When a city or a metropolitan region sets about revising its mobility system, it needs the support of its citizens. It helps if a councillor can use validated data and models to show what the current situation is, which people are familiar with, and what the future situation will be. By doing this not with a standard presentation but an interactive instrument created by TNO, the councillor increases the support base. Discussion is quickly prompted between citizens, councils and businesses. The topic of discussion is no longer a report or which expert is right, it is much more likely to be the desired situation.
TNO uses databases and sensors as its sources of information for the simulation models and instruments. Databases come from, say, GPS, from international studies of current behaviour and from public transport. Sensors would be such things as traffic count loops. From experiments we learn how people behave – ranging from the driver of an average modern car to the driver with cooperative adaptive cruise control. We carry out, for example, pilots in which we establish behaviour subsequent to an advisory speed limit. This shows how drivers and their cars react and what this means for the network.
Not that every government authority is aware how great the impact of the ambition to achieve sustainability may be. It sounds fine and dandy to electrify all the buses in the city, for example, but during the upscaling it may turn out that there is far more going on than would at first appear. Or consider Mobility as a Service (MaaS). This is only a solution if the municipality regulates it well. But municipalities and TNO cannot do that on their own. So we are working intensively with businesses in the Netherlands and abroad in the field of mobility and logistical planning.