It’s hard to believe that we’ve already been home for almost a week. The trip flew by given how much we saw in just one week. There were times on the trip when I just couldn’t believe I got to be a part of this awesome opportunity. If you are interested in transportation, I would highly recommend traveling to the Netherlands. Truly, no one designs infrastructure like the Dutch.
Intentionality has been a growing priority for me. Not just in transportation design, but in everything I do. It’s really important to do things with purpose and a whole lot of heart. Dutch infrastructure is definitely designed with intent- the intent to serve communities and the intent to sustain existing resources. I appreciated how all the little details completed the bigger, highly connective picture.
The United States focuses on designing segments of roads and often neglects to continue the cycling infrastructure through intersections. While we have lots of bike lanes, we don’t have the connective corridors the Netherlands has. In the United States, we treat bicycles as vehicles in design. Cyclists have a lane or share a lane and follow the traffic signals. But bicycles aren’t motor vehicles and therefore shouldn’t be treated as cars. If we want people to cycle, we need to design for cycling. This philosophy seems so simple and yet the United States still falls short in cycling infrastructure.
Transportation in Dutch culture is about taking the shortest route. Sometimes that route is by car or by train, but a lot of times that route is by bicycle. It definitely helps that the terrain is very flat in the Netherlands. Policy and infrastructure design encourage cycling. People know it’s safe to cycle and know they can get where they need to go. Design and culture go hand in hand in the Netherlands.
Thank you CEE for this adventure! The memories and these sweet friends will stick with me throughout my career.