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Rover, NS and outgoing State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen (Infrastructure and Water Management) announced this afternoon that Jouke van Campenhout, Senior Consultant at Deloitte Real Estate, has won the Traveler's Gift competition with the idea 'RailConnect'.

In the past year, the Dutch Railways (NS) has taken a surprising step to compensate for passenger inconvenience caused by a shortage of trains in 2022. In a partnership with Rover, the interest organization for train passengers, and under the auspices of outgoing State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen of Infrastructure and Water Management, a competition was organized that focused on improving the quality of train travel. This initiative followed a decision by the State Secretary to fine of 1,5 million euros, which NS had incurred due to reduced services, to be used for the benefit of passengers. More than 6000 entries have been received, highlighting the commitment and creativity of travelers. From these submissions, one idea in particular stood out: RailConnect.

RailConnect, a concept by Jouke van Campenhout, promises a... revolutionary step in the way in which travelers can communicate with each other and with the NS. The app focuses on connecting travelers by enabling the sharing of travel information, making new contacts, and facilitating meetings on both trains and at stations. This idea, which won the main prize, was rewarded with a tour of Switzerland. The second and third prizes, Interrail passes, were won respectively by Renee Tilli, with an idea for a phone holder on the OV-fiets, and Marleen Hofstede, who came up with a concept for a 'Wrapped' function for train passengers.

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Wouter Koolmees - NS

Of the more than 6000 entries, a striking number had to do with social interaction: from special Travel Buddy apps to opportunities to chat with fellow travelers.

Wouter Koolmees, CEO of NS, and Freek Bos, director of Rover, both expressed their admiration and gratitude for the large number of creative and thoughtful entries. According to them, this competition has shown that there is a widely supported desire for more social interaction and connection while traveling by public transport. It illustrates a counternarrative at a time when social hardening often dominates the news.

The initiative is not only an attempt to improve the quality of the train journey, but also a testament to NS and Rover's commitment to listening to and actively involving the community they serve. State Secretary Heijnen emphasized the importance of this involvement and the potential of public transport as a shared social responsibility.

The project by students from the Kraatsschool primary school in Bennekom also deserves special mention. They thought about how to make train travel more fun and came up with ideas such as a points savings system, free refreshments on the train, and a live tracker for all trains. These young thinkers received special prizes for their insights and creativity.

Special prizes were awarded to students from the Kraatsschool primary school in Bennekom who had worked on the assignment as a school project. The students came up with, among other things, a points savings system, a free snack on the train and a live tracker of all trains.

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From left to right: 3rd prize winner Marleen Hofstede, NS CEO Wouter Koolmees, 1st prize winner Jouke van Campenhout, State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen, Rover director Freek Bos and jury member Suzanne Hiemstra-van Mastrigt (TU Delft)

Jouke van Campenhout, senior consultant with an impressive portfolio of clients including ministries, municipalities, provinces, water boards, housing associations and real estate developers, plays a crucial role in the urban development and real estate sector. His expertise extends across various value fields, such as Urban Development, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Transformations, and Infrastructure & Capital Projects, with a particular focus on land policy and public-private partnerships (governance).

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Van Campenhout, who also deals with real estate transactions, including process management, due diligence and contract formation, shows a deep commitment to and extensive knowledge of the complex worlds of urban development and real estate management. His work and advice are not only essential for navigating the complex legal and strategic aspects of these sectors, but also contribute to sustainable and innovative solutions for urban development projects and investments.

As an aspiring member of the Royal Dutch Association of Rentmasters (NVR), van Campenhout distinguishes himself through his commitment to professionalism and ethics in the real estate sector. His membership in the NVR underlines his commitment to continuously contributing to and improving quality and integrity within the field.


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