Cycling for Everyone
Cycling for Everyone

Map of Main Bottlenecks in Dutch Bicycle Network

26 January 2022 - Author: Jeroen Steenbakkers

Insight into Sustainable Travel Within Municipalities

Breda University of Applied Sciences, together with the IT company Argaleo, has conducted an analysis of the delays on the bicycle network in the Netherlands. In the coming years a lot of investments in infrastructure for cycling will be made to stimulate this sustainable way of transportation. The analysis helps road authorities to better focus on the improvement points of the bicycle path network. The bottlenecks are visualized in a so-called ‘digital twin’ data dashboard.

Everyday millions of people use a bicycle as part of their daily travel behaviour. In addition, the bicycle is considered a sustainable mode of transportation for short and medium distances. Therefore, in the coming years investments will be made nationwide in the construction of bicycle infrastructure and the stimulation of bicycle use. To get the most out of the investment, it is important to have insight into the size and location of bottlenecks on the bicycle network.

Mapping bottlenecks

In the specific topic of bicycle delays, BUAS has developed a system to determine bicycle network delays based on GPS bicycle data. This is because these insights rarely speak for themselves, knows program manager of Dutch Cycling Intelligence Joost de Kruijf. “Every cyclist is dependent on their own muscle power, even when using an electric bike,” says De Kruijf. “We see that there are differences between the preferred speed of the individual cyclist compared to the actual speed. “The crux then lies in the diversity of factors that impact this speed,” he said. “Logically, delays can be caused by traffic lights,” De Kruijf said. “In addition, you can think about whether or not bike lanes are busy and distractions on the side of the bike lane. Even the purpose of the ride can be a factor.”

Visualized insights based on facts

In addition to the technical content analyses, ease of use and the power of visualization also play an important role; an indispensable link to get from policy question to relevant and usable insight. Partly because of this, the visualization within the twin dashboards is a powerful tool in mapping out all the bottlenecks in the Dutch bicycle network. Thanks to the tool, the user can compare the shortest and fastest route between different locations based on the bottlenecks. “For example, it is a myth that cyclists always choose the shortest route,” De Krijf explains. “Issues such as route experience, safety and comfort also play a major role here.”

Dutch Cycling Intelligence

This analysis is part of the Dutch Cycling Intelligence program. In this program BUas and Argaleo work together with the state, provinces and municipalities to create new insights based on relevant policy questions. The basic philosophy in the program is that all new research, analysis and insights are immediately implemented nationwide so that all road authorities and other stakeholders can directly benefit. The bottleneck analysis is therefore immediately available in a national data dashboard, a so-called digital twin. With this tool, the user can determine locations themselves, which could possibly be improved to ultimately make the Netherlands even more ‘bicycle-friendly’. “You can only really get full return on your investment if you know exactly what’s going on,” says De Kruif. “I therefore expect that every municipality will gain insight into the delays that cyclists actually experience on their route. In time, this will also make it very clear and measurable which investments will pay for themselves in terms of sustainability.”

For more information, please contact Jeroen Steenbakkers, Director at Argaleo.

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