A.uring the drive south from Amsterdam to Utrecht: One of the oldest motorway sections in the Netherlands; From here the A 2 continues to the south of the country through urban areas via Eindhoven to Maastricht, which makes it one of the busiest motorways in the country. Behind the Holendrecht junction – a cross formed from two motorway triangles – warning signs appear: “Trajectcontrole”, section control for speed monitoring. It is not measured at one point, but the average speed over a longer distance. Cameras hang over the electronic speed displays and take photos of the license plates. Cameras reappear behind the Breukelen exit.
The maximum speed on the motorway section varies: 130 kilometers per hour are allowed in principle, but only from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. During the day – as has been the case across the country for a year and a half – Tempo 100 applies. Measurement with section control is becoming more and more widespread. According to the judiciary, it is now in use on ten motorways across the country and is gradually being introduced on 20 other roads. 130 km / h after 7 p.m. does not apply everywhere. On some stretches 120 km / h is allowed, on still others the general rule is 100 km / h.
“Nobody thinks that is beautiful”
Tempo 100 as the daily maximum was introduced in March last year. The background was not traffic safety, but an environmental judgment. Because the fifth largest EU economy emits too many nitrogen oxides, the highest administrative court ordered in 2019 to stop large construction projects. This also affected thousands of residential properties – in a country that is groaning under housing shortage in many places. The right-wing liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte was faced with the choice of canceling the construction projects or otherwise reducing emissions. There was nothing left but to prescribe 100 km / h, said Rutte. “Nobody thinks that is nice.” But this is about higher interests.
The protest was surprisingly quiet. The trade association BOVAG criticized that the lower speed hardly had any effect on the nitrogen oxide balance. The traffic club ANWB – which is similar to the ADAC – expressed understanding because of the balancing of interests, as long as this was a temporary measure. “A narrow majority of ANWB members think that construction must not come to a standstill, and is therefore positive about the reduction in the maximum speed,” said the introduction of the measure. “On the other hand, about a third of the members are negative or very negative when it comes to the measure.” The ANWB urged that the old rules return as soon as the nitrogen oxide levels allowed it – and the lobby association also sees other sectors as having an obligation.
Incidentally, with more electric cars emissions will decrease by themselves. Rutte’s VVD party, which won a relative majority in the March elections and six months later is still fighting for a new coalition, sees it similarly: “We would like to do it during the day too drive 130 again, but that only works when nitrogen oxide emissions have been sufficiently reduced. Until then, the lower speed limit is necessary so that residential construction can continue ”, can be read in the party’s“ standpoints ”on the subject.
Older people rated Tempo 100 more positively than younger people
From February to June of this year, the CBS statistics office asked 3,600 citizens about all kinds of topics related to car use, including the new speed limit. Four out of ten respondents supported the measure. A little more than half, on the other hand, wanted to drive faster: Nine percent wanted 110 km / h, 24 percent 120 km / h and 15 percent 130 km / h. Only three percent were in favor of a higher limit or no limit at all. Older people tend to rate Tempo 100 much more positively than younger people, and a disproportionately high number of supporters can also be found among academics and residents of urban areas.
Outsiders may find the inconsistent limits per route confusing, even if they are posted on road signs or electronic speed limit signs. The Ministry of Transport gives the nationwide overview in a PDF with the motorway network in traffic light colors. If you travel further down the A2, you drive past the greater Utrecht area on a red section (permanently 100 km / h), then for a while on a green route (130) and a yellow (120) and in the Den Bosch area again a little Red. This is followed by alternating green and yellow, until the route turns red again in the far south near Maastricht. Occasionally, Rosa appears on the motorway network, with a special restriction: a full 80 kilometers per hour must be observed here, for example on a western section of the ring around the metropolis of Amsterdam, which is otherwise continuously “red”, i.e. 100 km / h.
Foreigners shouldn’t hope for leniency. More than in the past, the authorities are ensuring that fines also end up in the mailbox across borders. According to the government portal “Rijksoverheid”, the Netherlands work with eleven other EU member states – including Germany – as well as Switzerland: “Traffic violators from the connected countries also get a fine if they drive in the other country.” Which is usually the case does not work: to bypass the Trajectcontrole by taking another driveway or pausing at a rest area and then resting. The sections are divided into subsections with extra cameras. Total surveillance.