Take the Netherlands for instance. We are a cycling country and sales of electric bicycles have rocketed in the last eight years. Great! But our cycling infrastructure has not been designed for this and the municipalities did not prepare for this change. Scooters, light-mopeds and e-bikes can all make use of cycle paths. Meaning they are a lot busier!
We can adapt to new innovations in transport a little faster in the future if we start thinking in terms of ‘vehicle families’. Each group, or ‘family’, consists of vehicles of a certain weight or width. By classifying road users in this way, differences in vehicle speed can be reduced which greatly enhances safety. In addition, new vehicles which appear on the market can easily be adopted by one of the existing families. Perhaps soon in the Netherlands, walking short journeys will almost be as attractive as cycling, resulting in less crowded cycle paths in our inner cities.
The layout of streets and routes not only looks at the function and accessibility for traffic, it also considers the desired spatial qualities. Introduction of these speed domains allows traffic to adapt to life in the city, not the other way around! Municipalities can use these ’families’ to respond to new innovations and make cities better places to be in, and move through.
Johan Diepens, Founder & Director
For the full report (in Dutch) go to: www.anwb.nl/belangenbehartiging/verkeer/verkeer-in-de-stad.