“We are thinkers who do and doers who think.”
As part of our ‘5 questions to’ series, Connekt spoke to Robin van Haasteren, Commercial Director, and Willem Hartman, Business Unit Director of Vialis.
- Can you explain, in the form of an elevator pitch, what Vialis does?
At Vialis we believe that quality of life in our country can be improved. Fortunately, there are plenty of other parties who agree with us. They are all making their own contribution in this area – and that’s what we are doing too, by improving traffic flows on our roads and waterways, promoting sustainability and increasing safety. These are the goals we are focusing on and can influence from within our field of ‘infrastructure and mobility’. Our approach involves making infrastructure intelligent, using smart solutions and technology.
- Which service or project is Vialis most proud of when it comes to smart, sustainable and social mobility?
We are extremely proud of our involvement in testing the first self-driving bus. Daimler AG conducted this test in July 2016 on the Zuidtangent bus rapid transit route between Schiphol and Haarlem. Vialis took care of the ‘cooperative’ services for Daimler and equipped 19 traffic control installations with cooperative technology. Early, reliable communication makes it possible for buses and installations to anticipate the future traffic situation, resulting in improved traffic flows, lower CO2 emissions and greater comfort for passengers. However much we believe in the potential of the latest technologies, and we constantly examine how they are used in practice, we are and will remain, above all, a practical service provider that wants to be judged on the performance and quality of its solutions. We are thinkers who do and doers who think.
- Which themes can Connekt members raise with you?
Vialis operates within the fields of infrastructure and mobility in the Netherlands. With the help of smart solutions and technology we are improving quality of life for everyone. Whereas in the past a company could stay within the comfortable confines of its own little cocoon, nowadays pretty much everything is intertwined. Vialis’ roots are mainly in the area of ITS, which means we are coming up against themes such as smart mobility, autonomous vehicles, logistical optimization, etc. In short, you will come across us in all kinds of areas.
- What do you contribute to this theme and/or the Connekt network? And what can Connekt do for Vialis?
To enable us to achieve our goals and those of our customers, we work together closely with other parties. They include, first and foremost, the customers themselves, but also all kinds of other partners involved in infrastructure and mobility projects. We see it as our responsibility to bring all these parties, their solutions and our solutions together within a project to create a powerful whole. That is also one of the reasons why we are a member of Connekt. Connekt helps us and all other partners to create this link, via an independent network, to influential parties and their knowledge and creativity.
- In your opinion what is currently the most promising disruptive innovation?
From the perspective of ‘conventional’ traffic science, it has to be the self-driving car. In the first instance this will result in dramatic changes to traffic regulations, safety principles, how we deal with cyclists and pedestrians, etc. However, the self-driving car will also have a huge impact in the area of planning. We will no longer need parking spaces right outside the door, either at our departure point or our destination. This means that, all of a sudden, a massive amount of space will become available, which we can use to improve quality of life, for recreation, for buildings, but also for pedestrians and cyclists. The way our outdoor space looks will change completely!