‘The Challenge is a splendid experiment for gaining experience’

January 13, 2016 408 keer bekeken

Rijkswaterstaat aims to find out the practical implications of truck platooning for road management and safety - says André van Lammeren, director Accessibility and Infrastructure WVL (section Water, Traffic and Living environment at Rijkswaterstaat).

As he explains: ‘WVL is responsible for knowledge development including around principal road network. I am involved with various bodies covering smart mobility. And one of these started up the European Truck Platooning Challenge initiative.’

In the lead

‘The importance of truck platooning for Rijkswaterstaat is self-evident’, says Van Lammeren. Rijkswaterstaat is the road authority. We need to closely monitor this sort of development, given that suppliers of logistics services are significant users of our road network. And, the minister has said that we need to lead smart mobility developments from the front and show that this country is ready for the future.’

Learning by doing

As well as being a demonstration project, the Challenge is a pilot project that can contribute to further development of smart mobility in Europe. ‘We want to find out the impact of developments around truck platooning for Rijkswaterstaat’, says Van Lammeren. ‘The Challenge will show us what truck platooning means in practice. For instance, the demands truck platooning makes on our roads, and the impact on road surfaces, bridges and viaducts. And what about safety and other road users? To summarize, there is a whole basket of practical issues to which Rijkswaterstaat needs answers. In this context learning by doing is an excellent way of seeing what’s happening. Hopefully the fresh experiences will enable us to further refine our knowledge and innovation agendas.’

Leading edge of a movement

Van Lammeren reckons that the Challenge will have a major impact. ‘I can see how the initiative has freed-up a massive store of energy with many parties. It would be great if we could maintain that energy after 6 April and ensure a follow-up for the Challenge. You can conduct a spectacular experiment, but if this is followed by a black-out around truck platooning it means a failure to reach our goals. So, as far as I’m concerned the Challenge is the leading edge of a movement we have started up. If we look back five years from now we should be able to say: yes, spring 2016 – that’s when it all started.’

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