The Dutch way of planning integrates multiple systems, from bikes to public transportation to car traffic. Transit and bikes are most often integrated in a way that accounts for the beginning and/or end of destination travel using bikes and the middle, further distances using transit. Although it is often possible to board public transportation with a bike, a special ticket is required, as we found out the hard way and a few students later tested. Because transit would accommodate far fewer people if everyone brought their bikes on board, it is more effective to provide bike parking at the transit stations. This parking was seen throughout our tour of the Netherlands but especially in Utrecht where they are continuously working to build the largest bike parking facility in the world.These facilities are easy to use, easy to access and are often connected to the actual station. In a few stations we toured a major bike route for the city even passed through the station’s bike parking facility, making an easy transition from a bike through the station and also adds an additional safety element to the station with bike traffic flowing through at all hours of the day.
Once in Amsterdam, we were given a very interesting and thorough presentation on the city’s infrastructure planning components. They use performance measures on a scale of 1-10 and previously were around a 7 but have been able to increase their score to an 8 which is above the passing standard of a 6. Part of their measures are similar to those used in Atlanta, basing the score on the operator’s ability to stick within a range of the pre-determined schedule. They also work on a per kilometer basis for payment of their operators. This encourages the operators to aim for reliability as they complete the proper distance rather than simply completing their time period of work. They also have focused on reliability by considering capacity of the car versus headway between cars and which form would be more consistent with the desired schedule. For example, they could increase the number of trams on a track, but then if there’s a hold up then they could eventually overlap in time as they would get trapped by the same issue. Another solution involves decreasing the number of opportunities for other interactions to occur increases the likelihood for the train to be on schedule. For example, if a tram makes more stops every block then that’s more opportunity for the schedule to get off whereas having fewer stops that are more reliable increases the likelihood for the tram to continue on schedule. Overall, it was a great way to look at transit and to recognize that no system is perfect, especially back home, where it’d be great to have a larger system to work with in order to implement more of these solutions discussed.