Cycling saves time: Study on speeding up cycle traffic

Speed and flexibility are among the greatest strengths of a bicycle. Especially over short distances within a city a bicycle is the fastest mode of transportation. The time benefit is mainly derived from brief access and exit times and a direct routing. For example, allowing cyclists to use one-way streets in both directions  or providing cycle parking directly at an entrance increases the door-to-door speed.


With distances up to 5km the bicycle is the fastest mode of door-to-door transportation in city traffic – the pedelec even up to a distance of 9km. For the chart (based on data provided by the German Federal Environmental Agency) a certain average speed was assumed for each mode of transportation, i.e. on foot, bicycle, pedelec, public transport and car. Average access and exit times were added.

To make full use of these time benefits of a bicycle, good cycling infrastructure has to be designed to allow quick, direct and fluent cycling. A well-established cycle traffic network features flat routes with wide cycle paths that are given right of way. And the routes have to be uninterrupted.

Cycle Competence member Forschungsgesellschaft Mobilität (FGM) was commissioned by the Austrian transport ministry (bmvit) to compile a study on the time factor in planning cycle traffic. The publication offers an interesting entry into the topic of speed and fluidity in cycle traffic.

Measures to speed up cycle traffic promote cycling

Apart from theory, data and facts the publication also offers specific proposals for action directed at towns and municipalities to design cycle traffic more fluently and thus promote cycle traffic. These are illustrated by national and international best-practice examples.

Zügig vorankommen mit Fahrrad oder Pedelec: am eRadschnellweg Göttingen

Making good time on the bicycle or pedelec: on the e-cycle highway Göttingen

Above all, cycle highways are mentioned. Currently, they are internationally in the spotlights. These are high-quality, directly-routed and high-performance connections between municipalities or within urban regions. Additionally, measures around routing, junction design as well as signs and orientation are lined out.

The booklet “The factor time in cycle traffic. Data, facts and measures to speed-up cycle traffic” (in German) can be ordered for free or downloaded here: bmvit (2016): Der Faktor Zeit im Radverkehr. Daten, Fakten und Maßnahmen zur Beschleunigung des Radverkehrs. Wien

Fotos: Cycling Embassy of Denmark; Stadt Göttingen/Christoph Mischke

Posted on September 13, 2016
Filed under: News