One of the most impressive aspects of the Netherlands’ transportation system is their dedication to the integration of the different transportation modes. The presentations for Delft, The Hague, Houten, Utrecht and Amsterdam all mentioned the methods used for integrating transit and bikes through infrastructure and the ticketing systems. The most common method of integrating transit and bikes that we saw is the large bike parking facilities at almost every train station we visited. The train stations in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Delft especially had very large bike parking facilities – holding thousands of bikes. We used the facility in Delft, and it was very easy to use and free for the day. This infrastructure facilitates last mile connections and trips that require bikes to get to the train stations. Bike parking takes up much less space compared to car parking, so this is a design element that could be implemented in Atlanta to better integrate the two modes. This also gives people options so that they do not always have to bring their bikes on board the trains, which may cause overcrowding. However, it is possible to purchase a bike ticket which allows you to bring your bike on the train anytime except between 4:30 and 6:30 pm. While bikes are not allowed on the trams or buses, the transit systems are designed in a way that allows for flexibility between modes. The transit system in Amsterdam has a very high coverage of the city, so walking can often be used in junction with taking the tram or bus. Furthermore, the tram network was designed to feed to the metro. Additionally, bikes are allowed on the ferries in Amsterdam as a vehicle tunnel currently only exists between Noord and the Old Town. The ferries also feed to Central Station. Overall, the Dutch prioritize the integration of the different modes just as much as the individual networks.
The Dutch measure transit performance by speed and reliability. As mentioned in the presentation in Amsterdam, the Dutch analyze the speed and reliability of their transit system every six months. The OV chipcards have helped with gathering more data on travel patterns and behavior. They use this data for their analysis, and to create prediction models to help them in creating new lines. To improve speed and reliability, they focus on intersections and space. There are several methods to create more efficient intersections, including transit signal priority or removing signals altogether depending on the intersection. Regarding speed, transit is faster and more reliable if it is given proper space. This is the reason that trams travel at a faster speed in The Hague, as the streets are less congested compared to Amsterdam and there is more space for the transit systems. This also relates to limiting the number of obstructions to the trams. The Dutch also improve speed and reliability with policies not related to infrastructure. For example, they changed the way they pay their transit operators in 2012 to paying by vehicle-kilometers instead of by vehicle-hours. This incentivizes the transit operators to be more efficient with shorter journey times. This holistic approach to improving the speed and reliability of their transit systems has been very successful as the mode share of transit in Amsterdam is 44%, 35%, and 21% for the subway, tram, and bus respectively.