Green wave for cyclists tested

Amsterdam has created a green wave for cyclists along the Raadhuisstraat. Cyclists riding at a speed of 15 to 18 kmph will not have to stop at red lights. Tests show that public transport benefits as well, whereas cars become slightly slower.

Published November 8, 2007 by News from Amsterdam

Amsterdam has created a green wave for cyclists along the Raadhuisstraat. Cyclists riding at a speed of 15 to 18 kmph will not have to stop at red lights. Tests show that public transport benefits as well, whereas cars become slightly slower.

On average, trams become about 1.5 minutes faster and buses moving out of the city centre about three minutes. Cars moving out of the city centre become three quarters of a minute slower.

The municipality did not provide data as to the effect on cyclists’ speed.

Marjolein de Lange of cyclists’ organisation Fietsersbond tested the green wave and found that it works most of the times. However, she points out that most cars drive faster than 18 kmph, which means that they have to wait and then accelerate again at traffic lights, increasing air pollution. She suggests introducing an 18 kmph speed limit for all road users.

Alderman Tjeerd Herrema said he was pleased that Amsterdam, being ‘one of the most important cycling cities of the world’, was the first Dutch city to create a green wave for cyclists. It is as yet unclear whether green waves for cyclists will be created along other routes as well.

The concept was earlier tested in Copenhagen (photo), where a green wave increased cyclists’ speed from 15 to 20 kmph along a 2 km route. The average speed of cars remained unchanged at little over 22 kmph, whereas buses became somewhat slower. The green wave in Copenhagen works only in one direction: for cyclists entering the city before noon, and in the opposite direction after noon.

The Danish city of Odense has placed small green lights along the road that light up, cuing the cyclist to speed up or slow down to avoid the red light.