NL-6 :: Mobility and transport

Increased population density goes hand in hand with increased demand for mobility. This is not just transport of people, but also of utilities and transport of goods. This asks for (above and underground) infrastructure. For transport of people and goods this means railways, roads, waterways and infrastructural facilities around them, such as parking garages, stations and transfer points for goods. Important here is the interaction with the soil-sediment-water system to maintain the function of the infrastructure. A different category is the, mainly subsurface, transport of substances such as gas, (waste) water, oil. These are transported by different kinds of pipes. Electricity is transported by cables. Also these cables and pipes have some aboveground facilities connected to them such as electricity substations. An important challenge here is the subsurface spatial planning. Urban soils are spaghetti of cables and pipes. Old cables are not automatically removed, in many cases their location is unclear and there are not always rules on how to arrange cables and pipes in the subsurface. Also cables and pipes are influenced by the local circumstances of the soil-sediment-water system (both chemical and physical). In terms of asset management this can be very determining.
Specific research questions:
• What is, in the context of sustainable transport, the role of the subsurface for infrastructure networks (from main to minor infrastructure)?
• What factors and arguments can be used when making decisions on the construction of aboveground or subsurface infrastructure? Is preserving the qualities of the soil-sediment-water system a factor? How can these arguments be used when making trade-offs?
Land management
• What is the condition of subsurface infrastructure and what this mean in terms of replacement and removal of unused cables and wires?
• What techniques can be developed for sustainable civil engineering (building with nature, building on soils with low carrying capacity, nuisance-free civil engineering at the surface and in the subsurface)?
• What innovations are possible for managing, measuring and monitoring of subsurface infrastructures?
• What function combinations in road construction and maintenance and ecosystem services are possible?
Net impacts
• What are interactions between soil-sediment-water system and construction of, and existing, aboveground and subsurface infrastructure, now and in the future?
• Do interventions for the purpose of mobility and transport disturb the balance between the potential of the soil-sediment-water system and societal needs? How can these disturbances be characterized and what does this mean for the quality of the soil-sediment-water system?
• What are positive and negative interactions between subsurface infrastructural developments and the soil-sediment-water system, and what can we learn from these interactions for future infrastructural developments in the subsurface?