For the past week, we have enjoyed taking, trains, ferries, trams, metros, and bikes across the Netherlands! The transit system is very robust in the Netherlands and I feel like the world is my oyster because I can take transit to wherever I would like to go!
Transit in the Netherlands is reliable and responsive. An expansive regional transit system connects different cities in the Netherlands. In each large city, a local transit system frequently connects internal communities. The Dutch hold all transit to a very high bar; In Amsterdam, a “frequent” train/tram/or bus arrives every 4 -6 minutes but in the US, a “frequent” bus arrives in less than 15 minutes. The Dutch use social and actual safety of staff and passengers, punctuality, seat availability and passenger-service, and travel information as performance indicators for their transit system (https://www.emta.com/IMG/pdf/brochure.pdf). Performance measures are tracked and used in conjunction with complex modelings system, historical data, and performance goals. Transit can be reliable and responsive with technology, tracking performance measures, and investment. If a transit system has a lot of monetary investment, service will be frequent and clean which are appealing to passengers. During our tour of transit in Amsterdam, I found it refreshing to talk with professionals in Amsterdam about transit goals because they discussed that they were also unsure about how their performance metrics would change with their new goals.
Bikes and Transit
Biking and walking are important sustainable modes of transportation related to public transportation; They are often lumped into public transportation in addition to buses, metros, and trams in the Netherlands because they are so highly associated. A car-free lifestyle is possible in the Netherlands with a combination of biking, walking, and transit. Passengers can bike/walk to stations, take the train into the city, and then bike/walk the last mile.
Parking a bike in a transit station is easy in the Netherlands. Bike parking at transit stations is a priority for Dutch mobility designers and planners. They are very proud of the planning and infrastructure that goes into bike parking lots. In Utrecht, bike parking at transit stations in the Netherlands will be able to hold over 12,000 bikes in spaces! A number of design components like circulation, storage space, and capacity, all play an important part in the functionality of bicycle parking spaces.
Boarding a train with a bike in the Netherlands is not as easy as parking a bike. Boarding a train with a bike requires an extra ticket, special bike train car, and a bit of maneuvering. Bikes are not allowed to board a train during rush hour because they take up a large space that could be dedicated to passengers. During off-hours, a bike can be brought aboard a train but the attendant may require the passenger to take the following train. A low floor train with foldable chairs, that can be moved out of the way, would facilitate easy boarding for passengers and passengers with a bike. Foldable bikes can be brought on board at any time because they take up limited space.
Easy bike parking in Delft Train Station