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ResearchUrban and Regional Studies InstituteResearch projects

Area-oriented approaches in road infrastructure planning

Principal researcher

Niels Heeres

Type of research



Prof.dr. Jos Arts (promotor) Taede Tillema


In Dutch road infrastructure planning, in order to deal with increasing complexities, alternative planning approaches are increasingly applied. Emerging area-oriented approaches can be distinguished from traditional line-oriented approaches through its inclusive orientation. Area-oriented approaches aim to integrate the development of a national road infrastructure network and issues regarding local spatial quality. This calls for active and open involvement of public actors. A more inclusive approach is expected to promote the resilience of solutions as it allows for connecting various spatial functions, different scale levels and public authorities with different jurisdictions. This project aims to explore the opportunities and limitations of area-oriented approaches applied in road infrastructure planning. Its final purpose is to propose a framework for viable integration of road infrastructure and land use planning. The main focus of the research is on the changing content of planning approaches (e.g. plans and designs) and on processes of interaction between national, regional and local public authorities. Data collection is approached qualitatively and focusses on general information about Dutch road infrastructure planning institutions as well as specific case (project) information. Data collections methods applied include interviews with key stakeholders on different levels, studying policy and project documentation as well as active engagement in relevant developments at Rijkswaterstaat (the Dutch road infrastructure planning agency). In the end this research aims to contribute to the international debate on sustainable development by showing in what way a fair trade-off between financial-economic, social and environmental effects can be made.

Last modified:01 December 2016 12.17 p.m.