March 07, 2005


It’s been quite a while since my last blog contribution, I am sorry to say. Last week was an extraordinarily busy one for me, particularly concerning Pay As You Drive activities. Ironically, I had to travel quite a lot of miles to make it to the meetings scheduled. In chronological order:

On Tuesday, March 1st I traveled from Apeldoorn to Utrecht and back (114 km), to speak to my university mentors. They helped me greatly with my search for research questions (more on that soon).

On Thursday, March 2nd I traveled to Delft and back (270 km) to attend a Connekt networking event. It was very interesting to see so many people involved with mobility development in the Netherlands gathered together. I met a maritime advisor, telemetry specialists, an urban construction engineer, government transport department officials, etcetera. It featured a presentation by a communications official from the department of economic affairs. The presentation and the chats afterwards gave me the impression that if the public parties involved in mobility development could be more transparent, and if the private parties could be less fragmented, then the science community could be better supplied with empirical tests and test results, which in turn…

Transumo (Transition to a sustainable mobility) is a program executed by Connekt.

On Friday, March 3rd I traveled to Groningen and back (266 km) to meet with a traffic researcher. This also was very worthwhile, especially since some of the hunches I developed concerning mobility got some confirmation. For instance, in 'The but for and the what if' it was suggested that those who drive less now and would save because of PAYD would use some of their savings to drive more after its introduction. There seems to be research ‘out there’ that confirms the existence of a certain percentage that families tend to spend out of their financial budgets, on mobility. The same seems to hold true for time budgets, which is interesting when considering congestion reduction. Also, during the oil crisis of 1973, research was done on how people react to dearer oil. It turned out the main response was not to scrap trips, nor to change modality (ie go by public transit or bike), but simply to buy a smaller, cheaper car. Naturally, I am eager to get my hands on all three studies. If they ring a bell with you, please let me know!

So, during one week, I traveled 650 kilometres in order to attend three meetings. I saved up my train tickets (yes, I went per public transit because no, I haven’t got my driving license yet) that totalled EUR 44,90. That totals EUR 0,069 per kilometre, a tariff not unlike a per-kilometre premium that could be charged to a younger or less experienced motorist. Such a person, driving 20.000 kilometres a year, would pay around EUR 1381/year for insurance.

So for the price of car insurance, I got the whole train trip!

Just don’t ask me what it was like waiting on train stations, with temperatures around and below – 6 centigrade, the heaviest snow in Holland in 20 years, and delays being the rule rather than the exception…

On the other hand, at Centraal Beheer insurance company I was quite busy helping clients report their car damage: slippery roads helped cause many a collision.

I guess right now, a hint of spring would make everybody happy...



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