Scaling up cycling or replacing driving? Triggers and trajectories of bike–train uptake in the Randstad area

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bike, mode - rail, place - europe, place - urban, planning - surveys, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, ridership - mode choice


Bike–train, Randstad, Mobility biographies, Triggers, Modal shift


The combined use of the bicycle and the train in the Netherlands has risen steadily over the past decade. However, little is yet known about the underlying processes driving the growth of bike–train use in the Netherlands. Are new bike–train trips replacing car trips, or are they primarily an extension of existing train travel and cycling practices? The present study investigates this question by exploring the main trajectories of bike–train uptake in the Randstad area. Following a mobility biographies approach, our study seeks to identify the triggers or “key events” which lead to the uptake of bike–train use, and explores their relationship with existing travel behaviour. To this end, we carried out an online survey aimed at people who started commuting regularly by bike–train. Our results show that trajectories of uptake are varied, with a similar proportion of respondents starting to commute by bike–train in order to replace cycling, driving and public transport. While in some cases people shifted to bike–train on their existing commuting trip, most respondents started travelling by bike–train following a change in work or residential location. Overall, our findings suggest that most people do not start commuting by bike–train out of particular preference, but merely because they consider it provides the best available option. Nevertheless, the large proportion of respondents with access to a car suggests that the bike–train system is able to provide an attractive alternative to car-based interurban mobility.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by SpringerLink, copyright remains with them.