Commuting by Motorcycle

Impact analysis of an increased share of motorcycles in commuting traffic

In this study, we examined the effects of an increased share of motorcycles in commuter traffic.  A modal shift from private cars towards motorcycles affects the propagation of traffic flows and traffic congestion. There will also be an impact on emissions from traffic.

The impact on traffic congestion was determined in a case study for the section of motorway between Leuven and Brussels. Traffic flows in the morning commute were simulated in detail. A modal shift towards motorcycles resulted in shorter queues that disappear sooner. Travel times are significantly shorter. If 10% of all private cars are replaced by motorcycles, the total time loss for all vehicles decreases by 40%. The attraction of new traffic due to improved circumstances is taken into account in this case study.

When the case study results are extrapolated to the entire motorway network in Belgium, total time savings for all vehicles add up to 15 000 hours, which is equivalent to a benefit of € 350 000 per day.

The impact of a modal shift on emissions was also determined for the case study Leuven-Brussels. New motorcycles emit fewer pollutants compared to average private cars (less NOX, NO2, PM2.5 and EC, but more VOC). They also emit less CO2. Total external emission costs of new motorcycles are more than 20% lower than average private cars. On the section of motorway between Leuven and Brussels, total emission costs can be reduced by 6% if 10% of private cars are replaced by motorcycles.


Final report (English)

Final report (Dutch)


January 24, Isaak Yperman gave a presentation at the 7th ACEM annual conference about Innovating our mobility: L-category vehicles: smaller, lighter, more specialised



funded by



Isaak Yperman, Kristof Carlier


Griet De Ceuster

+32 16 31.77.30
reference: 10.69