Bicycle powerful tool against short polluting car trips
The bicycle is a powerful tool against short polluting car trips in towns, as demonstrated by a study within the framework of SOLVE (fast solutions for air and traffic) of CROW research institute.
The result is a list of the ten most likely measures that proved successful in actual practice as well. No fewer than five of the ten likely measures are based on promoting bicycle use.
Annually some 4 million kilometres are spent by car for trips within 7,5 kilometres in the Netherlands. These are particularly damaging for the environment, especially in crowded cities. These short trips generate extra emissions of pollutants since the engines are cold and consistent driving behaviour is often impossible in cities. Local authorities are therefore particularly interested in decreasing the number of short car trips.
There are two ways to decrease the number of short car trips:
1. measures aimed at limiting the number of trips;
2. measures aimed at influencing the choice of transport modality.
Measures aimed at limiting the number of trips (or limiting the distance of trips) are mainly to be found in planning measures, such as the compact city concept, including clustering facilities. The drawback of these measures is that they are hard to implement in existing cities. In redevelopment areas and new suburbs, on the other hand, this concept may drastically reduce the number of car trips. In case of measures aimed at the choice of transport modality a distinction should be made between push and pull measures. In push measures car use is discouraged. Pull measures are more informal and intend to make other transport modalities such as bicycle, public transport and walking more attractive.
As pull measures are in general more non-committal than push measures, the latter are often more effective, since the desired behaviour is encouraged and steered. Pull measures, on the other hand, meet with less resistance and therefore find greater public support than push measures.
It is however quite difficult to provide factual advice which measures are to be taken, as a quantitative understanding into the effectiveness of many measures is lacking and effectiveness depends on the situation and therefore differs for each situation. For that reason a selection has been made of actual measures that should be considered for further elaboration, the so-called shortlist. The selection has been made on the basis of: expected effectiveness, implementation time, costs, public support and possibilities for steering by local authorities. When elaborating the measures, a study may for instance be conducted into the effectiveness and preconditions for the measure to be effective.
The following 10 measures are included in the shortlist:
- priority for cyclists at traffic lights
- make a town impossible to traverse by car (segmentation)
- providing good and safe bicycle routes
- improve accessibility of schools for cyclists in comparison to motorists
- decrease number of parking places
- parking at a fee/higher parking fees
- maintenance of bicycle parking facilities
- free/high-quality bicycle parking
- delivery services
- promote independent cycling by children