The most sustainable road in the Netherlands was opened in 2020. The N470 between Delft and Zoetermeer is the first road with a closed energy system, in which sustainable energy is generated, stored and used locally. Under the title “N470 provides energy”, TAUW has guided the province of South Holland for the entire project.
The province’s goal is to make all its roads CO2-neutral, and the N470 is one of the first of its kind to be completed. TAUW has been involved in this innovative project for four years in close collaboration with construction company Boskalis Nederland and Dynniq. We designed the road, drew up the integrated contract, made the business case for various innovations (noise barriers with solar panels, DC network, battery for energy storage, smart road lighting, traffic control systems, etc.) and supervised the tender.
The results have been astonishing: 220 solar panels in the noise barrier generate enough energy to power 323 lampposts and 225 traffic lights along the road. A large battery ensures that the electricity that is generated during the day can be used in the evening. This “DC grid” is one of 16 innovations that make the N470 the most sustainable road in the Netherlands over its entire length of 17 kilometres. The specific type of asphalt used on the road reduces the fuel consumption of cars. Because the surface is extra smooth and flat, car tires create less friction. Smart traffic lights keep an eye on the traffic and adapt accordingly. As a result, traffic stops and starts less which reduces traffic jams and emissions.
In addition to CO2 savings, the N470 also offers space for improving roadside biodiversity by constructing sustainable verges full of native flowers and reducing noise and light nuisance for local residents and wildlife along the road. Panels made of plant residues dampen the sound from tunnels. Traffic signs and kilometre markers are made of natural fibres are reused.
– Deputy Floor Vermeulen of the province of South Holland