Bicycle parking at train stations in the Netherlands: Travellers' behaviour and policy options

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

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


Bicycle-train traveller, Bicycle parking, The Netherlands, Train station


The combined use of bicycles and trains is a popular means of transport in the Netherlands, experiencing strong growth in recent years. This development is in line with the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management's policy goal of promoting cycling as a stand-alone mode, and in combination with trains. Such active travel policies generate social benefits, such as improved public health, reduced emissions and less congestion.

The success of combined bike and train use in the Netherlands however has unresolved issues. Due to overcrowded bicycle storage facilities at large train stations, many bicycles are parked outside these facilities, resulting in public nuisance and inefficient use of space in the areas around train stations. Concurrently, the continued growth of combined bicycle-train use is desired. The policy question therefore is how to facilitate growth while accounting for the current bicycle parking problem. In tackling this challenge, this paper aims to shed more light on the bicycle parking behaviour of bicycle-train travellers.

In cooperation with Dutch National Railways, train travellers were given a questionnaire designed to elicit information about their travel behaviour during the two-week period preceding the questionnaire's completion date. More than 3000 questionnaires were completed. Descriptive statistics and binary logit models were used to analyse the resulting data.

We found that the privately owned bicycles used on a train trips' activity-end (the so-called ‘second bicycles’) were parked at train station parking facilities approximately four times longer than bicycles used at the train trips' home-end station. Initial estimates revealed that these second bicycles accounted for at least 45% of the bicycle parking pressure witnessed at all train stations in the Netherlands. We also found that among second bicycle owners, low-frequency train use, and using activity-end train stations located in suburbs, are positively associated with long term bicycle parking on the activity-end. Moreover, of all the times bicycles are parked, approximately 10% of activity-end bicycles, and 20% of home-end bicycles, are parked unguarded outside of train station parking facilities. There is a lower probability of home-end bicycles being parked outside of bicycle parking facilities at small train stations than at large stations.

Possible solutions to the bicycle parking problem include offering more shared bicycles as alternatives to second bicycles, striving to ban second bicycles from racks situated close to train platforms (by means of pricing and enforcement), and locating parking spaces specifically designated for second bicycles further away from train platforms. This would free up parking spaces close to platforms for home-end bicycles, which are more frequently rotated in and out. Additionally, to further alleviate the parking problem, an awareness-and-warning campaign could be directed at those who wrongly park their home-end bicycles.


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


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