Bicycle infrastructure: can good design encourage cycling?

Urban, Planning and Transport Research
Publication date: 
October 2014

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This research posits the question that good design of the bicycle infrastructure in a city will encourage more people to cycle. Research is carried out to compare the cycle infrastructure in selected European cities against an adapted Level of Service concept using accompanied ride-alongs. The literature review on the factors that encourage/dissuade cycle use suggests that it is the potential rider’s perceptions on the safety of cycling in their neighbourhood that is the deciding feature. Moreover, the literature review showed that contextual factors such as whether the actual infra- structure meets the needs of different cyclists are relatively under-researched. Six case study cities were selected (Edinburgh, Cambridge, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht) and compared on a range of factors by the riders including the coherence, directness, attractiveness, safety and comfort of the network. A cycle infrastructure scoring system was derived from the cycling research literature and the research was carried out by the researcher, an experienced cyclist, accompanied by an inexperienced cyclist. Using this research, the article makes several recommenda- tions for improving and enhancing existing cycle infrastructure provision.