Surveyor and Consultant

I have come a long way since I moved to the United Kingdom back in 2007 for family reasons. Just a "cycling infrastructure" consumer during my first year in the UK, I quickly learned the enormous shortcomings of the UK road network when it comes to day-to-day cycling.

With poorly signposted and poorly maintained cycle routes at its best, I found there is simply no easy way to get from a to b by bike. I also quickly learned that cycling on a main road in the UK has nothing to do with what I call "happy cycling" Dutch style. 

Through the years, I have come to a level that I can call myself a professional cycling infrastructure consultant, able to draw up independent reports and long-term visions, complete with artwork (such as shown on the map above) and general costings..  

This journey started back in 2007, when I learnt about GIS (Geographic Information Systems) at Ordnance Survey in Southampton, where I briefly worked as map editor. It didn't take long before I was involved with Cycle City Guides (now named Four Point Mapping). 

Between 2008 and 2011, I explored many urban areas by bicycle on their behalf, collecting data for the National On-line Cycling Route Planner, the Sustrans Route Planner and many urban cycle maps and Sustrans Cycling Maps. I analysed traffic flows, searched/developed back-road routes and often created traffic-calmed cycle routes from scratch. I did this work in cities like Manchester, Birmingham and Plymouth and in urban areas like South Staffordshire, Hertfordshire and Torbay. 

Frustrated that all this surveying work and its massive data collection was not resulting in actually improving the local cycling conditions, I started to offer my services as consultant to the local authorities where I was working, highlighting where investments in new infrastructure should go. I produced my first small report on the Shrewsbury cycling network for Shropshire County Council in 2010. Inspired by the St Albans Cycling Campaign, an area where I also did surveying, I started to publish articles about cycling infrastructure through this blog from 2011.

Using my background as a "Cycling Dutchman" (having experienced the change in Dutch road layouts in favour of cycling first hand through the 1980s and the 1990s) and with lots of experience regarding cycling and surveying in the UK, I am probably one of the few who is truly able to translate "Dutch designs" into the UK world.

A Dutch cycling infrastructure consultant based in The Netherlands simply doesn't understand the implications of typical UK factors, such as serious budget constraints, the power of UK landowners in relation to the limited power of councils to do compulsory purchase orders, the extensive power of the car lobby, the misconceptions about cycling among the public and the inflexibility of Highway Management bodies that have been designing their network with only motorised traffic in mind for over 60 years. It is all light-years away from the situation and prevailing "hands on" culture in The Netherlands.  
In 2012 I produced an Integrated Cycle Plan for Totnes on the Move and Devon County Council. This 200 page study included a complete signage plan, full infrastructure recommendations and a long term strategy, with five stages of implementation. After setting up the North Devon Cycling Forum together with some other local cyclists in 2013, I produced my next report in 2014, taking on infrastructure issues in Barnstaple, the town where I live. This time, the report also included an overview of costings and I took my artwork  and design to a next level. You can browse this study here.  

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Popular Cycling Dutchman blog articles explaining Dutch cycling infrastructure: