Online cost/benefit calculator

Today the beta function of the online cost benefit calculator for cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands was launched. This calculator makes it easy for local governments to find out if proposed investments in cycling are beneficial and what is the bandwidth. The tool uses general indicators to have a first sight into the benefits of a proposed measure into the Dutch context. Our Department of Transport funded the development of this tool, to enhance the local decision makers in their decisions for better cycling facilities. Being member of the users group, I shared my thoughts about the design of the calculator and the kind of situations the calculator should deal with. In case you have remarks, you can directly send them to Decisio, the responsible consultants.

Bridge to be improved

Bridge to be improved

At this moment the calculator can calculate 2 specific situations. The first one is shortening of routes, by for example building a bridge or tunnel to cross a barrier. In this calculation the existing situation is compared to a project alternative, to shorten the route and increase the bicycle use. The other calculation is free guarded bicycle parking at train stations. Most bigger train stations in the Netherlands have guarded paid bicycle parking and free bicycle parking in public space. As the need for bicycle parking is increasing, parking garages are a solution. The building and maintenance costs are often subject of negotiations of local governments, the railway operator (ProRail) and the train operator (NS). This part of the tool makes clear in which case benefits for society exist.

Of course you can try yourself, but be careful, this is at own risk! The factors in this calculator are rough indicators, based on Dutch averages and Dutch situations. This means there can be a huge difference in specific situations and from situations in other countries. In the Netherlands the health benefits are relatively low, as cycling is already on a high level. The benefits for car traffic are often calculated higher, as congestion easily evaporates with only a low percentage changing cars for bicycles. With this disclaimer in mind, I guess this is an very useful tool for all bicycle infrastructure planners in the Netherlands.


In the example I use figures to shorten a route with an average distance of 7 kilometers to an average of 6,6 kilometers. It is presumed that the number of cyclists will increase to 4000. The measure is taken in the open area and the value of time is high (high educated people, with higher incomes). As the situation for parking facilities at railway stations is totally different in the Netherlands, I don’t translate that part of the calculator.


Nulaternatief – Base situation

Gemiddelde afstand per rit

Average distance per trip



Aantal fietsritten

Amount of bicycle trips


per dag

per day

Projectalternatief –Project alternative (new situation)





Gemiddelde afstand per rit

Average distance per trip



Aantal fietsritten

Amount of trips


per dag

Instellingen – Parameters

Locatie – Location

Build up area

Open area

Discontovoet – something financial


Beheer- en onderhoud – Cost of maintenance


Herkomst nieuwe fietsers uit auto

Percentage of new cyclists from cars



Herkomst nieuwe fietsers uit OV

Percentage of new cyclists of Public Transport



Herkomst nieuwe fietsers generatief

Percentage of new cyclists because of better infrastructure



Reistijdwaardering fietsers

Value of time of cyclists





Overzicht kosten en baten –

Summary of costs and benefits









€ -6.000.000

B&O kosten

Maintenance costs

€ -1.086.000

Reiskostenreductie fietsers

Travel time reduction cyclists

€ 484.000

Accijnzen autoverkeer

Taxes on car fuel

€ -352.000

Reistijd- en betrouwbaarheidswinsten auto’s

Travel time reduction and reliability car traffic


Health benefits

€ 1.449.000

Externe effecten

External effects

€ -722.000


Less job absence

€ 501.000

Subsidies OV

Grants public transport

€ 1.850.000

Reistijdwinsten fietsers

Value of time cyclists

€ 7.779.000



€ -8.160.000

€ 12.063.000

€ 3.903.000


One thought on “Online cost/benefit calculator

  1. Pingback: Junction capacity | As Easy As Riding A Bike

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