high fuel prices would do the rest to discourage owning a car and as such offer relief to strained family budgets.
This time-laps video about sailing from Rotterdam to Amsterdam in 10 minutes, gives a good impression of how the Dutch landscape and its many waterways looks like from above, where every m2 is basically used for economic purposes. Note that the water table is everywhere higher than the surrounding land, an indication that at some point the Netherlands will drown in the ocean.
The Netherlands are flat and small, ideal preconditions for a flourishing bicycle culture. There is hardly room for cars, and certainly not in the cities. The rise of the e-bike expands the average bike range considerably.