• Bringing knowledge on cycling from science to practice and back

  • "Under the seeming disorder of the old city, wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city"

    ~ Jane Jacobs in The Death and Life of Great American Cities


    Cycling is a simple means that connects to a wide range of very complex problems and challenges of contemporary cities. It is intertwined with many aspects of urban life in all its richness and complexity.


    Academic attention for this has been very limited. A more structured approach is needed to map these complex relations, understand best practices and foster reciprocal learning between research and practice.


    The Urban Cycling Institute is part of the Center for Urban Studies of the University of Amsterdam.


    1. Taking a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the intricate web of causes and effects of urban cycling.
    2. Balancing a critical academic stance with a pragmatic practice-oriented approach of developing and disseminating knowledge
    3. Providing a fertile ground for sharing knowledge and learning about urban cycling on all levels of the academic curriculum  
  • Urban Cycling Institute on Twitter

    Check out our latest updates!

  • Research themes

    1. Interdisciplinary research on cycling

    Cycling is connected to a wide range of demographic, ethnic and social dynamics in our cities and regions. One example of this are possible reciprocal relations between cycling and processes of gentrification. 


    Cycling also has intricate links between processes on an individual level. The embodied practice of cycling and the way in which a cyclists interacts with others and his/her environment are examples of this. 


    We aim to bring sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, psychologists, engineers and urban planners together around these themes 

    2. Developing and integrating new methods

    Cycling is currently often analyzed through traffic counts, transport modeling and questionnaires. It's unique characteristics require (and allow) us to go beyond these techniques.  We aim to integrate data from smartphone applications, WiFi detection and link these to qualitative instruments such as participatory observations and in depth interviewing techniques.


    This creates innovative insights in the space time behavior of individuals and its impact on out urban space.

    3. Comparative urbanism

    The Netherlands, and especially Amsterdam offer an ideal setting for our ambitions in which cycling is an integral part of mobility choices in our daily lives. There are many profound differences in this context that merit academic attention, but we expect most value from international comparative studies.


    This also links to our aim to structure the exchange of knowledge about Dutch cycling in an international context (and vice versa).

  • Education

    Picture by Meredith Glaser

    The UCI members are members of the larger Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences of the University of Amsterdam and are therefore involved in a wide range of Bachelor's and Master's courses in Geography and Urban Planning. This setup allows a continuous bidirectional flow of knowledge and insights between these different courses and the cycling research. At the moment, UCI hosts one additional course in the form of a summer school.


    Summer School 'Planning the Cycling City'

    Explore urban cycling from a Dutch perspective, both historical and current, and gain a host of skills on how to develop and foster cycling cities.


    The 3-week course at the University of Amsterdam includes seminars, guest speakers, fieldwork/excursions, small group discussion, a final public event and course projects. The content of the lectures will gradually shift from theory, to application, to reflection. All of this while experiencing the world's leading cycling city and nation all around you!


    Speakers are world leading academics from a wide range of domains, and professionals working in local, regional, and national agencies/organizations/companies, advocacy organizations. These professionals provide a practical perspective on the issues discussed in class and engage in knowledge exchange with the students.


    For more information and application please go to: www.uva.nl/summer-cycling-city 



    MOOC 'Unraveling the cycling city'


    Obscured by its apparent simplicity, cycling is a complex phenomenon. Being an almost perfect human-machine hybrid, cycling is deeply rooted in a plethora of socio-technological systems. Around the world cycling is embraced as an important ingredient to tackle a wide variety of individual and societal challenges.

    The Netherlands is often seen as an ideal living lab, because cycling has retained its significant share of mobility throughout the country. At the same time, there are large differences in developments across time and space, that allows for a better understanding of potential causal relations. This is also increasingly recognized by (inter)national top tier researchers from many different academic fields. They are uncovering reciprocal relations of cycling with spatial, ecological, historical, social, cultural, economic, biological and political structures.


    Unraveling the Cycling City bundles the state-of-the-art knowledge that emerges from research and practice on the Dutch cycling system. As such, it provides an easily accessible platform to learn about important causes and effects, to open minds for the complexity of the entire system and to support group deliberations around the world.

  • UCI Faculty

    We are available as speakers for events where Dutch cycling knowledge is required. For this we charge our standard 75 Euro hour rate

    (see recent presentations at the bottom)

    Photographer: Teska van Overbeeke

    Dr. Marco te Brömmelstroet

    Academic Director | Researcher

    is Associate Professor in Urban Planning at the University of Amsterdam. He holds master degrees in Infrastructure Planning and Geographical Information Management, His teaching in Planning Bachelor and Master's programs centers around the (problematic) integration of land use and mobility and ways to improve this. His research is strongly intertwined with planning practice. He has done several studies on how to improve the use of knowledge in urban strategy making processes.

    Prof. Dr. Ir. Luca Bertolini


    His research and teaching focus on the integration of transport and land use planning, on methods for supporting the option-generation phase of the planning process, on concepts for coping with uncertainty in planning, and on ways of enhancing theory-practice interaction. Main publication topics include planning for sustainable accessibility in urban regions, conceptualizing urbanism in the network society, and the application of evolutionary theories to planning.

    Dr. Anna Nikolaeva


    is a postdoctoral researcher in the project “Smart Cycling Futures” at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University. Her research revolves around the mobility-place nexus with a particular focus on spaces of transit, urban public space, sociology of architecture, mobile sociality and intra-EU mobility. In 2014 she defended the PhD thesis on Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as a multifunctional public space. Before she worked in the global comparative project on futures of mobility “Living in the Mobility Transition” at Royal Holloway, University of London.

    Meredith Glaser

    PhD candidate | Teacher

    specializes in understanding urban processes and design perspectives that prioritize the end-user and their communities. As a PhD researcher at the Urban Cycling Institute, she is interested in using the bicycle and its diverse user group as a lens to examine the dynamic social, emotional and experiential systems involved in contemporary urban planning, policy, and transport practices. She is also interested in how these systems (can) be learned by new bicycle user groups, transferred or tested in new/different mobility environments, or influence policy or the built form through experimentation or living labs. Meredith is also founding director of the Summer School Planning the Cycling City of the Institute.

    Samuel Nel·lo Deakin

    PhD candidate

    studies how different spatial and social environments shape cycling practices within the Dutch context and vice versa. With a background in Geography and Urban Transport, he combines urban design, planning and sociological perspectives into a multidisciplinary approach. His previous research includes a study of bikesharing in Quito (Ecuador) for his Bachelor dissertation at the University of Cambridge.

    George Liu

    PhD candidate

    studies how ideas from urban design can guide the creation of healthy and attractive environments that encourage cycling as a practical and delightful mode of daily transport. His previous research at the University of Toronto includes a study of cycling patterns in the suburban communities of Toronto, Canada. His Masters project evaluated the effectiveness of bicycle mentorship programs in sustaining long-term transport behaviour change. George Liu is cross-appointed at the Department of the Built Environment at Eindhoven University of Technology.

    Dr. Willem Boterman

    Affiliated Researcher

    is Assistant Professor of Human Geography and Urban Planning at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. He holds master degrees in political science and human geography. He obtained his PhD in 2012 (cum laude). His research has mainly focused on the interaction of demographic and class change, families, residential choice, housing and gentrification. His most recent work concentrates on issues of class and gender and social reproduction via school and residential practices. Also, he is engaged in studies on middle class disaffiliation, segregation and social and spatial polarisation.

    Photo by Auke Hamers

    Dr. Gerben Moerman

    Senior Lecturer

    is research methodologist, who loves the sociological aspects of cycling. He is senior lecturer in Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. His expertise lies in the field of qualitative research and mixed methods. Specifically, he researches qualitative interviewing (PhD in 2010) and different forms of qualitative analysis and interpretation.

    He is specifically interested in the sociology and ethnomethodology of cycling. Or, to phrase it as a question: How do people interact on bikes? He was awarded UvA Lecturer of the year 2011, Probably because he used cycling as examples in his lectures on methods.

    Dr. Olga Sezneva

    Affiliated Researcher

    Olga Sezneva is an urban sociologist, curator and a member of the Board of experts for European Prize for Urban Space. She approaches bicycle as a part of an urban assemblage of roads, technologies, money, users, experts and administrative regulations, and traces the emergent cultures, socialities and identities. Olga writes about micro-level social interactions that sustain urban cycling and get affected by it. She is also interested in public bike-share systems and sources of their global popularity.

    Pascal Boontje

    Research apprentice

    is a student in the Urban Studies Research Master at the University of Amsterdam. He graduated from Utrecht University with an Honours Degree in Human Geography and Planning, where he focussed on urban renewal, transportation and mobility solutions. He has experience as a Junior Project Lead for transportation and traffic in the department of Development and Maintenance at a Dutch municipality. In the academic field he studies integrated transportation networks through urban design, planning and social perspectives. Here, sustainable development and cycling oriented development play a central role.

    Dr. Lucas Harms

    Affiliated Researcher

    His research focuses on understanding social and spatial dynamics in bicycle use in the Randstad and its policy implications. His research centers on identifying and explaining changes in bicycle use. Which changes occur in bicycle use in the Netherlands, how do they differentiate between spatial and population characteristics, what are the implications for policy measures aimed at increasing bicycle use in the Randstad, and how are these policy measures to be valued in terms of social cost benefit analyses? He now works for Kennisinstituut voor Mobiliteitsbeleid (KiM) of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment.

    Dr. Ir. Roland Kager

    Affiliated Consultant

    works on the interactions between the bicycle and the transit system. He researches why and how combined use of both modes leads to distinctive transport phenomena. Applications exist on how such combined availability leads to cross-overs for both modes and on land-use, in particular how both modes seem to have strong but selective relationships with urbanisation and agglomeration economies. He now works for Studio Bereikbaar.

    Helena Götsch

    MSc candidate, research assistant

    is visiting student and research assistant at the Urban Cycling Institute and MSc candidate at the Department of Spatial Planning at the Vienna University of Technology, where she also received her Bachelors degree. In her studies she focused on EU policy making in planning and the transition and use of public spaces under changing modes of transportation. She has working experience in European territorial development and policy making at ESPON. In her master thesis she researches policy learning through study tours on sustainable urban mobility. Helena is especially interested in organizational learning processes of public institutions and how this influences urban policies.

    Casey Ellingson

    Research Master candidate, research intern

    is a student within the Urban Studies Research Masters program at the University of Amsterdam. His professional background is in government affairs, public policy, and non-profits. The explosive rise of bikeshare companies in the US was the catalyst for Casey’s pivot toward active transportation planning. He is specifically interested in the merging and coordination of public and private interests in this realm. Casey has a B.S. from the University of Oregon in Environmental Studies with a minor in Planning, Public Policy & Management.

  • Projects and output

    Ongoing research of the Urban Cycling Institute

    November 20, 2018 · research project,PHD,social environment,experience
    By conceptualizing a link between the cycling experience and the associated methods in understanding the former, the perspective of a cyclist is highlighted as an opportunity for research in urban design. A systematic review of 20 empirical papers across a variety of disciplines covering both...
    November 20, 2018 · research project,knowledge transfer
    Urban utility cycling is being promoted widely due to various health, social, economic and environmental benefits. This study seeks to identify and rank which municipal-level policies and other factors are most influential in increasing cycling as a means of everyday transport and improving the...
    November 20, 2018 · research project,sociology,social environment
    (By: Willem Boterman) In Dutch inner-cities, like Amsterdam, ‘cargo bikes’ have become a popular mode of transport for urban families. Remarkably, the cargo bike has become a highly contested object in both public space and public discourse. This paper uses the cargo bike as a lens to discuss...
    October 8, 2018 · research project,crowd funded,Dutch
    To understand relationships between the urban environment and cycling practices we need new ways to face complexity and multidimensionality. Neither measurable environmental variables, nor thickly descriptive, particularistic, or overtly theoretical contributions provide satisfying...
    October 8, 2018 · research project,knowledge transfer,European
    HANDSHAKE supports the effective take up of the integrated cycling solutions successfully developed by Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Munich, our Cycling Capitals and world-renowned cycling front runners, to our 10 highly committed Future Cycling Capitals, Bordeaux Metropole, Bruges, Cadiz, Dublin,...
    The City of Amsterdam estimated, conservatively, that in 2015 over 150 international delegations of varying size came to Amsterdam to, generally, learn about Dutch cycling. With nearly half of all trips made by bike (depending on neighborhood), the city and region are deemed an inspiring example...
    January 27, 2017 · research project,crowd funded,Dutch
    Experienced travel time as policy instrument The experience of travel time might play a central role in the mode choice and route choice of cyclists. A small field study between Utrecht Central Station and the Ravellaan showed that cyclists often choose a longer route because they considered it...
    ‘Dus dit is waar ik elke ochtend doorheen moet? Nog voor mijn eerste kopje koffie!’ Verbijsterd observeer ik samen met Bas Blokker de ochtendspits van 13 mei 2013 op het kruispunt Vondelpark-Amstelveenseweg in Amsterdam. De verkeerslichten zijn toevallig uitgevallen en het gaat af en toe maar nét...
    The new research programme 'Smart Cycling Futures (SCF)' investigates how smart cycling innovations ─ including ICT-enabled cycling innovations, infrastructures, and social innovations like new business models ─ contribute to more resilient and liveable Dutch urban regions. Cycling booms in many...
    Travelling together alone and alone together: mobility and potential exposure to diversity Quantity and quality of social relations correlate with our happiness and physical health. Our (feeling of) connectedness also matters for the efficacy and functioning of communities and societies as a...
    Munich is one of the leading cities in its attempts to increase bicycle use in the urban transportation system. A large part of its campaign is dedicated to the marketing of cycling. As known in the academic literature, behavioural changes is achieved mostly to changing believe systems and...
    The behavior of cyclists and specifically Amsterdam cyclists, is a recurring theme in the public debate. In many of these discussions, the majority of cyclists are deemed to display a strongly anarchic attitude. Although everyone can provide anecdotal evidence to confirm this allegation, there is...
    The sale of e-bikes is growing at a rapid rate across Europe. Whilst market data is available describing sales trends there is limited understanding of the experience of early adopters of e-bike technology. This research was funded by NWO and performed 22 in-depth interviews with new e-bike users...
    When related to public transport, the bicycle is often understood as a rather static ‘feeder’ mode for access-, and sometimes egress travel to stations. We argue that combined use of the bicycle and public transport should be understood in a broader perspective, especially where bicycles link to...
    With its high cycling mode share, the Netherlands is often seen as a best practice for cycling policies. However, there is little insight into the drivers behind this phenomenon, specifically which policy interventions increased cycling rates and which did not. The knowledge gap on the...
    Despite the Netherlands’ position as a premier cycling country (mainly due to its high cycling mode share), there is scarce insight into the variations of bicycle use between different spatial and social contexts as well as changes and trends over time. This gap severely limits the understanding...
  • Contact

    If you have ideas, questions or remarks do not hesitate to contact us. Please fill in the form below

  • Recent Presentations


    Cycling as everyday mobility

    Lessons for China  [Luca Bertolini]

  • Trein-fiets systeem

    RUIMTEVOLK: Expeditie Mobiliteit [Roland Kager: Dutch]

  • Four myths about Dutch Cycling

    Keynote at Cycling Scotland conference [Marco te Brömmelstroet]

  • Smart mobility of gewoon op de fiets?

    KNAG lezing 2015 [Marco te Brömmelstroet: Dutch]

All Posts