The research, commissioned by the Ministry of Health, mainly focussed on finding which policy measures might be effective in promoting commuter cycling. To this end, TNO combined data from literature with a dedicated survey among motorists living within cycling distance from their place of work.
The research reveals that financial inducements and improvements in cycling facilities are most effective. Financial inducements might for instance be the introduction of road charges, restrictions in parking policy and changes in travel cost reimbursements. However, these measures will only affect drivers customary behaviour in case of serious changes causing something of a shock and leading people to reconsider their travel options, according to TNO.
Besides these ‘stick’ measures the doubters are also susceptible to ‘carrots’. For instance, improving cycling facilities is an effective stimulus to get drivers to use a bicycle when this leads to a reduction in commuter time. In that case minor factors like fine-tuning traffic lights, mileage allowance for cyclists and the use of weather radar are effective as well. TNO also has great expectations of electric bicycles. A purchase subsidy and promoting free temporary use of electric bicycles may succeed in winning over the doubters. Education has only limited uses, but is necessary to support the other measures, according to TNO.
Nevertheless, there is a significant group who does not cycle for very specific reasons, This group encompasses approximately 25% of those surveyed and the reasons stated are: 1) night and/or shift work (safety), 2) parents with children (logistics) and 3) health reasons (physical problems). Policies intended to induce these groups to switch will require specific measures, for instance measures to increase safety, e.g. cycling in groups (reason nr. 1), logistic support for parents accompanying their children in order to make up for lost time (reason nr. 2), and promoting use of electric bicycles (reason nr. 3).