Can the Cardiff Metro deliver for Cyclists?

This week saw the launch of the next stage in the Cardiff Metro development, with a vision of integrated travel across the city, using electrified railways with modern trains. Transport Integration is a vital component when developing any new piece of transport infrastructure, especially when connecting a city region with outer lying towns and villages. One of the main ambitions of the Metro Project is to make commuting across Cardiff easier for all, using a mix of light rail tramways and railways. Many European cities already have similar transport networks in place, and there is no reason why Cardiff cannot be the same. It’s a city than can easily adapt to increasing the number of people that cycle and walk as it has the benefit of being a relatively flat and open city, with minimal gradients. The report sets out an ambition to create;

“A public transport system, including cycle ways and cycle facilities, that encourages their greater patronage as a preferred mode of day-to-day transport;

This can only be achieved if the shift is made from catering for motor car traffic to more sustainable methods, and adapting a strong European model for cycling needs. With the population growth forecast for the city rising each year, it should become easier for people to use cycling and walking as a viable and efficient way of getting from A to B.  There is also the potential of integrating cycling with the tramways, allocating specific carriages for bikes, along with improved station access and cycling facilities to allow onward journeys to be made by bike. In Copenhagen, train carriages that specifically cater for cyclist have been in use since 2010.

An example of the interior of the DSB S train carriage, with space for bikes. An example of the interior of the DSB S train carriage, with space for bikes.

The DSB ‘S Train’ has dedicated carriages at the centre of the train, clearly and smartly branded with the international bike symbol. Inside, there is space to accommodate bikes, with fold down seats and an enter/exit system on each end in order to minimise traffic within the carriage.

“even more people choose an eco-friendly means of transport if they combine bike and train. A whole 27% of the cyclists state that they wouldn’t have taken the S-train if they couldn’t bring their bike for free. In order to make it faster and easier for cyclists to get in and out of the S-train, we have decided to introduce one-way traffic. In addition, the new bike compartments have room for twice as many bikes as usual, and we can spread out the bikes along the platform because the new bike compartments are located in the middle of the S-train”

DSB2Copenhagen’s Bike Friendly DSB S Train

This rail/cycle initiative has clearly been a success in Copenhagen, and similar examples can be found in Berlin and Madrid. Currently, there is too much being done to accommodate the motor car in Cardiff, and cyclist are being (literally) squeezed out the way at some locations on the city’s roads. Integrating rail with bicycles is a step towards a sustainable, pleasant and efficient means of travelling across any city. Imagine being able to jump on a tram based railway train at the furthest end of Roath or Canton, arriving at the Bay within 10minutes, and being able to cycle across the barrage, all in a safe, clean and quick environment.  Hopefully the Metro, along with the city’s town planners, stakeholders and Cardiff Cycling City Campaign can take this on and make it a success for commuters and those who cycle for leisure.

An example of what a new electrified light railways system to Cardiff Bay might look like as part of the Metro scheme. An example of what a new electrified light railway system to Cardiff Bay might look like as part of the Metro scheme.

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