Innovation for high-speed bicycle routes becomes national standard

With the ambition to be the smartest bicycle province of the Netherlands in 2020, the province of North Brabant has invested in data-driven innovation for cycling policy in the past decade. Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas) has developed the bicycle potency scan, which is now becoming the national standard.


High-speed bicycle routes 

One of the key priorities within cycling policy is developing high-grade regional bicycle routes, also called high-speed bicycle routes. The development of this infrastructure should contribute to cyclists travelling mid-long distances taking the (electric) bicycle for their daily commute. To underpin objectively in what route investments yield the highest returns, BUas has developed the bicycle potency scan. To ensure that other Dutch authorities can profit from the developed technique, the province, the ministry and BUas have adopted this innovation into national mobility tools.

Ideal e-bike region

Traditionally, cities in Brabant are surrounded by several towns, which are mostly situated within a 15 to 20-kilometre radius from those cities. These are the very distances that are suitable for e-bikes, so they could be direct competitors for the frequent use of cars. Therefore, the concrete question the province asked was what relations would benefit the most from the construction of high-speed bicycle routes. Partly on the basis of results of the bicycle potency scan, several high-speed bicycle routes have been planned and partly accomplished in Brabant.

Cooperation is crucial

“The basis for this milestone is the joint collaboration in Brabant”, says Roger Heijltjes, programme manager Bicycle of the province of North Brabant. “This province has a good collaboration culture, where, apart from local authorities, several knowledge institutions are also actively collaborated with. Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas) has proved to be a valuable partner in the field of data-driven bicycle innovation. Meanwhile, the province is engaged in new cycling knowledge innovations, which aim at encouraging people to use their bicycles, as well as the use, behaviour and experiences of cyclists. The topic ‘bicycle’ is perfectly suitable for innovation because it is one of the most sustainable modes of transportation,” says Heijltjes.

Open innovation

‘Rijkswaterstaat’ is also happy with this development because it is a valuable enhancement of the several mobility tools. “Whereas we as government have mostly concentrated on motorised traffic and public transport for many decades, the bicycle has now become a more prominent item on the policy agenda. The system behind the mobility scan aims at enabling external parties to develop innovations, which could be added. As we intended, we thought these would mainly be private companies. Therefore, it is very special that a knowledge institute turns to us with such a technical elaboration,” says Linda Heilmann of Rijkswaterstaat.

It is up to the market

“It’s not only a milestone as regards content, but as regards the process of knowledge development towards applications as well”, says Joost de Kruijf as initiator of the Dutch Cycling Intelligence cycling innovation programme within BUas. To arrive at a healthy eco-system, all parties involved should play their role properly. However interesting the further application of the bicycle potency scan in the Netherlands is, it is now up to private companies to give municipalities more data-driven policy advice. As a result, the knowledge institutes will be allowed more time again to start focusing on new cycling policy innovations.


Links & Partners

The Mobility Scan is available for education institutes, (local) authorities and organisations which work on the instruction of (local) authorities. The tool can be found on


Province of North-Brabant

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Joost de Kruijf |