Dutch cities strive for cleaner, safer, and more inclusive mobility systems but face increasing pressure on urban space. Therefore, the Cities of Amsterdam and Almere, and Groningen Bereikbaar join forces with private sector partners to form the consortium ‘DRO’: Digital orchestration of the use of public space.

The consortium is part of the Dutch Metropolitan Innovations (DMI) ecosystem and received the innovation contract from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management at the end of 2023. Today, all partners are officially signing to join. With a budget of over 23 million euros, DRO-DMI will work on the development of digital tools to better manage the use of public space.

Cities and regions of the future

In the Netherlands, cities and regions face complex challenges in the fields of mobility and urban planning. Amsterdam, where the population is projected to exceed one million by 2030, is exploring ways to reduce pressure on public space, enhance safety, and simultaneously promote the use of environmentally friendly and accessible transportation. Almere grapples with above-average housing ambitions alongside growing mobility needs and increasing mobility poverty. Groningen, a crucial traffic hub in the northern part of the Netherlands, encounters daily traffic jams on access routes from Drenthe, Friesland, and Germany. However, traditional instruments, such as physical interventions in public spaces, traffic lights, and traffic controllers, no longer seem sufficient in the dynamic mobility landscape of today and tomorrow. Therefore, additional digital tools are needed to keep cities accessible and livable.

Scalable, data-driven solutions

DRO-DMI explores, develops, and tests digital, data-based solutions to better manage the use of public space. By regulating access based on user characteristics or modalities, we can already ensure that certain vehicles don’t enter specific areas. Additional cases include managing unused parking capacity and allocating this space for specific use or users. Other examples focus on spreading and avoiding daily traffic congestion by improving communication with people before or during their journey. This enables users of public space to make informed choices about their trip and helps them contribute to more efficient traffic. This is how DRO-DMI aims to make conscious decisions about the use of limited space. Digital tools can play an important role in ensuring that cities and regions remain accessible and livable for all target groups.

Launch of DRO-DMI Consortium

The DMI ecosystem is a collaboration of industry, knowledge institutes, G40 and G4 municipalities, provinces and the ministries of I&W and BZK under a joint uniform Agreements System. DMI is a collaboration with the National Growth Fund and focuses on smart, sustainable urbanization, and mobility innovation. It provides the domains of mobility, public space and housing with new tools from the digital world. Within the DMI ecosystem, the DRO-DMI consortium brings together various cities, technology organizations, and research institutes. Partners include the City of Amsterdam, the City of Almere, Groningen Bereikbaar, Goudappel, Vianova, Technolution, and AMS Institute, with advice from TNO and the Transport Region Amsterdam.

AMS Institute as valorization partner

Over the past eight years, AMS Institute has been actively engaged in a comprehensive program of research and innovation projects in the mobility domain. These initiatives have provided valuable insights and solutions that can be readily validated in AMS Institute's living labs, pilots, and demonstrations in and around Amsterdam.

AMS Institute uses the results from these previous projects for the development of the new applications/functionalities within DRO. By setting up a DRO Proof-of-concept fund, AMS Institute facilitates the valorization of research results into practice. This fund provides the opportunity to scale up innovations within DRO, thereby creating more significant social and economic value. This collaboration also works the other way around: it allows challenges and wishes originating from DRO, even those with high inherent risks, to be translated into new scientific research projects. This integration of practice-driven needs into research ensures that innovation is aligned with real-world demands.

AMS Institute is a co-organizer of the 'Oval Table Mobility,' which brings together all involved knowledge institutions from Amsterdam. This oval table serves to place research and innovation on the agenda while aligning it with urban needs from practice.

“With the Ministry opting to grant the Proof-of-Concept fund, an important step has been taken to enable experimenting with cutting-edge research in a practical setting. For me this is what sets the DRO project apart.”

Sander Oudbier

Program Manager Smart Urban Mobility