Despite what I initially thought, the Dutch don’t bike everywhere all the time. One of our tour guides described the transportation culture in the Netherlands as everyone has three equally as viable options to get from place to place. You can drive, bike, or take public transit. Sometimes you might even need to use a combination of those options for the best route. Multimodal routes require transit and bicycle infrastructure to be integrated well in Dutch cities. The Dutch integrate transit with bicycles by providing lots of bike parking at rail and bus stations. Some bicycle parking garages we’ve toured have been as large as parking decks in Atlanta and hold thousands of bikes. There are also bike racks and storage facilities all throughout the cities.
It was very easy to park my bicycle and hop on a train to where I needed to go. We did this a few times throughout the week. It was a much easier process than searching for a parking space in the United States too. Most of the facilities are free for short term parking. Some transit systems allow you to take bikes on board, which was more challenging than parking at the stations. Most city residents don’t bother taking their bikes on board with them, because they can use their transit cards to borrow bikes at their destination.
The Dutch measure their transit performance on a scale from 1 to 10 similar to how the United States uses letter grades. However, a lot of transit systems in the United States aren’t making the grade. The Dutch make their transit systems reliable and responsive by designing systems that are adaptable to variable situations. Engineers in the Transit Authority work to limit the interactions trains have with other trains or limit the intersections multiple modes of transportation have with one another. Limiting these interactions results in less time lost along the route. Some situations call for engineers to add cars to trains or add more trains to the track. The Dutch ensure reliable services by carefully monitoring their transit systems and making minor adjustments as needed.