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The History of the Transport Future—Evaluating Dutch Transport Scenarios of the Past

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This paper examines 42 business-as-usual (BAU) scenarios for future transport and traffic development in the Netherlands from the period 1970 to 2000. An important aspect of these scenarios is that they indicate the potential future state of the transport system if the policies in place at the time continue unchanged, thus raising issues which may require a policy response. This paper shows that in most of the important BAU transport scenario results of the past in the Netherlands, such as future car use and transport emissions, the policy makers were not misled. The prognoses for traffic congestion are an important exception as they underestimated the congestion problems that would arise. This paper shows that, based on the research it examines, BAU transport forecasting is an inaccurate practice. It is recommended that the BAU scenario designer communicates this high inaccuracy, enabling the policy maker to include the inherent future uncertainty in their decision-making.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01441647.2010.527440

Affiliations: Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology (DUT), Delft, The Netherlands

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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