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Infrastructure strategy appraiser (Omgevingswijzer), The Netherlands

Helping the Dutch government improve regional spatial planning

Facilitating a structured discussion

The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and their executive body Rijkswaterstaat (responsible for the design, construction, management and maintenance of the main infrastructure facilities) asked Arup to develop an instrument to assist in the evaluation of project proposals and to assist in the comparison of projects with regional priorities.

Arup, in collaboration with planning consultancy TEMAH, developed a tool that reveals the synergy between several economic, social and environmental measures. Based on the latest web technologies, the infrastructure strategy appraiser (‘Omgevingswijzer’) presents questionnaires in a manner familiar to all users and fluidly visualises the results in an attractive and clear way.

By providing insight in the effects of spatial planning, the tool enables a structured discussion about sustainability.

The structure of the infrastructure strategy appraiser and the drivers behind it are based on current Dutch national policy and best practice in different fields of sustainability. In 2013 the tool was announced as the official Ministrial early review methodology for infrastructure projects following the Dutch planning trajectory, known as 'MIRT' (indicating the multiannual programme for infrastructure, spacial planning and transport).

Improving regional spatial planning

The tool is an outcome of an initiative involving several ministries to consider regional spatial planning in a more integrated way. In order to assist the formulation of its vision and the deployment of the plan, Arup was asked by a Rijkswaterstaat taskforce to lead the development process. This involved multi-ministry workshops, assessment of regional plans and testing on more than 20 projects. 

In this way Arup has helped the Dutch government to facilitate planning at a regional scale, helping create a link between national policy and projects applied locally.

The tool can be found at: