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Where would we be without the bicycle and train?

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Geo-spatial type
Infrastructure Node
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
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Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Active mobility



With this research study KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis aims to provide greater insights into the combined use of bicycle and train and, more specifically, to garner insights into how bicycles are parked at train stations. The bicycle parking facilities at many large train stations are full (overfull), despite the fact that bicycle parking capacity has been expanded in recent years. There is a limit to expansion however, and consequently the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management requires more knowledge and fundamental understanding of (the growth of) bicycle-train use and what possible implications this could have in the coming years. Our study focuses on the choices that bicycle-train passengers make, both descriptive and analytical, from which information is obtained about the behaviour of bicycle-train passengers. Such information can help both to facilitate further growth and regulate bicycle parking pressure at train stations.

The publication is in Dutch but the report contains an English summary. See p.77 and further.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


  • Compared with train passengers who use another transport mode than bicycle to travel to and from train stations, bicycle-train passengers are on average more likely to be young people who study or work (more often contractually employed than self-employed) and hold university degrees.


  • A second bicycle (a privately owned bicycle used on the activities-side of the train trip) is parked in a train station bicycle parking facility for approximately four times as long as a bicycle used for the home-side of a train trip. However, the bicycles’ share of the modal split is much lower on the activities-side than on the home-side. The second bicycle is on average responsible for at least 45 percent of the bicycle parking pressure seen over all train stations in the Netherlands. Bicycle parking pressure is measured as the number of parked bicycles times the average parking duration (length-of-stay).


  • In a maximum of 20 percent of the times that bicycles are parked on the home-side, the bicycles are parked unguarded, outside of the train station bicycle parking facilities. This figure is a maximum of 10 percent on the activities-side. These average percentages apply to the entire Netherlands.


  • Approximately 30 percent of second bicycle owners have subscriptions for bicycle parking facilities on the activities-side. The question is whether this group of cyclists is paying enough for the pressure their second bicycles cause at bicycle parking facilities. Indeed, when paying fixed parking subscription prices, there is no incentive to park bicycles for shorter durations.


  • There is possibly substantial latent demand for cycling on the activities-side of train trips.  The potential to increase bicycle use particularly exists on this side of the train trip. Consequently, a focal point is how to increase bicycle use on the activities-side without this substantially increasing the number of second bicycles (long-term parked) at train stations. Shared bicycle systems seem to be the most compelling solution.


  • People prefer to cycle longer distances to stations offering a good train and bicycle parking product than walking or cycling shorter distances to train stations offering a limited train and bicycle parking product. The benefit for travellers is that they thus avoid having to make extra train transfers. If cyclists are to be enticed into choosing train stations other than the ones with full (overfull) bicycle parking facilities, they must be given a choice between two or more stations that are equal in terms of the quality of the train and bicycle parking product offered, and situated at an acceptable cycling distance (up to 5 kilometres).


  • A relation seemingly exists between a city’s population growth rate and the occupancy rates of train station bicycle parking facilities. Consequently, bicycle parking problems persist in many cities, despite the substantial expansion of bicycle parking capacity in recent years.


  • Train users largely accept a straight-line cycling distance of 1 to 3 kilometres between their homes and train stations. The average straight-line distance between a home location and chosen train station is 2.4 kilometres, which corresponds to an actual average cycling distance of approximately 3.4 kilometres.


  • Electric bicycles (e-bikes) could tap into a new group of bicycle-train passengers; this group consists of train passengers who reside relatively far away (a straight-line distance of more than 3.5 kilometres) from a train station. These are train passengers who currently travel to and from stations using other modalities and/or are new (train) passengers who currently use another modality for their entire trip.


  • A negative correlation exists between the use of the combination of (OV public transport) bicycle and train on the one hand and car use on the other. This indicates that ‘climate gains’ can possibly be achieved, because for some people combined bicycle-train use can be a substitute for car use.

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