Alternatives to ever expanding bike parking lots at train stations
Creating more parking facilities is not necessarily the only solution to overloaded bicycle parking facilities at train stations. Shifting the excess demand to another station could be an option.
This could be the case in Delft which has two stations within two kilometres of the University campus. The city centre has a station for the intercity and slow trains while in Southern Delft there is a station for slow trains only. Kees Maat and Erik Louw of Delft Technical University asked 1000 cyclists what motivated them to choose one station over the other. Several factors prevailed in the responses. First, the distance to cycle from the station to the particular location on campus (the Delft campus is about two miles long). Second, the train services available at the station (the Delft Central Station can be reached directly from many other intercity stations and Southern Delft only form a handful of trainstops). Third, the supervised cycle parking lot at Delft Central makes that station three times more attractive than the station in Southern Delft. Finally, a fourth factor has to do with the fact that some commuters to campus wish to choose at teh last minute whether to complete their journey to campus by bike or take a bus or tram. It appeared that people who travel via Delft Central use a bus or tram twice as often as those who travel via Southern Delft. This indicates that some travellers prefer the station where more local transit is available, for instance for rainy days. Personal characteristics such as gender or income turned out to have no influence on the choice of station, nor did status (being a student or being an employee). Based on these findings, it would seem possible to shift some of the bicycle parking burden from Delft Central station to Southern Delft – according to the researchers. Not much can be done about the cycling distance to the station, but cycling to and from the station in Southern Delft could become faster and more comfortable if dedicated bicycle routes with little traffic light hindrance were to become available. Train services could be improved as well, for instance by introducing very frequent trains between Rotterdam and The Hague calling at Southern Delft.