The Beter Benutten programme ended in 2018. The website is no longer in use, but the information provided can still be used as inspiration for other accessibility improvement programmes. 

Beter Benutten: less congestion in 2014, shorter journey times in 2017

In the 'Beter Benutten' ('Optimising Use') programme, the Dutch government, regions and businesses are working together to improve road, waterway and railway accessibility in the busiest regions. First aim has been to reduce congestion at the busiest points by 20 percent in 2014, using a package of around 300 practical and quantifiable measures. The aim of the follow-up programme,  from now up to 2017, is to achieve 10 percent shorter journey times from door to door in the busiest areas.


For a fuller picture of the Optimising Use programme, please watch the animated film below.

Smarter use

Investing in new roads results in less congestion. That is crucial for economic development, but asphalt alone is not enough to solve the accessibility problem. Budgets and space are limited, and we also want to keep our cities liveable. That is why making better use of existing roads is at least as important. We are doing this by:

  • Improving the existing roads
  • Offering the traveller more choice and service
  • Increasing the carriage of goods over water
  • Working with businesses to facilitate ‘Work Smart, Travel Smart’.

Customised to the region
The government and businesses are working together to improve accessibility in the 12 busiest urban regions, using a package of concrete and quantifiable measures that focus on the needs and behaviour of travellers and transport providers. Each region has its own problem areas and travellers, which is why we have chosen customised solutions. After all, what works in the province of South Holland will not necessarily be successful in Groningen. The regions and businesses are also devising ideas and initiatives on their own, which are conditional on co-financing.

Mix of measures
Optimising Use is not about one single measure; it’s about a combination of measures. More bicycle shelters at stations, and better, readily-available travel information. Not only shorter waiting times at locks, but also reliable sailing times. Arrangements regarding the New World of Work, with discounted e-bikes for personnel. In total, there are more than 300 interrelated measures.

Key role for businesses
The regional programmes involve a special component: the ‘smart deals’. These are arrangements with businesses aimed at reducing employee travel during the rush hour, by means of tax measures, e-bike campaigns and options for flexible working. It is very important that businesses are committed to this. They participate out of a desire to be attractive, modern employers. And they can also save costs. If travellers adopt different ways of travelling on a long-term basis, we can truly make sustainable improvements to accessibility.

Follow-up programme 2014-2017

At the start of 2014, new arrangements were made between the government and the regions. They agreed to jointly invest EUR 600 million in the period up to 2017, so that additional measures can be taken to reduce rush hour congestion. The parties involved hope that this investment will result in a 10 percent reduction in door-to-door journey times in the busiest areas. In the follow-up programme, the emphasis is primarily on measures to enable the traveller to arrive at their destination quickly and smartly.