Rail policy on track

19 November 2018

Commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management (I&W), Berenschot investigated the effectiveness and efficiency of the public transport and rail policy for the 2013-2017 period. Although partial results have already been recorded on many separate components, Berenschot is making several recommendations to improve the measurability of results. “In order to be able to determine efficiency, it is important that the objectives are formulated more specifically and that more information is available”, stated Ronald van der Mark, Berenschot researcher.

Between 2013 and 2017, many efforts were made to further shape the rail policy. For instance, a policy framework was formulated, and new contracts were formulated with NS regarding the main railway network and with ProRail. Various programmes were also established, the control from I&W was enhanced and the HSL-Zuid was incorporated in an NS contract and further integrated in the main rail network. “All these aspects contributed to the delivery of more capacity and quality, which can make rail an attractive option for travellers and forwarders. This has resulted in increased use”, according to Van der Mark.

Earlier this week, State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven-van der Meer presented the report about the evaluation to the Lower House. In the Letter to Parliament, she underlined the importance of careful accountability and traceability of the Public Transport and Rail Policy in order to improve effectiveness and efficiency. Regarding the Berenschot recommendations to set clear policy and budget objectives and link indicators to these that can be measured systematically in the long term, the State Secretary stated: “I consider it important to ensure that the results of my policy are measurable and comparable. That’s why I will be adopting this recommendation and I am committed to further refining the objectives and indicators.”

Van Veldhoven is also giving serious consideration to the recommendation to consider the network effects of projects and not only focusing on isolated projects. “I consider it vital that we have a good picture of the effects of projects so that we can also learn in hindsight from programmes and projects. I see the added value of this, particularly at network level and in monitoring the generic development of mobility”, stated the State Secretary in the Letter to Parliament. Finally, she stated that she was delighted with the approach outlined by Berenschot for more effectiveness and efficiency in the rail system. “I see these approaches as interesting perspectives that will be valuable when developing the future policy frameworks, such as the Public Transport Vision.”

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