The annual Polis convention was hosted by the neighboring cities of Arnhem and Nijmegen within the japanese Netherlands in early December 2020. The convention was held just about as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, however however, was an opportunity for the European, and wider world, to alternate finest practices in sustainable mobility, observe the newest traits, and for the host cities to welcome company from throughout the continent. Arnhem and Nijmegen used the digital convention format to successfully stage each day studio interviews from the native area and display their native credentials in mobility innovation.
Arnhem and Nijmegen are cities of roughly 170,000 residents within the east of the nation, a couple of miles from the border with Germany. They kind a area with a inhabitants of 725,000.
As an trade commentator, who had already visited different elements of the Netherlands, the convention was anticipated to be an opportunity to delve far more deeply into the Dutch social and mobility practices which have made the nation a world chief within the adoption of biking as a way of delivering a sustainable mobility system.
Whereas this convention wasn’t a chance to personally expertise a few of these mobility behaviors, a lot can nonetheless be defined in regards to the method to biking within the Netherlands.
As in many of the Netherlands, the micromobility revolution is being led by private biking, which has continued to develop quickly. Over 1 / 4 of modal journeys are by bicycle within the nation. The figures are considerably greater in most of the bigger cities. The modal share for biking is often a lot greater than for “traditional” public transport — buses, trains, trams, and so forth. Nevertheless, good high quality and complete public transport is however thought-about a key aspect within the sustainable transport combine and a part of the suite of measures to cut back non-public automotive visitors and assist selection of different modes. Thus, funding has been and continues to be substantial in public transport in addition to biking infrastructure. Biking can be a key mode of entry to public transport (rail) stations.
Moreover, the character of interurban journey amongst the quite a few small cities close to one another within the nation, as evidenced within the Arnhem/ Nijmegen area, makes good public transport important. The regional metropolis construction additionally encourages the necessity for intercity regional biking infrastructure.
Biking in The Netherlands
The event of biking tradition within the nation has not been a pre-ordained consequence, however is on account of a multi-decade give attention to difficult assumptions on principally car-based city planning, in addition to on creating thorough and complete infrastructure for biking in cities and cities throughout the nation.
The function of top quality and ubiquitous biking infrastructure shouldn’t be underestimated as this has additionally created the area for a wide array of individuals to see biking as a secure mode of transport. If something, the density of cyclists could also be at instances intimidating to the uninitiated.
Biking infrastructure is normally devoted and separate from the infrastructure for vehicles in addition to pedestrians. Revolutionary shared areas have additionally been deployed that place strolling and biking as precedence roadway customers versus vehicles and freight motion. In these areas velocity is decreased to favor the sustainable modes.
These planning actions are making a supportive suggestions loop of extra cyclists, extra folks feeling that it’s a common, secure, and environment friendly technique of journey, extra assist for public funding in infrastructure, and thus extra encouragement to contemplate and proceed to take up biking throughout a large demographic of the inhabitants. All of this helps livable city areas and an accessible, clear, and inexperienced transport system.
Even in a comparatively flat nation with city areas in shut proximity, the rise of e-bikes is additional broadening the recognition of biking by offering assist for longer distance journeys and journey by those that can be dissuaded by the common bodily calls for of biking.
Biking and MaaS Options
The Netherlands has a sturdy nationwide give attention to data-led Mobility-as-a-Service options, which combine mobility throughout transport choices. By way of biking, this may imply shared biking and different shared micromobility options may be inspired to work with the opposite types of traditional public transport and shared vehicles, the place related. MaaS can even assist integration throughout the regional transport programs within the nation.
Nevertheless, a number of challenges stay in delivering this agenda within the Netherlands:
Coping with on-street and parking capability for bicycles. That is turning into a critical problem in Dutch cities. Specifically, parked bicycles are congesting pedestrian pavement area in addition to damaging the general public realm on the main rail stations which act as intermodal mobility hubs. One of many options is the event of very large-scale bicycle parking garages — typically underground — at main stations equivalent to in Rotterdam and Utrecht.Managing the pedestrian, bicycle, and bus/ tram flows, in addition to automotive visitors, across the main rail stations in a method that helps security and creates a nice public realm. Through the Polis convention the deliberate redesign of the station forecourt at Nijmegen station, which can ship elevated spatial separation for the modes, was outlined.Contemplating the function of shared micromobility in cities the place private biking is so widespread. The shared micromobility person circumstances may be anticipated to be altered from different European cities the place traditional public transport stays the first focus for sustainable mobility.Persevering with to construct the core function of public transport in supporting mobility — domestically in cities and between cities. This features a give attention to not solely contemplating however delivering MaaS kind options to make intermodal journey simpler.The motion of freight is a serious difficulty within the Netherlands — through water, rail, and highway to/ from the North Sea ports in addition to Schiphol (Amsterdam) airport onward into the remainder of continental Europe. These giant freight actions have necessitated an in depth and extremely used motorway community throughout the nation, an in depth canal system, and really busy railway corridors. Public coverage is encouraging the usage of the canals and railways to move freight, however pending elevated electrification of those modes, air high quality is being degraded by transport visitors, notably in cities. This is a matter for Nijmegen/Arnhem which sit on branches of the closely trafficked Rhine (Waal) River.
The 2020 Polis convention was an opportunity to debate the way forward for sustainable mobility in cities throughout Europe and world wide together with private biking, shared micromobility, and strong native and interregional public transport.
A key lesson from the Dutch expertise in popularizing biking as a mode of sustainable transport for an ever growing proportion of the inhabitants is high quality, complete, secure, and widespread biking infrastructure that makes this mode a practical journey possibility and might assist the broader progress of private and shared micromobility.
The annual Polis convention will return in late 2021 with Gothenburg, Sweden as host. It’s hoped that this convention will return to an in-person expertise and attendees will have the ability to expertise the assorted mobility improvements underway in Sweden’s second largest metropolis.