TRANSIT & BIKING!
Planning & Culture. Nearly all of the extremely good transit-to-bike (and vice versa) integration as well as the exceptional alternatives to car transportation can be attributed to Dutch planning and culture—where the first is even resultant of the latter. The culture of the Dutch tends to push towards a collective good, sustainability, and a high quality of life—regardless of the spacial limitations of such a small country. Therefore, it is only right for their planning dogma to reflect this culture with the proactive, preventative measures that protect the most vulnerable user in the system while also creating a system that values the time of most vulnerable user as well. With these things taken into account, the transit system and its integration into the transportation system not only creates seamlessness but also encourages its success.
Bikes & Transit
In the Netherlands, their transit system is comprised of trams, buses, and the heavy-rail system. With each mode, the Dutch have understood that the need to integrate the bike infrastructure was crucial for the success of the transit system as well as the solving of the last mile problem. Thus, in each mode, there is a way to connect the bike and the mode most of the time.
Figure 1. Bike to Transit Parking in Zoetermeer
For the buses, there are usually a few bike parking stations connected to the bus stop in order for users—especially frequent users who would come back to that stop to get home—can be more willing to use the buses as well as increase the level of service for more individuals. This is also carried over into the light-rail/tram options where there are also bike stops connected to those stops. However, for a few of the tram/metro transit options--particularly in Amsterdam--there are a few that allowed for bikes to be taken onboard but not during the peak, rush hours. The infrastructure with the heavy-rail—which has more users and higher level of service—is much more robust and attracts more bike users. These stations give a lot of support for bikes to park with the implementation of bicycle garages and parking lots that hold thousands of bikes at one time. Nevertheless, the ability to take your bike on the train is much more hindered by the fact that one must buy a ticket for one’s bike (which is even more expensive than the train ride itself), one must carry one’s bike while on the train, and one must stand with the mass crowd of people in a compact space. Therefore, although it is possible to have your bike on the train, it is very inconvenient for the user, which decreases the likelihood of multiple people doing this.
Figure 2. Bike Parking Facilities in Utrecht
Performance & Reliability.
Yet--with all these things taken into consideration--it is necessary for the Dutch to be able to measure the performance of each system. Throughout the time here, the group had many discussions with native professors and professionals and discovered the multitude of ways that metrics are taken. Some of the things that they take into consideration are the wait times of the passengers, the punctuality of the trains, the amount of ridership, and the projected populations of specific areas. In each presentation, the punctuality and the amount of ridership seemed to be the leading metrics used in order to convey the responsiveness and success of the system.
Figure 3. Tram in Amsterdam
Finally, the Dutch have used these metrics to truly make their transit system reliable. One of the things that they have done in Amsterdam specifically is to create an underground metro line that alleviates the stress on above-ground trams. This has resulted in the decreased need in extremely frequent tram service. Another thing that is done throughout the Netherlands is that the trams have the right of way to all traffic situations which increases the level of service and decreases the need to stop. Additionally, the location of the card tap check-in is located away from the metro and heavy-rail trains to decrease the wait times onto trains.