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Travel behavior

The bicycle. The most promising mobility solution?

Published on October 23, 2022

The E-bike trial campaign is one of the visible actions of Brainport Bereikbaar to stimulate cycling in the region. Much more happens behind the scenes. Bicycle project leader Joost Beenker explains why.

Cycling on 1. 'Of course that is necessary, says Joost Beenker, Bicycle project leader at Brainport Bereikbaar. In fact, he doesn't even have a car himself. 'I alternate between public transport and regular cycling. I am thinking about purchasing a speed pedelec. That significantly increases the range. Did you know that the turning point for travel distances by bicycle for most people is about 45 minutes? Up there they often make different choices.'

It has to be different

But even with a travel time of 45 minutes, many people do not often choose to cycle. 'Everyone has their own motive and motivation when choosing mobility. The car seems faster and often easier. But it really has to be different. The capacity of our road network is almost fully utilized while the need for mobility is still increasing. Climate change and quality of life also require different choices. The trick is to make the sustainable alternative more attractive. In several ways. With appropriate infrastructure, good facilities, smart data and behavior.'

Plenty of opportunities

Governments are also increasingly recognizing that the bicycle is a very promising mobility solution. 'To everyone's surprise, an initiative proposal 'Cycling on 1' was adopted in the municipality of Eindhoven. And this is also the time for other municipalities to focus on cycling incentives.' Plenty of opportunities, because the bicycle has developed very quickly. 'The e-bike, the speed bikes, but also new types of electric transport bicycles and other light electric vehicles make the two-wheeler a very interesting alternative.'

Awareness and activation

That is why Brainport Bereikbaar is strongly committed to encouraging cycling, in all its broadest forms. 'It's all about awareness and activation: making people aware of the benefits of cycling and encouraging people to try it. In the hope that they will then regularly opt for the bicycle. Cycling to work one or two days a week, for example. To achieve this, we work together with all kinds of partners, it really is a team effort. Employers are an important party in this.'

People really want to cycle

Many people who work in the Brainport region also live there. 'Especially in the car-free center, owning a car will soon become a lot less attractive. People there experience reduced accessibility, traffic jams and longer travel times by car every day. But for people who live in rural areas, different influencing techniques are needed. Cost savings, for example, and health and vitality. We must make it clear that the bicycle can compete well with the car. Also for travel distances of 15 to 20 kilometers. There is still so much to gain. Employers must also do something about this. Not only from the point of view of accessibility, but especially from the point of view of vitality and sustainability. With trial campaigns we try to give employers the important insight: look, employees really want to cycle. It's possible.'

E-bike trial campaign

That is why the e-bike trial campaign started on September 15. 'Together with 21 municipalities, we are giving people the opportunity to get acquainted with the e-bike free of charge. On the one hand, through employers: this way people can easily try an e-bike from work. On the other hand, residents can also try an e-bike for a week for free through participating bicycle shops in Brainport. For this e-bike campaign, we are working together with Ons Brabant Fietst, in which all municipalities have joined forces for Brabant-wide cycling promotion. We also use their knowledge, capacity and network at Brainport Bereikbaar for the campaign surrounding the trial campaign.'

And more

The e-bike campaign is not the first project for bicycle stimulation. Previously, there were also pit stops for cyclists at the municipality of Gemert-Bakel and on the TU/e campus during the Cycle to your work day and a cycling incentive campaign for the A2/N2 undertunnel. 'The next one is a cycling incentive app. This allows employers to organize certain challenges for employees and reward them. This is of course also possible for a broader audience. For example, in the form of feedback such as how many calories you have cycled away or with certain discounts. That can just convince people. Ultimately, we want to ensure that people retain the intrinsic motivation to continue cycling. Experience shows that a large number of people ultimately find the benefits so great that they persist. And that is exactly our goal!'

Joost Beenker previously worked at the Goudappel consultancy firm on traffic and transport issues. He was active at Maastricht Bereikbaar (later Zuid-Limburg Bereikbaar), among others. He was involved in cycling promotion there for about five years. He has now been working at the municipality of Eindhoven on major accessibility issues for three years. From there he works two days a week at Brainport Bereikbaar as a bicycle incentive project leader.

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