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 commuting 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 highway stretch between Leuven and Brussels. Traffic flows in the morning commute were simulated in detail. A modal shift towards motorcycles results in shorter queues that disappear sooner. Travel times are significantly shorter. When 10% of all private cars are replaced by motorcycles, total time losses for all vehicles decrease 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 highway network in Belgium, total time savings for all vehicles would add up to 15.000 hours, which is equivalent with benefits 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 less pollutants compared to average private cars (less NOX, NO2, PM2.5 en EC, but more VOC). They also emit less CO2. Total external emission costs of new motorcycles are more than 20% lower compared to average private cars. On the highway stretch Leuven-Brussels, total emission costs can be reduced by 6% when 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


Isaak Yperman

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