DRIVER+ Trial in The Hague Puts Innovative Crisis Management Solutions Through their Paces

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

The Netherlands Trial will be assessing a number of solutions that are designed to improve current crisis management capabilities by recognising the interaction between people and technology and address shortcomings in three specific areas.

On 22nd to 23rd May 2019, five innovative solutions will be assessed in an exaggerated flooding scenario in The Hague, as part of a two-day tabletop Trial in the DRIVER+ project.

With the active participation of practitioners from the police, fire service, medical services, municipality, military, the Waterboard and electricity company, public transport as well as international organisations such as EUROPOL, EUROJUST and the International Court of Justice, this is major event for the assessment of innovative Crisis Management solutions in Europe.

Since 1997 alone there have been 23 serious floods in Europe, resulting in no less than 802 fatalities. Going back 66 years, the North Sea Flood of 1953 killed more than 2,551 people and flooded 9% of all Dutch farmland. In total 1,836 fatalities occurred in The Netherlands alone and the impact of this particular disaster is still felt today.

With the effects of climate change and the ever-present threat of sea level rise, the Dutch are leading the way in water and flood management and have been consistently implementing new solutions to prepare against potential nightmare scenarios.


DRIVER+ (Driving Innovation in Crisis Management for European Resilience) is an EU funded project, helping Crisis Management practitioners find the best ways to address disasters that require complex responses. A total of four Trials and a Final Demonstration will take place within the project’s lifespan, actively involving Crisis Management practitioners in order to identify and assess innovative solutions that could potentially meet their expectations and cover a series of pre-identified gaps. The two first Trials were successfully conducted in Poland and France, while the final Trial will take place in Austria in September 2019.

All DRIVER+ Trials are prepared, executed and evaluated in line with the Trial Guidance Methodology (TGM) with the support of the Test-bed infrastructure and the Trial Guidance Tool (TGT). These three closely linked components have been specifically developed to assist Trial organisers to conduct a simulated crisis as realistically as possible. The results of the assessment of the solutions are then stored in the DRIVER+ Portfolio of Solutions (PoS), an openly available online database, which also contains valuable information on other existing solutions that are available. The PoS is available to view online at http://pos.driver-project.eu/.

The Trial
In general terms, The Netherlands Trial will be assessing a number of solutions that are designed to improve current crisis management capabilities by recognising the interaction between people and technology and address shortcomings in three specific areas.

  1. The planning of resources in the context of large scale and long-term crises.
  2. The ability to exchange crisis-related information between various agencies and organisations (interoperability).
  3. The planning and managing of large-scale evacuations of population in urban areas, including the management of the side effects such evacuations can cause.

After a meticulous selection process, five innovative Crisis Management solutions were chosen, based on their ability to solve a series of gaps identified by practitioners earlier in the project. The selected solutions are:

  • 3DI from Nelen & Schuurmans (https://www.nelen-schuurmans.nl/). State-of-the-art hydrodynamic simulation software for inundation caused by heavy rainfall, overflowing rivers or coastal flooding.
  • ZKI & KEEPOPERATIONAL from DLR (https://www.dlr.de). ZKI Provides Up-to-date situational awareness information such as satellite or aerial imagery, as well as geo data while KEEPOPERATIONAL provides fast and seamless exchange of relevant information for traffic management and logistics operations in disaster situations.
  • CrisisSuite from MerlinCrisis (https://www.merlincrisis.com/nl). Delivers a Common Operational Picture for those Crisis Teams not having direct access to the Dutch crisis management system (LCMS).
  • HUMLOG from the University of Münster (https://www.uni-muenster.de/en/). An adaptable simulation environment for discrete event-based and agent-based simulations
  • SIM-CI from SIM-CI (https://sim-ci.com/). Creates a digital visualisation of the disaster and shows the cascading effects on critical infrastructure and utility networks.

The tabletop scenario

The solutions will be assessed in a tabletop Trial that focuses on a flooding scenario involving a simulated lock breach, caused by severe weather conditions. A large part of The Hague city centre will be flooded as a result, damaging infrastructure and threatening a large portion of the city’s inhabitants. Cascading effects will include power outage, flooded roads and railway infrastructure, threatening the population in the affected areas.

In the Trial scenario, an exaggerated flood level will be simulated, as this allows a much wider range of Crisis Management agencies and organisations to participate. A crisis on this scale cannot be managed by the Safety Region Haaglanden and its regional crisis partners alone, and therefore requires the deployment of additional emergency services to deal with an increasing number of exposed people as well as to manage all the cascading effects. Stakeholders (end-users and decision makers) from every crisis management level (local, regional, national and international level) will play an important part in the Trial. These stakeholders will take actions in a simulated environment that uses realistic information, based on currently available assets and resources, crisis management plans, rescue procedures and good practices of participants. But throughout the DRIVER+ Trial, it is the socio-technical solutions, not the participants that will be evaluated to see if they can improve the response for practitioners and the other Crisis Management experts involved.

For more information on The Netherlands Trial or on DRIVER+ activities, please visit our website at https://www.driver-project.eu