Foto: Willem Mes

Hundreds of new bicycles for bike share plan in Utrecht


Starting this spring, around 700 orange public bicycles can be seen riding around in Utrecht. The city hopes to make De Uithof more accessible with the bike share plan. UU scientists will study whether the bike share plan contributes to the goal of a healthier, livable city.

Read in Dutch

This spring, the Danish company Donkey Republic will provide 700 orange bicycles in Utrecht – and possibly in neighbouring municipalities as well. The bikes can be rented using an app, and don’t have to be returned to a fixed location. It’s supposed to make travelling to De Uithof ‘faster’ and ‘more flexible’, the municipality says. Donkey Republic already provides similar services in forty other European cities.

UU researchers, together with researchers from Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, will study the use of the bike share system. This is done in the context of the national research programme ‘Smart Cycling Futures’, which aims to increase bicycle use in Dutch cities. The study uses the experimental, real-life research approach of a ‘living lab’. Researchers learn from the project they study, and can also adjust the project as it’s happening.

This spring, DUB spoke (In Dutch ed.) with professor and project leader Rob Raven about the plans. “Everyone in the Netherlands rides their bikes, but cycling lacks structural attention,” Raven said then. “In fact, we don’t actually know all that much about cyclists and cycling. How is that possible?” The professor said that in the setup of the Utrecht project, the researchers have already learnt from experiences in Amsterdam: in the nation’s capital, there were complaints about discarded bicycles lying around after the bike share plan was introduced.

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