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Prof.dr.ir. G. Lodewijks

Stringent environmental standards

The environment will become the limiting factor

Gabriël Lodewijks, Chairman, department Maritime and Transport Technology


This is according to Gabriël Lodewijks. He believes that environmental standards will determine what is and is not possible in the future, whether it concerns passenger transport, bulk goods transfer or inner-city traffic.

"Our greatest challenge," says Lodewijks, "will be enabling individuals in the future to go where they want, when they want. This is because instead of capacity and demand, the determining factor will be the socially acceptable environmental impact. If we do not reduce the environmental impact of our traffic and transport systems, the government will resort to limiting our mobility - as well as certain production processes - on certain days. These limitations will be far-reaching to ensure that the environmental standards are not exceeded."

Innovations
"Because no one would welcome such extreme measures, I am convinced that the more stringent environmental standards will lead to innovations. Examples could be environmentally-friendly drive systems and technologies to allow individual vehicles to link up as 'trains' travelling at a fixed speed. In this system the first vehicle takes the lead and the others follow on automatic pilot at short distances from each other. This form of automated transport, known as 'platooning', can lead to considerable energy savings and increase the capacity of roads. The trick will be to develop techniques that allow platooning on the entire road network."

Moving walkways
"More stringent standards for air and noise pollution in city centres will stimulate the development of innovative transport systems. For example, I have high expectations of multispeed walkways on the major thoroughfares. These are long moving walkways that travel at a high speed in the middle and accelerate and decelerate at the start and finish of the walkway respectively. Such continuous systems could easily compete with city buses, that intermittently stop and accelerate, on medium long distances, and they would improve the living conditions in the city centres too."

Cleaning-up costs
"Environmental requirements will lead to innovations in bulk goods transfer as well. Cranes that unload coal from a ship today always lose a small portion of the coal to the wind or water. If companies are required to clean up this spillage, they will want solutions to prevent this happening because of the costs involved in clearing it up.

 

 

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