About my blog

Hans van Lint is AvL (Antonie van Leeuwenhoek) Professor Traffic Simulation and Computing at the Transport & Planning department, faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. He's also director of education of the Msc TIL (Transport, Logistics and Infrastructure).

His other passion in life is music - check out the Dutch Genesis tribute band Squonk.

Links to Hans' profiles on Facebook and on LinkedIn!

Disclaimer

De meningen ge-uit door medewerkers en studenten van de TU Delft en de commentaren die zijn gegeven reflecteren niet perse de mening(en) van de TU Delft. De TU Delft is dan ook niet verantwoordelijk voor de inhoud van hetgeen op de TU Delft weblogs zichtbaar is. Wel vindt de TU Delft het belangrijk - en ook waarde toevoegend - dat medewerkers en studenten op deze, door de TU Delft gefaciliteerde, omgeving hun mening kunnen geven.

Weblog for Hans van Lint

Traffic jams are caused by (other) people …

De file, dat ben je zelf en de filesofie

Zou Nederland toch klaar zijn voor een trendbreuk? Na een roerige week vol radio en zelfs live Belgische TV is ons boek De file, dat ben je zelf! dan eindelijk uit. Tegelijkertijd heeft ook Jan Willem Alphenaar, de koning van het crowdsourcen (en degene achter DSB The Movie)  zijn tanden nu gezet in het fileprobleem op filesoof.nl. Gelukkig hoeft het fileprobleem niet zo’n schrijnende film op te leveren als het DSB verhaal, integendeel, dat kan juist heel erg goed aflopen!

Stel jezelf bijvoorbeeld deze vraag: waarom vinden we de NS kortingskaart zo’n goed idee en vliegen we de kast in als het om rekeningrijden gaat? Beiden zijn gebaseerd op dezelfde gedachte. In de spits draait de NS een van de drukste treindiensten van Europa en zelfs de wereld. Om te zorgen dat we niet als sardientjes op elkaar zitten in de spits en de treinen onrendabel leeg zijn daarbuiten verleidt de NS mensen met de kortingskaart om – als dat gaat – op andere tijden te reizen. Iedereen heeft daar voordeel bij! Zowel spitsreizigers als kaarthouders en ook de NS die zo zoveel mogelijk treindiensten in de lucht kan houden. Als je mensen korting zou geven voor het autorijden buiten de spits maak je gebruik van precies hetzelfde idee. Het goede nieuws is: voor elke spitsrijder minder, gaat de reistijd voor iedereen er boven proportie op vooruit. Dat is winst voor zowel de spitsrijder, de daluurrijder en ook de overheid die de weg beheerd.

Ik hou in elk geval van de NS kortingskaart! Ik werk (met veel plezier) 50-60 uur per week maar plan mijn werk en mijn afspraken zo dat ik in de meeste gevallen na negenen de trein in stap – of de auto als dat zo uit komt. Tuurlijk, veel mensen kunnen niet (op stel en sprong) hun keuzes herzien, maar dat is nu ook precies waar de file, dat ben jezelf over gaat. Met "je" bedoelen we ook echt  iedereen, ook de politiek de werkgevers en projectontwikkelaars. En als en fractie van al die file eigenaren met een verandering beginnen wordt het fileleed voor iedereen minder. Bijvoorbeeld als we met zijn allen onze activiteiten en onze mobiliteit zo organiseren dat je zowel in de daluren (goedkoop) als in de spits (net ff duurder) relaxed en op tijd aankomt met de auto, de trein of een combinatie.

Ik hou overigens ook van de auto! In de afgelopen anderhalve eeuw heeft die, samen met de trein en het vliegtuig ons ruim 80 maal mobieler gemaakt. Maar als we niets doen bestaat die automobiliteit die ons zo ongelooflijk veel vrijheid heeft opgeleverd straks vooral uit stilstaan. Wat is dat voor mobiliteit? Op de wereld lopen nu bijna 7 miljard mensen rond die in ca 800 miljoen auto’s rondrijden. In 2050 zijn er naar verwachting zo rond de 9 miljard aardgenoten, die in overgrote meerderheid in steden wonen, en – als de huidige trend zich doorzet – straks rond “rijden” in tussen de 2 en 4 miljard auto’s (!!!). Als je dan weet dat het er op veel plekken zo uit ziet als in het filmpje beneden, zou het toch oliedom zijn om gewoon maar door te gaan met meer van hetzelfde? In ons boek filosoferen we over hoe het er uit zou kunnen zien. Denk eens aan de volgende conversatie in 2050 tussen twee VWO scholieren die werken aan een werkstuk over de geschiedenis van onze mobiliteit:

Ik lees net dat ze in 2011 nog zelf achter het stuur zaten!

Nee, dat meen je niet, dat kan toch helemaal niet! Hoe moet je nou je tweets, blogs en videootjes bijhouden als je moet uitkijken of je op elkaar botst!

En waarom zou je sowieso gaan reizen als het te druk is? Wisten die mensen nou echt niet beter?

[object:flash:http://www.youtube.com/v/R5H8y-UJNDo width:425px height:329px]

Anders betalen voor mobiliteit of terug naar de steentijd?

Het nieuwe kabinet gaat vijfhonderd miljoen euro uitgeven aan nieuwe wegen en het spoor. Dat blijkt uit het conceptregeerakkoord van VVD, CDA dat donderdag bekend werd. Bovendien verdwijnt de kilometerheffing in de prullenbak en gaat de maximum snelheid naar 130 km/uur. Het huidige budget voor het onderhoud en de aanleg van wegen is drie miljard euro per jaar. Met de extra investeringen wil het nieuwe kabinet de files aanpakken en het openbaar vervoer verbeteren. Daarnaast krijgt de binnenvaart meer steun om de filedruk te verminderen. 

Dat een andere manier van beprijzen van mobiliteit geen links en/of groen grapje is, maar een heel verstandig plan voor elke politieke kleur en smaak weet de wetenschap al een paar decennia. Ik zal daar in volgende berichten verder op in gaan, maar het is te treurig voor woorden dat we opnieuw de kans door onze handen zien glippen om echt te vernieuwen en iets structureels te veranderen. Een hogere maximum snelheid zal de liefhebber als muziek in de oren klinken, voor veiligheid, milieu en doorstroming helpt deze maatregel geen zier, eerder het tegendeel. Dat is het soort symbool politiek waar dit regeer akkoord mee vol staat. Het onderliggend wegennet wordt al helemaal niet genoemd. Lezend door dat concept regeerakkoord lijkt de nadruk opnieuw te liggen op bouwen, bouwen, bouwen en laat de markt (publiek private samenwerking) maar zorgen voor innovatie. Meer geld naar het OV en de binnenvaart klinkt goed, maar de voorgestelde gelden zijn toch niet veel meer dan doekjes voor het bloeden. Ook hier wordt de bal stevig bij de markt en de lokale overheden gelegd.

Als dit kabinet werkelijk meent dat deze aanpak de files gaat bestrijden en onze economie gaat versterken moeten we ons hart vasthouden. Sneller bouwen – een proces dat succesvol is gestart onder Eurlings – doet het goed in de publieke opinie en zal zeker tot korte termijn verbeteringen leiden op ons wegennet. Maar – en die effecten zien we nu al – sneller bouwen leidt niet tot meer samenhang, niet in ons wegennet en al helemaal niet in de organisatie en technologie om die wegen straks te managen. En dan praten we al helemaal niet over de samenhang met andere wegennetwerken in de steden en andere vervoerssystemen (OV, rail, binnenvaart). Zonder een alternatief beprijzingsmechanisme staan we straks met meer mensen in precies dezelfde files nog meer C02 te produceren en geld over de balk te smijten. En dan zal de volgende minister vast weer een pleidooi houden voor meer bouwen. Afgaand op het akkoord dat er nu ligt, lijkt dit kabinet visie en verstand te ontberen waar het gaat om de toekomst van verkeer en vervoer in Nederland. Koppelen we dit alles aan het onzalige plan de studie beurs voor Msc studenten om te zetten in leningen en het eerdere slechte nieuws uit de miljoenennota (o.a. de afschaffing van de FES gelden) dan moeten we vrezen voor de door dit kabinet zo hoog in het vaandel gehesen kennis economie.

Dat is een reden te meer voor een pro actieve en geengageerde TU Delft! Dit najaar zullen we vanuit de TU Delft een initiatief starten om innovatie in verkeer en vervoer weer hoog op de politieke agenda te krijgen. Dat gaan we doen door PR, publicaties en media optredens. En dat pleidooi is verschrikkelijk hard nodig: een andere manier van betalen voor mobiliteit, meer samenhangend verkeer en vervoersmanagement, en meer overheidsgeld in het aanjagen, standaardiseren en mogelijk maken van technologische innovaties in ons vakgebied zijn onmisbaar om Nederland bij die zogeheten top 5 kennislanden uit het regeerakkoord te krijgen. Aan dat akkoord zal dat in elk geval niet liggen …

16% of the Dutch have lost their minds, it’s time politicians (and journalists?) do their homework

Of course, that means that the largest part of our population are the same old friendly, pragmatic, slightly rude but at least sensible people. But that’s still not entirely reassuring after the earth-quake elections last week in The Netherlands. Liberals (VVD) first (20.5%), social democrats (PvdA) next (19.6%), the populist "party for freedom" (PVV) comes third (15.5%) and the christian democrates (CDA) fourth (13.5%). Any one with an internet connection can easily verify that the supposed mass immigration from islamic countries (central to the PVV’s succesfull campaign) is a fragrant lie, just check the site of the central bureau of statistics for an interactive map with immigration and emigration. Why wasn’t there a single politician who – instead of twittering their whereabouts – has simply downloaded some data, plotted a few charts, called a few friendly journalists and let nature take its course. As can be clearly seen from the figure below, immigration from islamic countries has most probably decreased rather than increased due to a series of more stringent immigration laws, the first of which was drafted (irony?) by the present PvdA leader Cohen, and further shaped up to its current "Swiss-like" rigidness in the ensuing administrations. Immigration is not the problem, if you don’t believe, just look at the data. Here’s a bar chart with some results taken from the CBS site (at the time of this post):
 

 

Not shown is that around 90,000 people emigrate from (leave) the Netherlands, that small number should say something (less than 0.5 percent). And so yes, more people immigrate to the Netherlands (around 140,000 a year, still a small number: 0.8 percent), and again yes, quite a few must have questionable motives, morale, habits, tastes or whatever you can think of. Very much like we can expect amongst the rest of us (around 17,000,000). Note that there’s a categorie "other countries" (which accounts for 31 percent of all immigrations) amongst which surely some islamic immigrants were included. But more telling is the table with all immigrations over the period 1995-2008 ordered by country.
 
 
Just to drive the point home, I’ll throw in a pie chart below. Most immigrants come from our neighbours, our atlantic allies, former colonies and the EU, except for Turky (still only fifth).
 
 
So why are 15.5% of the electorate scapegoating a group (islamic immigrants) when this is a – by any statistical standards – negligeable group? There is no mass immigration, most likely because we have a set of rigid laws in place that prevented that in the last decades. It is – to put it scientifically – a hypothesis that can be immediately rejected on the basis of a simple search through the data provided by the same organisation who provides the numbers to underpin approximately every major law in this country.
 
I did not place this post because I think universities should go political. Instead, we deal with hypotheses and collect evidence to support or reject these. But I do think scientists need to speak up. And pretty loud too. I feel ashamed to live in a country in the twenty-first century where neither journalists nor politicians take the trouble to root out populist nonsense with some easily accesible facts. Certainly when there are far more pressing matters to think of and to base our (political) priorities on. We consume more than we can afford to and the largest portion of the planet’s residents pay a dear price for it. We allow religious leaders all over the place to frustrate a break on population growth and to put a stop to the AIDS epidemic by spreading a message of "abstinence" and "anti-condom" sentiments. We allow them to indoctrinate young children into believing things we know for a fact are nonsense. We plunder our oceans and turn our planet into a fragmented and pretty disturbed habitat. Scientists need to speak up and do so on the basis of evidence. And the amount is literally overwhelming. We have for example geology, oceanography, biogeography, genetics, micro biology, evolutionary biology, paleontology, history, archeology, medical science, physics, chemistry and mathematics to name just a few disciplines to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that humans share the same ancestor with every living being on this planet. That is the deepest religious thought ever! And what’s more: we are most likely the only creatures in a very large portion of the universe who can actually marvel at the fact that this is the case.
 
And from that thought to a strong pledge for research and education as the most important investment a country can make is a small and natural step. I sincerily hope that’ll be on the agenda of the 15.5% next time they vote. Ignorance is everything but Bliss…

Why writing music and doing scientific research fit so well together

Well, because both drag you into creative processes, which are totally absorbing, exiting and frustrating at the same time, and are never finished (before a new creative process takes over). I consider myself very fortunate to experience both.

Think of it: the wait and mostly unexpected birth of that cool new idea, model, chord sequence, piece of lyric, formula, guitar lick, groove, melody, project proposal. After the overwhelming feel that something really significant has happened comes the "now what?" phase. Playing, rethinking, doubting (where did I see or hear this before?). After inspiration comes  transpiration (according to some its 95% of the second for every 5% of the first). Structuring and arranging, writing, rewriting, setting up experiments, data cracking, drums, bass, dynamics, software crashes. The reviewing and commenting by your peers and bandcollegues (who unfortunately in many cases are right). Then finally publishing and holding that first copy in your hand or hearing that final mix through some one else’s hifi set.

OK, there are differences too, for example in terms of complementary drinks (coffee versus Laphroaig) and stimulae (I’ll leave that open). Nonetheless, I wouldn’t wanna miss either! Feel free to check out my band links on the left sidebar.

 

Update Task 4.1 – Shared resources

Dear NEARCTIS partners

we are currently working on creating a more structured list of the shared resource list. This will either become part of the nearctis.org website or in the form of a wiki – linked to nearctis.org

We will update you and present this idea in the early April meeting of NEARCTIS in Bruxelles!

Hans van Lint

2500 kilometers traveled in 10 days …

… and still, we (my wife Christine and I) have barely scratched the surface of all the wonderful things to see, do and experience in Australia. First the bare facts: Melbourne – Launceston – St Helens – Launceston (both Tasmania) – Melbourne and subsequently Bairnsdale – Nelligen – Sidney – Canberra – Beechworth and back to good old Melbourne in time for the fireworks at new years eve.

Our travels first led through some of the most pure unspoiled and oldest landscapes on the planet. Although unlikely, if there is one place where you wouldn’t be surpised if an iguanadon or T-Rex came wondering about from the bushes, it would be along some lagoon on the Tasmanian eastcoast.

Most people take road trips along the golden coast, from say Cairns to Brisbane or even further, to Sydney. That’s definitely on my list too. But for those who already did this, or ones who are interested in an equally beautiful and spectaculair alternative, travel from Melbourne to Sydney via the Victorian / New South Wales coast. Rain forests, national parks, tiny little communities with pittoresk guesthouses, and widescreen views of rocky outcrops and white sandy beaches. And at the end of the trip, there is Sydney …

… with its beautiful botanical garden, fantastic zoo, opera house, harbor bridge and also its line up of literally hundreds of eager Japanese in front of Gucci, Ferragano and Vuitton shops on Boxing day. Help! The pinnacle of consumerism, in line for 150 dollar bags which can only be used to to put more expensive stuff into. On Dec 27, via boring and rainy Canberra and – what a place! – authentic, beautiful and heart-warming Beechworth …

… it was back to Melbourne. Admittedly, Sydney has got the better zoo, the more impressive botanical garden and the best fireworks. But Melbourne has a more pleasant CBD with better bars and cafes, better soy lattes, it has better universities, better food in general, and most importantly, many more genuinly friendly people. I’m gonna miss this place! 

 

 

Why don’t we all move to Perth?

First touched by Dutch VOC explorers in the 17th century (Dirk Hartogh and later famous Abel Tasman), Perth was firmly established as a permanent settlement 2 centuries later by the British after – as in the east – vast quantities of gold were found basically laying around for the taking. Back then – and still today – the capital city of Western Australia (WA) is far, far away from everything, every one and everywhere. Thank God for them and too bad for us. Aside from a series of showers on day two of our visit there to the 30th CAITR conference at the Uni of WA, the only possible conclusion is that this is the closest you get to paradise – city and landscape-wise.

Where else would you see Pelicans chill out on lantarn posts?

would you enjoy a 60 AUD room in 19th century victorian Townhouses

with a view like this

and your private chapel should you need it.

We had a lovely and very useful three days, well organized by the WA Uni (thanks Doina!) …

… and we couldn’t help but enjoy the laid back but cosmopolitan feel of Perth,

and the vibrant seaside town Freemantle 

with its beautiful and historicaly set harbor

its museums and beaches

and its excellent bars and restaurants

some of which even had wood-ovens named after visiting professors … 

A taxi ride from Tullamarine Airport in grey showery and 17 degrees freezing 😉 Melbourne put our feet firmly back on the ground. The most profound novelty of the week came about in the evening when I had my first ever Chinese-made Italian style Pizza (which was excellent by the way)

 

The Nobbies

On saturday, we (Majid, Rob, me) went on a mission to visit the Nobbies, two rocky outcrops on the South-western edge of Philips Island located about 130 km South of Melbourne.

Of course, this involves (like most activities in Australia) 2,5 hours driving – thanks Majid!

Philips Island is (world) famous for is daily penguin parade, where at sunset, thousands of satisfied penguins who have spent the day fouraging at sea, wabble back to shore to rest and (if in the right season) feed their offspring.

To divert mass tourism from harrassing these busy little fellas, a decade or so ago a second eco-tourist attraction was set up: The Nobbies. Two rocky outcrops where large hurds of furry seals enjoyed sunbaths and shelter for their youngsters. A truly mesmerizing and awsum spot, although we did not get to see any furry seals at all. We did see many seagulls …

… and probably a zillion blowflies, who would do great as pets, since they manage to follow you for several hundred meters, and are resistent to any slapping unless it kills them – in which case they multiply. But dealing with annoying flies is less of a burden when there is so much beauty to look at:

Ozzies take conservationism very seriously – and we owe them for it, since their country is home to many unique and invaluable biotopes and natural resources. They also have to, since they live on a continent where climate change has a very serious impact on the here and now. Water is rationed in Queensland as we speak. Although we may seriously overestimate the human role and influence on climate change on a longer time scale (the climate has never been more stable than in the last few thousand years), if the "Al Gore-doctrine" leads to more awareness and to more responsible and sustainable use of our planet, by all means, believe what you will. And so it the right thing to do to spend 5 dollars in the Nobbies giftshop, even if it makes you look ridiculous 😉

 

 

Pizza, room mates and smiles in the sky

Things have changed quite a bit since the last post. First of all, I have got a room mate, in this and the next week I will share my appartment with Robert Bertini from Portland University, which up till now has been a pleasure. It does feel a bit like going back to our student days. Good talks, good food and drinks, and good fun. The major difference between then and now is that now the dishes generally get done before they turn into living organisms. Yep, it just takes two responsible grown ups 😉 Or – preferably – a dishwasher, thank got for that thing back home.

Secondly, now that the summer vacation (!) is approxing and most of their exam marking has been finished, and of course because of Robs arrival there is more time for interaction with Geoff, Yibing and Majid. On Sunday Geoff invited us to their beautiful home in Melbourne…

… where we were treated to fond memories of The Netherlands by Kate and Jennifer (that’s Holland for you in a nutshell: klompen and Remia Frietsaus – Geoff spend his sabbatical two years ago with us in Delft) …

… and a wonderful Ossobuco (how do you spell that) and dito Sauvignon blanc

On monday, Geoff and Majid organised a succesful workshop (more than 30 attendees from both uni and the authorities) where Rob, Yibing and I gave in total five presentations (mine were on the Dutch DTM practice and a second on travel time reliability).

On monday evening we had a typical Ozzie meal in a nice restaurant which advertised its food as Asian Fusion, which is not a bad term for some parts of Melbourne in general. Great stuff: Fish, Curries, Veggies, you name it

On monday night the skies seemed to approve of all of this as Venus (top), Jupiter (right) and the Moon crossed paths to form a giant celestial smiley. You can google several more spectacular pictures on the web, but this one popped out of my camera – a bit shaky not bad I think 🙂 

 

 

From Mt Dandenong to Lorne (or further)

The problem with making weekend trips is of course figuring out when to organize the zillion photo’s you’ve made, make a decent selection and then recall the where’s and why’s of each of them. Last Friday me and Majid went up Mt Dandenong (with 630 meters the highest peak of the Dandenong Hills), which you might still consider within the Melbourne metropolitan area, albeit this area is mostly used by retiries or seasonal visitors. Nonethless, on top of the thing is a beautiful observation site, which on a clear day gives you a pretty spectacular view over the Melbourna area. Great way to spend a friday morning.

note below the tiny high-rise area, that’s the CBD. Monash uni is somewhere in the middle.

On Sunday I was picked up by Jenny and Neil for a road trip toward the other side of the Melbourne area (Geelong and the Great Ocean Road).

This truly was an apetizer for the trip me and Christine will make in a month or so. Ozzies mean business when going for a ride. If you would take this trip starting from Delft towards the West you’d be having fish and chips in Norwich, to the South you would be paying toll in Amiens and to the east be driving 200 km/h on the Autobahn past Dortmund. Anyway, distances are looked upon differently here and understandably so. There simply is a tremendous amount of distance between places. Then again, the worst that can happen is having to stop for a coffee …

or play around with your board a bit

walk the dog

or stay on dry land and enjoy the views

and after a couple-a-hour drive up and down the Great Ocean Road you take the ferry from Queenscliff to the eastern side of the bay-area "embracing" Melbourne and a final 80 km freeway trip back to Clayton.

Yep, although the Melbourne weather this past week has been pretty much like home (in a summer that is), this was a wonderful Sunday trip with great views, talks, drinks and food. Thanks Jenny and Neil!

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