Study on the volume, nature and composition of commuting traffic in Hoeksche Waard

The municipality of Hoeksche waard is an island in South Holland with 14 towns and several hamlets. Some 90,000 people live in Hoeksche waard, some of whom work in surrounding municipalities. Conversely, people from other municipalities also travel to Hoeksche Waard for work. The latter group is only significantly smaller, as a result of which Hoeksche Waard has a ‘negative’ commuting balance.


For this reason, the Hoeksche Waard municipality needed insight into the type of jobs residents have outside Hoeksche Waard, what residents’ motives are for working elsewhere and under what conditions would consider a job in Hoeksche Waard (such as housing, facilities, accessibility) one would consider. With these insights, the municipality can take appropriate policy measures to ensure employment, the level of amenities and the vitality of the island.

The municipality therefore asked Ecorys to conduct research into the size, nature and composition of inbound and outbound commuter flows. This research was carried out using microdata analysis and additional interviews.

Key findings

The people who commute most frequently between Hoeksche Waard and other municipalities are persons working in the trade, care, rental and other business services, transport and storage and public administration and public services sectors.

The inbound commute has an overrepresentation of persons working in trade, industry and construction and an underrepresentation of persons working in healthcare. The outbound commute is over-represented in healthcare, transport and storage, public administration and public services and rental and other business services and under-represented in trade.

Persons belonging to the inbound commute named accessibility and short travelling time as important considerations for working in Hoeksche Waard. When choosing to work but not live there, their current family and work situation plays a major role. Reasons for them to consider Hoeksche Waard as a place to live are the surroundings, nature and tranquillity.

People belonging to the outgoing commuter group name the peaceful surroundings, space and family as the most important motives for living in Hoeksche Waard. People indicate working elsewhere because of the limited supply of jobs at a relevant job level or in a relevant field. If they could find a comparable job in Hoeksche Waard, the shorter travel time would be a reason for choosing Hoeksche Waard as a place to work.

“Werken in de Hoeksche Waard voelde als thuiskomen qua sfeer en gemoedelijkheid. [..] maar je merkt de beperktheid, want er zijn weinig doorgroeimogelijkheden.”


In order to ensure that outbound commuters can fulfil attractive, alternative functions in Hoeksche Waard, it is therefore necessary to stimulate employment. It can be a major (almost unfeasible) challenge for smaller municipalities to sufficiently stimulate employment, especially in the vicinity of and in competition with large cities. In our study, we included a number of short-term and long-term policy measures that the Hoeksche Waard municipality could take. One example is that good contact with local entrepreneurs is essential to understand their need for workforce skills, especially in tight sectors. The municipality can explore how they can contribute to programmes that encourage the development of these skills. Here, it is important to involve educational institutions as well.