The Netherlands has an extensive railway network that is used for transporting persons,
goods, and hazardous materials (from here: hazmat). Often, these trains have to cross densely
populated cities and city centres. Especially for the transportation of hazmat, this brings some
risk for the citizens living in the surrounding areas of the railway. Therefore, technical experts
and governmental planners create rules, regulations, and protective measures to decrease the
risk to an acceptable level. This acceptable level, determined by the experts and planners, is
based on an objective notion of the risk. Factors that form the objective notion of risk are
incident probability, population exposure, and vulnerability (Slovic, 2010; Bagheri, Verma &
Verter, 2014; Covello & Merkhofer, 1993). What is missing knowledge about transporting
hazmat by train in the Netherlands is information about the citizens’ perspective on risk. This
is a problem because according to many social scientists the perception of risk is subjective
and can differ between citizens and governments (Slovic, 2010; Wachinger, Renn, Begg &
Kuhlicke, 2013). This could lead to a discrepancy between citizens and governments about the
(sort of) protective measures, or the citizens might not accept the transport of hazmat at all
(Wachinger, Renn, Begg & Kuhlicke, 2013). The purpose of this research is to investigate this
gap between citizens and planners and is therefore structured around the following question:
What is the perspective of both citizens living near railway-transportation routes and planners on the
risk linked to the transportation of hazmat and the policy around it? To answer this question, a case
study in Eindhoven is executed, a city in the southern half of the Netherlands where relatively
many trains with hazmat cross the city centre.