Work, school and recreation should be spread out more throughout the day to avoid traffic jams.

Steven van Eijck, chairman of the Mobility Alliance, argues for this in conversation with

If that doesn't happen, you'll get stuck sooner or later.

"Now it is the case that everyone starts and ends at the same time. That is not convenient," says Van Eijck on behalf of the more than twenty organizations in the Mobility Alliance, including the NS, OV-NL, Schiphol and the ANWB.

"Look at the opening hours of educational institutions or offices, for example. If you spread that a bit more, you also get a spread of traffic," explains the former State Secretary.

Van Eijck tells his story in a week in which the busiest morning rush hour in a year and a half was noted.

On Tuesday, there was more than 750 kilometers of traffic jams at the peak.

Due to the dark months and worse weather, the ANWB expects that the crowds will only increase in the coming months.

The number of cars in the Netherlands has also been increasing for years.

At the start of this year, the Netherlands had 8.8 million cars: more than 100,000 vehicles more than at the beginning of 2020. By way of comparison: in 2000 there were more than six million cars on the road and ten years later there were already more than a million more.

A busy morning rush on the A28.

A busy morning rush on the A28.

Photo: ANP

'We have turned out to be much more flexible than we thought'

The chairman of the Mobility Alliance is not afraid that spreading opening times will not work because people are stuck in a long-standing pattern.

"We have all turned out to be much more flexible (in the corona crisis, ed.) than we thought? We never thought, for example, that we could set up distance learning so successfully?"

"We will have to go through a number of measures together and then we will get it done. What is the problem if schools start at 8 a.m. or 10 a.m.? Yes, then you have to get up earlier. dog at a different time. But what is now a given, we have also accepted? Why shouldn't we be able to adjust something in that?"

Van Eijck hopes that a new cabinet will be formed soon, because the Mobility Alliance currently lacks a party with whom it can discuss regulations, infrastructure and possible financing.

In addition, the help of employers is needed.

After all, they play an important role in spreading working hours.

Van Eijck already sees positive changes in this.

He mentions the ANWB as an example, where employees are allowed to start at 10 a.m., and civil servants from the municipality of Amsterdam, who are allowed to work from home 50 percent of the time.


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Agreements needed about hybrid work

Van Eijck does mention the importance of agreements about when staff can work from home and when they have to come to the office. Personnel who have the freedom of choice, logically often choose to work from home on Mondays and Fridays, so that traffic still piles up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. According to the Mobility Alliance chairman, making agreements between employers is therefore "partially determining whether you can prevent traffic jams".

Employers' organizations are not united in the Mobility Alliance, but as chairman of the Hybrid Works Committee of the Social and Economic Council (SER) - a position he also fulfills - Van Eijck does hold talks with them.

In these discussions, it is also discussed how working hours can be spread better in order to avoid crowds during rush hour.

In a few months' time, the SER committee will issue a recommendation to the cabinet.

“If you don't make agreements about spreading now, the tide will turn and you'll just get stuck.”

Steven van Eijck, chairman of the Mobility Alliance

When people are used to working in the office again in a few weeks or months, Van Eijck expects that people will choose to work from home more often, "but we have to wait and see how that will crystallize".

In addition, it will only become busier on the road in the coming years due to the growth in the number of inhabitants in the Netherlands and truck traffic.

"If you don't travel smarter now and make agreements about hybrid working and spreading, sooner or later the tide will turn and you will just get stuck."

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