On 28 January 2021, the Policy Learning Platform hosted the second webinar of the Cycling Cities trilogy, dedicated to infrastructure development for cycling

Cities are the key actors for turning the goals of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy into reality. For implementing the 'urban dimension' of this Strategy in the next decade, cities will be called to improve urban planning so as to increase the share of active transport modes, both for the sake of climate protection and better air quality. In this regard, the European Commission invites cities to double the pledges on expanding their cycling infrastructure and build an extra 5000 km of safe bike lanes

Expanding the cycling infrastructure and improving its quality are a priority also in our community, as confirmed by the poll we launched at the start of the webinar. Only 7% of respondents said they are happy about the cycling infrastructure in their city and 48% considers their infrastructure lays in quite a poor status.

223 participants from Europe and beyond joined this webinar aimed at shedding light on guiding principles and winning solutions for building a user-friendly and safe cycling infrastructure. The webinar focused on how to plan the cycling infrastructure and offered insight on specific cases of network development, intermodal integration of cycling and public transport and secure bike parking. You can watch the recording below as well as access the presentations. 

Webinar recording

Webinar agenda overview

Navigate to the discussion topics of interest in the webinar agenda overview below. 

Moderation and concept by: Katharina Krell, Thematic Expert of low-carbon economy and Marco Citelli, Thematic Expert of environment and resource efficiency.

00:07:32 Presentation by keynote speaker Meredith Glaser on quality criteria for future cycling infrastructure

00:24:44 Q&A: Is red asphalt more expensive than the grey one? 

00:29:15 Presentation by Indrek Ranniku on planning and construction of cycling roads in Tartu

00:42:04 Q&A: How is land use planning considered in bicycle network planning?

00:45:25 Presentation by Rose Power on cycle and ride infrastructure associated with Luas Light Rail

01:00:45 Q&A: What was the role of the Southern Assembly Managing Authority in this and was there a co-financing from regional funds?

01:03:01 Q&A: Are you planning to allow cyclist on trains, especially during off-peak hours? And are you planning to expand your network of protected bicycle parking spaces? 

01:05:24 Presentation by Isabel Garnika on the new smart network of secure parking for bicycles in Vitoria-Gasteiz 

01:14:56 Q&A: We know from research that cycling infrastructure is a more efficient use of public resources than car infrastructure, how can this solution be scaled up in an equitable way that rewards cyclists, from all income-groups, and maintains that customer base for the long-term? 

01:16:24 Q&A: What importance do you give to cargo bikes in your city? And the igloos look very large, how do you store them in residential areas? 

Panel discussion

01:19:04 Q&A: How do you convince policy makers to make cycle facilities safe for all types of cyclists, including occasional cyclists and elderly disabled cyclists? 

01:22:23 Q&A: An increase in cycling may also result in an decrease in public transportation use. What are the synergies and consequences of this? 

01:29:52 Q&A: In Italy during the COVID-19 lockdown, there incentives to buy bicycles. Are the examples that you have shown on infrastructure development accompanied, to a certain extent, by incentives? 

01:34:01 Final statements of the speakers on the key take-aways of this webinar on infrastructure development. 

Key learnings

From this webinar, we can highlight some major insights for mobility practitioners and regional policymakers:

  • Building a solid, interconnected, and ubiquitous bicycle infrastructure does not happen overnight but the challenge for policymakers in this respect can be easier if quality criteria are followed. 
  • The Urban Cycling Institute is of the view that public authorities should be guided by the goal of ensuring systematic safety for all users and increasing the predictability of the cycling network. Efforts should go in the direction of continual refinement, integrated accessibility, and improved urban livability.
  • Cycling paths easily beat car lanes from an economic perspective. According to current estimates, for every km driven in cities around the EU we spend 0,16 € while we gain 0,23 € for every km cycled.
  • Medium-sized cities like Tartu (Estonia) can increase the modal share of walking and cycling. The 2024 European Capital of Culture set targets beyond 2030 to make sure active modes of transport have the lion share in 2040, i.e. 47% of all transport modes, corresponding to a 17,5% growth from 2018 levels. Improving the safety of crossings for cyclists and pedestrians is seen as the best strategy to achieve long-term goals.
  • The case of Dublin (Ireland) shows that infrastructure access, safety and convenience are key factors to induce people to cycle in the first and last part of their commuting. To increase intermodality between bikes and public transport, a comprehensive accessibility review may be a desirable prerequisite for the successful implementation of cycle & ride solutions based on the identification of people’s real last-mile mobility needs
  • How to meet the growing demand for secured parking spaces for bikes in an effective and coherent way? Evidence from Victoria-Gasteiz (Spain) suggests that installation criteria for bike racks are indispensable. It also indicates that citizens’ mobilization and regulatory changes may be required and that implementing a surveilled network of smart parking spaces accessible via a mobile app can be part of the solution.  

The third and last edition of this webinar series is coming on the 4 February 2021. You’re welcome to join and find out more on behavioral change for cycling. Registrations are open!

Image credit: Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels