Skip to main content

Large-scale transport model for cycling

Large-scale transport model for cycling (funded by Trafikverket). In this project, the overall goal is to develop a regional transport model for better predicting bicycle demand as well as facilitating cost-benefit analysis for bicycle infrastructure investments.

Encouraging the use of active travel modes, such as walking and cycling, is vital for ensuring a sustainable urban development. In many European metropolitan areas, cycling is becoming increasingly popular within the recent decades and many cities plan for and encourage citizens to travel by bicycle. On the other hand, large-scale transport models, which serve as the main tools for policy evaluation and cost-benefit analysis, are often designed for modelling of motorised travel modes such as private car and public transport. This implies that bicycle infrastructure planning can be improved, both regarding decisions of which investments to choose given a limited budget, and regarding systematic evaluation of the impact of the investment once chosen.

In this study, we present a tour-based transport model to better model cycling demand. The model improves modelling of cycling in several ways compared to a conventional transport model. First, it uses a detailed bicycle network containing information about existing bicycle infrastructure. Second, generalised cost measures based on different bicycle route choice models are calculated and compared to evaluate how to best represent the impact of bicycle infrastructure in the model. Third, the model utilizes a refined zone system with small zones of size 250 m×250m. Using these small zones, more short-distance tours are included in the model, and these are predominantly walking and cycling trips. Fourth, the model is calibrated using a travel survey from 2015, and therefore the model can represent travel behaviour that is up-to-date. Fifth, the model considers cycling also as an access mode choice to public transport. Therefore, the model treats cycling and public transport as both competing and complementary.

We demonstrate that the model can capture detailed individual heterogeneity in cycling demand. Impacts of bicycle infrastructure, land use characteristics and individual/household social-demographics are investigated. Detailed individual level travel time and generalised cost are derived for cyclists of different socio-demographics and for different trip purposes. This study highlights the importance of choosing a good measure of generalised cost, given that different bicycle route choice models estimate different effects of bicycle infrastructure. The model can be used to evaluate proposed bicycle investments regarding their impact on link flow, bicycle route choice, modal shift and generation of completely new tours. The model can also be a powerful tool in a cost-benefit analysis of bicycle investments.

The project is carried out in collaboration between VTI, LiU and KTH, and is funded by Trafikverket via Centre for Traffic Research (CTR).


Liu, C., Tapani, A., Kristofersson, I. & Rydergren, Clas. (2020).
Appraisal of cycling infrastructure investments using a transport model with focus on cycling.
Case Studies on Transport Policy, 9(1), 125-136.

Liu, C., Tapani, A., Kristofersson, I. & Rydergren, Clas. (2020).
Development of a large-scale transport model with focus on cycling.
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 134, 164-183.

Liu, C., Tapani, A., Kristofersson, I. & Rydergren, Clas. (2019).
En transportmodell med fokus på cykeltrafik: modellutveckling och scenarioanalyser.
VTI rapport, 1007, 144.

Belongs to: Centre for Traffic Research (CTR)
Last changed: Jul 06, 2021