The Dutch cities are becoming increasingly crowded. The number of residents is increasing, as well as the use of the urban facilities. Younger generations are drawn to the city, but families stay there for longer as well. In time, the suburbs and growth cities of the 70s and 80s will age.
The rural area has become quieter in 2040. The dynamics of shrinkage and aging have been used to improve the quality of the rural area. Rural areas are presented as the ‘counter mould’ of the city. Tranquillity, space and recreation are the values people are proud of and the reason why more and more people visit or permanently move to rural areas. The electric bike is linked to car sharing and public transport systems. All villages are connected to each other through safe infrastructure and nodes. There is also an increasing number of multimodal facilities in the villages as part of a programme that stimulates ‘new proximity’. Schools, public spaces, cafes and sports clubs share their facilities, which means people don’t need to travel as far. If they do travel, the shared car or the combination of cycling and public transport are realistic alternatives, because the connections are excellent. The rural area also has the best Internet facilities (digital structure), meaning home and flexible working has become the standard. Having a second or third car is also less common in rural areas now thanks to all of these developments.
In 2040, the road net in cities is designed based on the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. Public transport is prioritised on a few main connections. Car traffic is limited to a small number of roads, where only clean and automated vehicles for personal transport drive. The last large roads in the cities have been deepened or narrowed, creating lots of additional living space and greenery.
Supply is done with transport bicycles and automated personal vehicles as much as possible, including on water and with drones, while emergency services drive electrically.
In other places, the automated personal vehicle is a guest. All new construction areas that have been developed between now and 2040 are near the facilities of the cities and villages and have been designed with pedestrians and cyclists in mind. This allows residents and visitors to simply park their bicycle in front of the homes. Parking standards in new construction areas have been eased and automated persona vehicles and shared cars have largely replaces private cars. Especially in larger cities, mixing traffic flows is more common than it is now, because there are far fewer cars and they can and may not drive faster the 30 kilometres per hour. The most vulnerable cyclists have their own cycling paths or strips. In smaller municipalities and municipalities that consist of smaller villages, the car share is greater and separate cycling facilities are more important. Any areas that are intended for city expansion are along fast and comfortable cycling connections between the city and rural areas.
Where an excess of parked bicycles dominates the public space, good new bicycle parking facilities remain very necessary, both with homes and with facilities. But shared bikes can also contribute to this. What possibilities would it create if we used are bicycles more collectively? Always an available bike, with every bike being an orphan bike. No flats full of waiting bikes near stations, but clear groups of available sharing bicycles. A suitable bicycle for any time and for all types of cyclists, whether you want to go mountain biking in the forest, are arriving at a remote metro station and have quite a way to go, are moving with a transport bike or just want to get to work. A chance to further develop and test the FietsFamilie. Always and everywhere, affordable door-to-door transport is ready.
A first step is to have more and different public transport/sharing bicycles at all important nodes. Also think of bicycles with smart locks, which means you are not limited by the availability of rental stations, and concepts that are based on collaboration between citizens (peer-to-peer) that accelerate the growth of bicycle sharing.
The Fietsersbond remains committed to creating attractive living and working areas throughout the Netherlands. We strive for a sustainable mobility policy with smart spatial planning.
In 2040, you are never alone as a cyclist in the streets of a large city, not even in the middle of the night. Partygoers and other night owls rush home, while the first early birds get on their bicycles to go to work. Others first go for a run along the cycling route, where the cycling and walking route together form the blue-green connection between the rings of parks in and around the city. The various train stations in the city have been given a hub function: living, working and recreation are fitted in flexibly. The mobility flows with different speeds are sustainably separated in the first ring around the stations and each have their own layer. Electric goods transport and some automated personal vehicles form the bottom layer. Traffic routes for cyclists form the layer that connects the urban centres via roofs and bridges. This continues into the regional axes to the green park-like outskirts and the suburbs that are within cycling distance. The upper layer is that of pedestrians. They cruise and stroll and are basically already at their destination here.
The second ring from the station is easily reached mainly by bike with a fine base network and a main cycling network, allowing all types of cyclists to move comfortably and stress-free. This division is especially necessary in the four rush hour periods. The old morning rush hour is still there, but lasts longer. It is busier on the roads, but the speed is constant. Where you used to eat yourself up standing still, you can now keep going in a relaxed way in the cosy bustle. In the 10s and 20s, you still have Facebook friends. Now you have rush buddies. You chat a bit and continue on. The intermediate rush hour around lunch time, with a concert, a walk or the travel to your ‘afternoon job’ has grown strongly. The evening rush hour is divided into two parts: before eight and after ten. The latter has grown especially because many people follow a course or training after work, exercise or do something cultural.
Most FietsFamilie paths have been given the name of a river because of their formidable transport capacity, which, despite the large densities that have been built in, there is sufficient mobility space and plenty of room for greenery. It is a constant flow of zipping cyclists with space on the sidewalks for pedestrians, elongated squares to stay on and cycling cafés with indoor parking facilities and repair services, flexible workspace and public space.
In the different city districts, subcentres are connected to a FietsFamilie path and a public transport node. They are difficult to penetrate by automated personal vehicles, which makes them the domain of moving city dwellers or visitors. Here, too, there is a broad variety of destinations with sufficient room to also have vulnerable road users move safely in the public space. In the surroundings of the primary schools in the neighbourhoods, the youngest and oldest members of society are up. Once their children are safely at school, parents join their colleagues to walk and cycle to work via the FietsFamilie path, awake and cheerful.
Cyclists like to live in a city where the public space has regained its human dimension. Twenty years ago, it was found that pedestrians and cyclists made more than 60% of traffic movements in less than 30% of the public space. That skewed relationship has now come to an end. Because the medium-sized cities are so diverse, there is a lot to choose. Old fortified towns and Hanseatic cities and ‘modern’ satellite cities such as Houten, Capelle aan den Ijssel and Purmerend have in common that walking and cycling are the modalities that keep the city moving and make people happy.
Early in the morning, the first commuters cycle via park-like lanes – where cars used to be parked – to the outskirts of their municipality to then cycle to the central city of the region across the widened dykes. Dykes have been widened, not because of rising water levels, but to give thousands of commuters the space they need. Later in the day, the recreational cyclists come out along this route. They can also choose a cycling path below the dyke that protects against the wind. From the surrounding villages, high school students come to the schools in the cities in bicycle columns. Their teachers have already parked their bikes.
Some live a bit further away, at a remote farm, and have cycled to the public transport node to take the bus or automated personal vehicles to the transferium and then get to their destination on a shared bike.
Medium-sized cities have seen densification in recent decades: more households and more people in the same city. Office parks are partly residential, there are shops and facilities at the street level, and the cycling commuter happily cycles to the flex work café. The part of the industrial park that is closest to the city centre has been transformed into a residential, working and shopping function. Actually, the transition has not yet been completely successful there. The large numbers of shared bicycles no longer fit the parking facilities. Moreover, the number of company cargo bikes for logistical purposes has grown enormously. But the transition does work on the outskirts of the city. Due to the massive shift of passenger transport from the car to the bicycle, the logistics sector is running smoothly and the motorway has been narrowed during its last maintenance.
The medium-sized cities have seized that cycling opportunities. This is where modern knowledge workers work in varied office environments, where people also live or stay.
Rural area and small villages
In smaller municipalities, village squares are car-free, the surrounding area is car-restricted and the speed has been reduced to 30 kilometres per hour. Cyclists cycle through a varied landscape of trees and meadows. Many ground level railway crossings have been replaced by tunnels and bridges for cyclists and walkers. In the Open Air Museum, they have placed the last inactive guarded train crossing. These deepened roads and railroads are now beautiful cycling and walking routes. They are nice and wide, so that shy badgers can cross simultaneously with red deer and cyclists.
Bunnik has become a notorious competitor to the neighbouring municipality of Houten in the last Fietsstadverkiezing (Cycling City Election), because all cycling connections have now become fast and direct. Further to the east, at the Utrechtse Heuvelrug and the Veluwe, cycling paths in nature reserves have artificial intelligence. When hazel worms or other endangered species start sunbathing there, the network automatically creates a diversion for bicycles or the presence of the animals is marked with LED lighting under the road surface.
A large number of country roads is car-free or only accessible to local traffic. Due to an increase in scale in agriculture, mixed agricultural and cycling routes are no longer safe. Agricultural vehicles run at window times. Through technology – smart roads – they are made aware of the presence of cyclists and diverted. In the rare case that there is no room for this, beautiful winding cycle paths have been created to allow cyclists to divert.
The electric cyclists travelling from Elst to Elsloo needs fewer charging stops thanks to better batteries. The density of places where batteries can be recharged is now so great that there is always one around the corner. Not only are there charging points connected to the few remaining traffic lights, shops, cafés and restaurants also have charging options. And there is not just navigation that leads from A to B. The cycling route planner also creates recreational routes: the Marco Adventure Routes. This makes the journey more enjoyable. The navigation batteries last at least a week. The route planner also contains themed routes, such as along museums, exhibitions, local farms and craft beer breweries.
The commuting routes are very diverse. People cycle to strategic public transport nodes, such as Geldermalsen and Doetinchem. They can easily park here and charge electric bikes. These nodes have been realised in places that connect logically to the cycling network. Transfer options from one’s own bicycle or shared bicycle to various public transport services and/or automated personal vehicles are the starting point there. All regional facilities can be reached by (electric) bicycle or a combination of bicycle and public transport. Even in shrinking areas, with facilities at a somewhat greater distance, everyone can keep participating on social life. The route to the public transport hubs runs via car-free country roads. Only local traffic is found there. The few automated personal vehicles and agricultural vehicles are warned for cyclists via sensors on the road. In the thirties, it was decided that agricultural vehicles had to adapt to cyclists. If you get to these public transport hubs outside the city, you can rent a custom bicycle.
For those who want to travel the greater distances themselves, a large part of the old motorways are available as cycling routes. This once began with Soesterberg airport. Bicycle couriers not only stay within cities, but also travel short distances between cities across old motorways, such as Amsterdam-Haarlem, Arnhem-Nijmegen and Zwolle-Deventer. It is quite fun on these roads. Besides bicycle couriers, you need electric recumbents, OpEigenKracht recumbents (without assistance) and speed pedelecs here. Despite the high speeds, romances occur regularly. This is due to the meeting points. Where there used to be gas stations, there are now parks with fun diners. These diners sponsor the cycling kilometres with discount. Fit cyclists eat so well that this pays for itself and the health insurance companies contribute as well. And if you don’t feel like cycling anymore, you can bring your bicycle in an automated personal vehicle. It always takes you to your destination, and because it consists of linking segments, you can transfer while driving.