The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (MRA) has an extensive cycling network made up of cycle paths and signposting (for example routes between cycling junctions). In some cases, though, it’s difficult to find one’s way from the edge of the city to the countryside or to another town further away, or it’s only possible by a roundabout or not very attractive route. And the current routes are not always very user-friendly: narrow, with a lot of obstacles, poor surfacing, an unclear layout, and sometimes perceived as not being safe. The network also has a growing number of users and user groups, and in a number of places it no longer meets demand. With its “Metropolitan Cycle Routes” programme, the MRA aims to solve these problems and create a state-of-the-art regional cycling network. Goudappel Coffeng (in cooperation with ThuisraadRO) has assisted the MRA in drawing up the programme.
The collaborating authorities within the MRA have been working on the programme since the summer of 2016. Together with the MRA working group, Goudappel Coffeng has drawn up an overview of all the current projects and programmes relating to cycle routes that are part of the MRA network. The quality of the network was surveyed for all route sections for which no initiatives are currently underway, and proposals have been made for improvements. The joint programme is the first step towards creating a high-quality regional network. The next stage is actual implementation.
A good cycling infrastructure is a prerequisite for a high-quality regional cycling network. The working group for the Metropolitan Cycle Routes programme has drawn up a set of quality requirements for that infrastructure, specifying the type of layout (bicycle street or bicycle paths), the width of the routes, the type and colour of the surfacing, lighting along the route, and the design of the intersections. In the summer of 2017, the entire network was surveyed to determine how far the routes meet these quality requirements. For some parts, that had already been done in the context of other studies, exploratory investigations, or ongoing projects. For all other parts of the network, the routes were checked against the quality requirements, based on current visual material and site visits.
An extensive appendix was produced proposing a possible solution for each weak link, together with an indication of the costs involved. It also specifies which road operator is responsible for the route in question, and where there are still co-financing options for improving it.
In addition to Goudappel Coffeng’s survey of the infrastructural state of the network, ThuisraadRO carried out a study for the MRA of the influence of design aspects on bicycle use and cyclists’ choice of route. A study of the relevant literature, supplemented by interviews with leading cycle-use experts, resulted in a wide range of findings regarding the spatial aspects. Goudappel Coffeng and ThuisraadRO then used those findings to create a useful tool, Bike Radar. This makes it possible to investigate the features that are desirable for a particular situation, and it also shows where conflicts can be expected between the various objectives aimed at.
On 7 February 2018, the Amsterdam Transport Region, the provinces of Noord-Holland and Flevoland, the municipalities making up the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, and the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management signed a declaration of their intent to develop the high-quality cycling network in full. With the “Metropolitan Cycle Routes” programme, the parties involved within the Metropolitan Area are giving shape to their shared ambition of improving the accessibility of urban areas and the countryside in between.