Better Flow of Cyclists May Save Hundreds of Millions of Euros

We see the bicycle as the mode of transport that fits perfectly within a physically and economically healthy city. The actual social costs and benefits of cycling are not always included in investment choices. Together with Movares, we calculated that a good flow of cyclists can save millions of Euros!

Robust cycling structures

We want to develop solutions that make a strong contribution to a healthy, safe and liveable environment. The bicycle plays an important role in this. We seek the solution in designing robust cycling structures. This will improve traffic flow, shorten waiting times and reduce the number of lost hours of cycling. There are enough reasons to delve deeper into this to gain more insight into the economic effects of reducing lost-time while cycling.

Fewer lost hours by bicycle

By now some valuation indices are known. For instance, the travel time valuation of cyclists is estimated at approximately €9.00 per hour. If we apply a theoretical calculation, the bicycle waiting times for a municipality could amount to millions annually. This is worth investigating, as such figures could undoubtedly free up budget to solve current bottlenecks. To date, the focus in the Netherlands has mainly been on reducing so-called VVUs (voertuigverliesuren or "lost vehicle hours") in car traffic. Why not pay more attention to FVUs (fietsverliesuren or "lost cycling hours")?

Economic value

There are now innovations on the market that measure bicycle intensities and can link data directly to smart traffic lights. Together with Movares we have done an initial exploration of economic value, focusing for convenience on waiting times at intersections. This yielded the following calculations:

  • A town like Deventer has 100,000 inhabitants. If we assume that an average cyclist encounters four or five iVRIs (intelligent traffic control installations) each day, this amounts to an annual economic loss of travel time of approximately 10 million Euro.
  • This can also be done for an individual route, for instance from Utrecht Central Station to Utrecht University (approximately five kilometers). Here some 20,000 cyclists pass five iVRIs daily. Improved traffic flow could yield five million Euros here.

Investment choices

In this first study we have not even considered the effects on health, the environment, reducing congestion in public transport, on the motorway and on the use of public space. In more and more municipal mobility strategies the bicycle is at the top, followed by public transport, then the shared car and only then the car. It would be interesting to take a closer look at the bicycle to see whether we can reduce the economic damage, improve travel comfort and make more effective use of our time and money. With quantified insight, i.e. insight into measured bicycle speeds and intensities, we can make policy and quantitatively support investment choices.

About Cycle Data

Cycle Data's i-Signum is a non-contact bicycle measuring system that generates real data with an accuracy of more than 95%, even during peak hours The i-Signum is linked to Monotch's TLEX/UDAP data platform that realizes communication between traffic lights and road users. In this way, the bicycle traffic light can be controlled in order to promote and effectively ensure the flow of vehicles on the bicycle path. The throughput improves, waiting times are reduced and the number of bicycle loss hours decreases.

About Movares

Movares sees the bicycle as the solution to the scarce space in inner cities, our health and sustainable accessibility. Therefore Movares wants to contribute to the further development of solutions that contribute to this. It is therefore important to include the actual social costs and benefits 

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mardi 31 janvier 2023
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