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The 'bicycle-train' system

Conceptualizing the fastest growing new transport mode of the Netherlands

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 high-speed- and high capacity services (proxied as ‘trains’).

We therefore propose to consider ‘bicycle-train’ as a distinct transport mode. The bicycle is shown a versatile means of softening the rigid nature of public transport systems and thus accommodate divergent individual and/or circumstantial travel needs. Vice versa, public transport need be understood as a means to dramatically extend the spatial reach of cycling. Together they form, in fact, a distinct transport mode. We combine a systems perspective with conceptual analysis to explore how, why and when this reconsideration is important. Fundamental to this mode is its synergy of rather opposite – yet highly complementary characteristics, for example the combination of high travel speed with high spatial permeability. We use the Netherlands as illustrative case because of the relative maturity of its bicycle-train system. These illustrations show that the synergy between high effective speed and high degree of choice are fundamental characteristics to understand the functioning of this system in a wider urban context. In our conclusion we propose a research agenda, to explore the relevance for land use and mobility planning and distil wider implications for the international debate.

 

Kager, R., Bertolini, L., & Te Brömmelstroet, M. (2016). Characterisation of and reflections on the synergy of bicycles and public transport.Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice85, 208-219.

We therefore propose to consider ‘bicycle-train’ as a distinct transport mode. The bicycle is shown a versatile means of softening the rigid nature of public transport systems and thus accommodate divergent individual and/or circumstantial travel needs. Vice versa, public transport need be understood as a means to dramatically extend the spatial reach of cycling. Together they form, in fact, a distinct transport mode. We combine a systems perspective with conceptual analysis to explore how, why and when this reconsideration is important. Fundamental to this mode is its synergy of rather opposite – yet highly complementary characteristics, for example the combination of high travel speed with high spatial permeability. We use the Netherlands as illustrative case because of the relative maturity of its bicycle-train system. These illustrations show that the synergy between high effective speed and high degree of choice are fundamental characteristics to understand the functioning of this system in a wider urban context. In our conclusion we propose a research agenda, to explore the relevance for land use and mobility planning and distil wider implications for the international debate.

Kager, R., Bertolini, L., & Te Brömmelstroet, M. (2016). Characterisation of and reflections on the synergy of bicycles and public transport.Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice85, 208-219.

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