Monday 12 April 2010

The effect of cycle usage on traffic jams

From the Fietsberaad come these two films showing how cycling rates can affect traffic, using an area of Alkmaar as an example.

The two videos show possible futures for drivers in the city. The left hand side of each shows what the situation would be by 2020 if there was ten percent less cycle usage than at present while the right hand side shows the situation if there is ten percent more cycle usage compared with the present.

Investing in cycling infrastructure which encourages a higher cycling rate not only benefits cyclists but also drivers and society as a whole.

Cycle-usage +10% (0.25 extra km per day per person) leads
to 3% fewer car kilometres, 6% fewer within built up areas.
Also 1% fewer traffic victims, 2% less noise nuisance, 3%
less individual CO2 output, 3% less pressure on parking at
business premises, 3% fewer residents with "travel poverty",
6% less fine dust pollution, 6% less nitrogen dioxide, 11%
fewer cars in residential areas, 15% less time lost by drivers
and 20% less pressure on parking in the centre of the city.
It is expected that a growth of 10% in cycling, just 0.25 extra km cycled per person per day, would result in 3% fewer car kilometres in total, 6% fewer in the city, resulting in drivers benefiting from 15% less time lost and 20% less pressure on car parking in the city centre. There are a range of benefits shown on the left.

What's more, it is easier to address problems for drivers by improving conditions for cyclists as even the best quality of cycle provision is less expensive and more compact than building roads.

Once again, it can be seen that promoting cycling is good not only for environmental and health reasons, but also for fiscal reasons.

The Fietsberaad have produced a (long) publication in Dutch which goes into more detail. This includes the observation that subjective safety is improved by an increase in cycling vs. driving. Half of all car journeys in the Netherlands are under 7.5 km (therefore easy to target as cycling journeys). Many larger cities in The Netherlands have successfully increased cycle use quite sharply in recent years. e.g. Groningen by 10% over 3 years, Amsterdam by 36% over 16 years and Den Haag by 11% over 3 years. It is also expected that the change to taxing motorists per km driven will result in an increase in cycling in the Randstad area of about the same amount.


dr2chase said...

Ahoy, your videos are removed. But the message is a great one for the US -- "get your neighbor to ride his bike, more road for you, and you can do it on the cheap". Sadly effective, but maybe we can trick people into supporting infrastructure nice enough that they would use it themselves.

David Hembrow said...

Sorry about the videos. I wrote this a few days ago, since when the videos were removed and then put back on youtube with different IDs. They've been restored now.

Eneko Astigarraga said...

Sometimes statistics are difficult to manage and are relative. Writing from Spain... a 10% here is different that a 10% there in the Netherlands. Anyway, very interesting!

anna said...

Interesting numbers! I'll have to point out to my car-focused friends, that they benefit most from an increase in the number of cyclists. Although I would still prefer to see them cycling than in a car on a empty road...

Marco te Br├Âmmelstroet said...


you might be interested in my post about the same material and the implications for Munich:

Also, a discussion in the comments of a recent post on the statistics of cycling in the Netherlands:

Anonymous said...

There are similar arguments about car sharing. On the outskirts of Bristol I count just one in twenty vehicles having more than one person during the work rush hour. Cycling is even lower.
We give far too much land to the car when it would be better used for food, recreation and housing. People in cars also make wasted journeys, a cyclist will try hard not to. If there was less traffic and so less congestion would there be less cyclists?
Mark Garrett, Bristol UK