Bicycling infrastructure for Last mile & Intermodal connectivity



{1} Diminishing mobility and accessibility, worsening health and environmental situation, lack of transport facilities and infrastructure, poor planning and traffic management and neglect of  multi-modal transport systems. In Indian cities the share of NMT at peak hours ranges from 30 up to 70%; trips undertaken by bicycle account for about 10% to 35% of the total trips. Bicycles are not only important for the entire trip (from origin to destination), but, particularly in developed countries, also as a feeder mode to public transport. In a rich country like The Netherlands, 27% of all trips is by bicycle, whereas only 5% is by public transport. Although bicycle trips to and from public transport stops are only a small proportion of the total number of bicycle trips, it is true that the bicycle has a role to play when it comes to the promotion of public transport. Its potential as feeder system is very high.

{2} These are some of the reasons why a public bicycle system should be considered

1. Accessibility: Make cycles and cycling more accessible to citizens. Today, if one wants to use a cycle to run an errand or one is ‘in a mood’ to cycle on a given day, it is not possible unless one owns a cycle. Making cycles readily and widely accessible would eliminate this tight coupling between owning a cycle and using it.

2. Extend public transport reach: A system such as this can also help to tremendously boost the reach of a public transport system, including the BRT, as it would be possible to use bicycles to access the public transport network even if the public transport station itself is at some distance.

3. Safety in numbers: It is well-known that the more cyclists there are, the safer it is to cycle. The proposed system, if successful, should contribute to a significant increase in the number of cyclists on the road, and therefore make Bangalore a safer city for cyclists.

4. Image: Cycling suffers from an image of either being a poor man’s mode, or a school child’s mode, or the enthusiast’s mode. In short, anything but a desirable transport mode. Such an image has a strong negative impact on cycling and cyclists in the city. A city-wide cycling system with good, ‘cool’ cycles supported by cutting edge technology and branding, and backed by administrative and political support could help transform the image of cycling – and in the process, the entire transport scenario – radically.

5. Co-benefits of cycling: It is now accepted that cities benefit from promoting active lifestyles, which has enormous repercussions for public health. Cycling also helps reduce pollution, congestion and plays an important role in reducing carbon emissions

Target groups

The target groups for such a system would broadly be

1. Student community: The student community form a very attractive target group for many reasons. They are a large community, cycling is a feasible option to almost all students across age groups, they are often ‘trend-setters’, and of course, they are tomorrow’s adults and therefore sensitizing them today to the advantages of cycling is a good long term strategy.

2. Potential two-wheeler buyers: Such a service would provide them a real choice which is lacking today, and could be a significant factor in controlling the number of two-wheelers on the road.

3. Middle / upper class: Middle and upper class citizens with short trips could adopt this mode if convenient. They are also likely to demand better facilities for cycling in the city.

4. Tourists: The Paris experience suggests that this service is preferred by tourists as an independent, cheap way of getting around town. And of course, the service would also have a positive feedback on tourism as it would eventually make the city greener and more pleasant.

5. Public Transport Users: This system can act as a feeder or for last-mile connectivity.

Biking Masterplan

Bangalore NMT masterplan has to be built around the concept of Network planning {1} Network planning, is elaborated as “network route planning”, “road section planning” and “intersection planning”. In order to promote cycling, a recognisable network of links and junctions has to be developed where the need for detours is minimised and the number of encounters between cyclists (and pedestrians) and motor vehicles are reduced. A special focus is directed to through routes where high numbers of NMT-users can or do make use of. Investments on these routes are more efficient since NMT volume is high. Besides, to make the network effective, less-intensively used routes have to be included to create a coherent structure. In their phasing of interventions such a prioritisation based on volume of NMT-traffic and their function has been pursued:

Phase 1: routes with heavy NMT use, where NMT-users have to share the road with MT. Beneficiaries are NMT- as well as MT-users.

Phase 2: Routes with fast traffic are to be reconstructed to secure safe cycling and walking.

Phase 3: Smaller roads have to be reconstructed as part of the bicycle plan.

In a later stage, the network should be developed in such a way it serves distribution at district level, and access on neighbourhood level. Traffic calming measures are then more suitable and cost-effective than separated bicycle tracks. Once the routes are selected and prioritisation has been made, road section planning (what to do with the lay-out: separation or mixing) and junction/intersection planning has to be dealt with. Especially at intersections, interests of different modes come together, which the planner has to solve. In that process of finding the optimal solution the planner is searching the correct balance between shape, function and use.  Network planning has been a successful approach in the Netherlands, and can be easily transferred to developing countries. The existence of a dense, coherent and consistent network of bicycle facilities improves cycling conditions and its use. Since there is no uniform- but scattered - origin destination patterns, focusing on a few major routes won’t help so much.

A hierarchical functional design encourages the use of the bicycle network; if each level in the network will have its own spacing and design, a logical structure becomes visible. Besides cost-saving aspects (not every route needs expensive adjustments), such a network will help to improve recognition and perception of bicycle travel possibilities.

A mobility plan is essential to provide the direction and continuity of improvements in urban NMT facilities. It further may encourage relevant departments (planning, transport, land use) to work closer together. The 'learning by doing' approach would imply that feed back stages are an essential part of the process.

Masterplan stages

As a part of a comprehensive masterplan, the following stages are recommended to be followed:

1) Establishment of a proper organisational set-up for urban mobility planning and implementation, of a user participation set-up and of financing arrangement for interventions.

2) Preparation of an inventory of user needs and of a NMT route network inventory and problem inventory.

3) Preparation of a NMT action plan ('pilots').

4) Preparation of a long-term urban network plans (as the framework for intervention selection; no urban mobility plan yet).

5) Design of a first package of interventions (using: design concepts, detailed design aspects).

6) Appraisal of the proposed interventions (and the action plan), approval and a start with implementation (after the first package, the second etc.).

7) Development of a complete long-term mobility plan and policies

Design principles

Some of the design principles in making up the route

- Mixing different modes of transport should be combined with traffic calming measures, so that different modes can not choose their own speed freely.

- Mixing pedestrians and cyclists will usually not create big safety problems, but (depending on volume and capacity of facility) will mainly cause hindrance and inefficiency.

- As a rule of the thumb one can state that at the lowest residential access level (with speeds around & below 30 km/h), traffic can be mixed. These tracks and roads are NMT domain. However, at the main transit level, the use of urban corridor carriage-ways should be restricted to motor-vehicles only and NMT should be completely separated. But on most roads (local collector and collector) bicycles can be mixed with MT (pedestrians can’t!).

- Traffic calming to create safe cycling conditions on all local collector roads and most other collector roads

- Consider bicycle lane markings on wide-lane collector roads, or provision of bicycle traffic capacity on service roads along urban corridors, or separated bicycle tracks.

Pilot - CBD Bike Sharing

One such logical area to start with in the overall scheme of things is the CBD area. The CBD area of Bangalore is moving to be a high density core with both Metro & Bus traffic servicing it. Increase of FAR is being encouraged here with metro stations cutting across the CBD. THe increase in motorized traffic in a highly dense urban core will lead to severe congestion. A shared bike program will service the entire CDB addressing all segments of the population from schools in the area to shoppers and offices.

Number: Approx 20 bikes at each location to start with a provision to increase on uptake

  1. Shivajinagar BMTC bus stand - Within the bus stand premises on the ground level
  2. MG road Namma metro station - Under viaduct or on-street car park across road
  3. Trinity circle metro station - Under viaduct or on-street car park across road
  4. Mayo hall BMTC bus stand - On far end sidewalk of Bus bay across Mayo hall on residency road
  5. Bangalore club BMTC bus stand - Current car park on Bangalore club side under the overhead walkway
  6. Ashirvadam Jn - Along St Josephs PU college compound wall on the left side where cycle lane will run

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Segregation: It is required that the bike lanes be physically segregated for the safety of the cyclists. 4 meter wide lanes to carry 2 way bike traffic

Bike hangars: Space for Bike hangars need to be provided. It can be space along the street parking to put up a bike rack


Some transformatory steps to set the ball rolling towards a sustainable Bangalore would be

1) Setting up of NMT cell within BBMP

2) Draw up a biking masterplan for the city

3) Implement pilot bike sharing project for CBD

The pilot will be the key to solidify the learnings & customizations for the rollout in the rest of the city and hence the following will be absolutely necessary to do

1) Get the NMT cell operational before pilot

2) Markup segregated lanes along the routes

3) Provide space for Bike Hangars along the route


{1} The significance of non-motorised transport for developing countries, Strategies for Policy development by I-ce, Interface for Cycling Expertise, Utrecht, the Netherlands, Dec 2000

{2} Public Bicycle System, Proposal for a pilot cycle Rent ‘n Ride system for Pune by Ulhas Joshi May 2010 comment guidelines

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