Updated: Aug 16
How might a Bicycle User Experience (BUX) look in practice? The BUX Blog will be exploring 7 pieces of existing infrastructure that represent user experience and usability principles. Up sixth, the RijnWaalpad.
One of the world's first billed "Bicycle Superhighways", the RijnWaalpad connects the downtowns of two Dutch cities: Nijmegen and Arnhem. It lays out the red carpet (red asphalt, technically) for people that choose to travel by bike. Known in the Dutch context as a "fast cycle route", the 17km route was designed to be low-stress and have as few stops as possible.
A trip on the RijnWaalpad. Note: part of this video is sped up significantly.
How does the route measure up to usability principles? Is it intuitive for the everyday person to navigate? Are all different types of people able to meet their needs and integrate the bike into their lives here?
One way to investigate these questions is to conduct a Heuristic Evaluation (done above). A Heuristic Evaluation estimates the usability of an interface (in our case, a bike path) through examining its adherence to universal principles of design. The one conducted shows that the RijnWaalpad excels in accessibility: it is low-stress and usable by everyday people with a range of riding preferences. The hierarchy of needs heuristic is also present: experiencing the view from the bridge on the approach to downtown Nijmegen (below) is a great bonus to a path that meets people's basic needs.
The main area where it scores lower is consistency. A reason for this is that it is a much longer route than the other pieces of infrastructure that this blog series has looked at, so this is not an apples-to-apples comparison.
The RijnWaalpad puts a lot of thought into creating a fast, comfortable riding experience. Instead of dividing neighborhoods like a motor vehicle freeway, it connects them. It is wonderful example of cycling experience.
For the seventh and final post of this series, we will look at the Davis Greenbelt, a circular network of linear parks and bike routes in a small California city.
The F325 Fast Cycle Route Arnhem – Nijmegen
RijnWaalpad - a cycle highway with (almost) no interruptions
STREETFILMS - Biking the Arnhem-Nijmegen Cycle Superhighway
RijnWaalpad Advertisement Video (Dutch)