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Upscaling of cycle highways for sustainable, congestion-free mobility in the Netherlands

Authors: Arnoud Lagendijk*, Radboud University Nijmegen, Huub Ploegmakers, Radboud University Nijmegen
Topics: Transportation Geography, Planning Geography
Keywords: cycling, policy diffusion, cycle highways
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the last decade, the Netherlands has witnessed a proliferation of ‘cycle highways’ (also called ‘fast cycleroutes’), providing safe, healthy, comfortable, and relatively fast routes connecting cities and their environments. Currently approximately 60 routes are (almost) completed with many more under construction or under consideration. This paper explores the factors driving successful construction of cycle highways. To this end we present the results of a detailed survey of cycle highways. The sample covers routes which are currently considered or under construction and routes which have already been built. This allows us to probe local conditions as well as the influence of different governance approaches, looking at the government levels involved and the integration with other policy sectors, but also the way in which inclusion of stakeholders, including local residents, is ensured. We use this information to develop an implementation typology. We also focus on the way cycle highways are framed and how monitoring and cycling tools for planning have supported and guided route construction. We argue that the first wave of cycle highways was successful because they started from a marriage of convenience between two rather different drivers, namely, the initiatives of local cycle advocates (policy makers and NGOs) and the central government’s wish to reduce motorway congestion by shifting short-distance car trips to other sustainable modes of transport. The findings also reveal the significance of local advocates, political signature and built environment conditions.

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