The bicycle‑train travellers in the Netherlands: personal profiles and travel choices

The Netherlands seems to exhibit the unique conditions that allow cycling on the country level instead of only the city level. Moreover, the national transit system seemingly provides one crucial condition: citizens use the train and cycling systems in an integrated manner, with combined bicycle-train transport recently demonstrating strong growth. Relatively little is known about bicycle-train users, i.e. the people who combine the bicycle and the train in a single trip. In this paper, we investigate their profiles and travel choices, in terms of the modes they choose for access and egress travel, their choice of stations, and their choice of type of bicycles. Studying this specific group can add to our understanding of the role of the train system in the success of cycling in the Netherlands, in turn helping improve policy transfer to metropolitan areas in other countries. In 2017, in cooperation with the Dutch National Railways, researchers surveyed a sample of train travellers, ultimately resulting in more than 3000 completed questionnaires. Descriptive analyses revealed that, compared to train travellers who do not or rarely cycle to/from train stations, bicycle-train users are on average more likely to be young people who are engaged in fulltime employment or entrepreneurs, commute to work and hold university degrees. As for their cycling behaviour, bicycle-train travellers use bicycles much more often on the homeend of train trips than on the activity-end. Furthermore, bicycle-train travellers infrequently use suburbanstations on the home-end, preferring large stations in the centres of major cities instead. For those who use bicycles, shared bicycles claim a considerable share on the activity-end of a train trip.