Case study: monitoring the impact of local supermarket development

This case study comes from Utrecht in The Netherlands, a city & province known around the world for its smart infrastructure and active travel focus, but also leading on citizen engagement.

Safety on the Bicycle Street

On the Odijkseweg, a bicycle street in the municipality of Houten in Utrecht, resident Cor van Angelen carries out traffic counts with a Telraam device. Since the upgrade of a supermarket at the end of his street, local traffic dynamics have changed a lot.

Click here to learn more about “bicycle streets” or fietsstraten
Mobility explained: fietsstraten

Students from the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht (Hogeschool Utrecht - HU) delved into Cor’s data to analyse the ratio of cyclists and cars on the street and whether the concept of “bicycle street” is still being achieved, based on the car traffic counts.

Conclusion: the bicycle street on the Odijkseweg is NOT functioning optimally.

After the renovation and upgrade the situation worsened, with almost twice as many cars for every passing cyclist, according to the standards defined by CROW. A rethink of the road type would provide a more inclusive approach for all road users and will therefore promote safety and traffic flow. It is now up to the municipality and citizens in Houten to work on creating a solution for a safer Odijkseweg for all road users.

If you want to read more about the study (in Dutch only I’m afraid) click the link :arrow_heading_down: below:

This Telraam device is one of the many devices that we have rolled out together with Samen Meten Utrecht to residents, companies and organisations active in the Province of Utrecht.


One of the interesting take-aways from reading this for me was that the “bicycle street” did not have an absolute traffic number target for cars or bikes, but instead operates on a ratio basis of cars to bikes.

This makes a lot of sense to me.

Setting an arbitrary target for cars can help (as happens on the Slow Streets in San Francisco where a target of 1000 vehicles per day is used) but will vary over the year and would probably need to take into context very local issues.

Having a ratio shows that you need to ENCOURAGE bikes and active travel as well as DISCOURAGE vehicles, and since this is a bicycle street where, by definition, bikes have priority, an increase of these will naturally result in the slowing of cars.

The other take-away is the recognition that this is not working, and probably will not work in the context of having a supermarket at the end of the street, so rather than simply trying to enforce the existing set-up, they’re willing to reconsider the road classification (and therefore infrastructure required) from a safety point of view, not just from a traffic one.

There’s so much we can learn from these examples I believe