Better Access for Randstad, the Netherlands

Accessibility and quality of life in a part of the Randstad, the area around the river Gouwe, is under pressure. The Gouwe is an important water way for both commercial and leisure shipping, and the numerous bridge openings and closures lead to delays both on the waterway and traffic jams on the intersecting roads. This jeopardizes the economic competitiveness (including the Greenport Boskoop, the main Dutch brewery of Heineken, and logistics company NedCargo) of the region as well as the local environment.


The core partners – the five municipalities in the area, the Water Board, the Region Mid-Holland and the Province South Holland – have expressed their demand for an integrated regional strategy. What solutions to tackle the bottlenecks can be created, and how to come up with these in close cooperation with the stakeholders in the region.

Nearly 25 stakeholders having an interest in the Gouwe Area participated in several workshops to share their interests, concerns, and ideas. In addition, we held personal interviews with them. With this input we drafted, in cooperation with the province, a vision and a spatial strategy for distinctive scenarios improving the accessibility and quality of life.


We built water and road traffic models, which showed the effectiveness of the proposed measures, followed by a cost-benefit analysis of each scenario. We created an integral assessment framework for comparison and facilitate the decision-making by the authorities. In only a period of 4.5 months this pressure cooker process was completed, including unanimous political approval, resulting in the expressed satisfaction of the core partners.

Mariska Ruiter

Mariska Ruiter Ir.

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