Improving social safety to reduce road congestion

15295810076_39378884d4_z.jpgThe Municipality of Zoetermeer has a network of routes commonly cycled at night within its existing bicycle network. The goal is to encourage the use of bicycles when it is dark. Social safety is an important aspect related to the decision of whether or not to use the bicycle at night. During the winter when days are short, cyclist must travel more often in the dark. Year-round bicycle use is encouraged when the night cycling network is socially safe. Currently, the Municipality is working to reduce congestion through the Better Utilisation (Beter Benutten) project, which aims at reducing congestion and optimising the current transportation infrastructure. Within this context, Mobycon has been hired to conduct a study of Zoetermeer’s current safety situation.


Current situation

In Zoetermeer many residents work within the city limits, which means more trips by bike are possible. Yet, the night cycling network does not currently connect with industrial areas. Mobycon recently completed the fieldwork for this project studying the current night network, plus potential extensions where better bike facilities might encourage more bike commuting.


Study area

In total, the whole night network – consisting of 39 kilometres and 286 links of approximately 150 meters – was tested according to each of the five criteria related to social safety. These criteria are included in the policy of the Municipality of Zoetermeer. Additionally, 31 links in the night network that are subjectively socially insecure were tested according to 10 remaining aspects of the national safety guidelines. All 34 tunnels in the night cycling network were tested against 15 criteria for safety, plus the seven specific safety criteria related to tunnels. The main results include the following.


Night cycling network

The night cycling network meets the vast majority of the five most important criteria for social safety. 


Links subjectively deemed socially unsafe

Lighting was often non-compliant among these 31 links, specifically average horizontal illumination and uniformity of horizontal illumination were lacking.



The 34 tunnels in the night cycling network were most often non-compliant with the following guidelines: 

• maps not available in the tunnel,

• shop or newsstands in the tunnel or directly after the tunnel and 

• different colours (paint or lighting) present in the tunnel.


Next steps

Mobycon is now working on an implementation plan to improve the problems identified within the night cycling network. To learn more about this project or Mobycon’s work at the intersection of social safety and cycling, contact Mobycon Engineer Alex Roedoe.


Alex and representatives from the Municipality of Zoetermeer will make a presentation about this project during the Winter Cycling Congress 2015 to be held 10 to 12 February in Leeuwarden. To read more details about the congress, visit the blog or register here.


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