In September 2017 a delegation from Roermond visited the Scandinavian cities of Malmö, Copenhagen and Växjö. Purpose of the visit was to learn how these cities promote the use of sustainable mobility, especially in relation to the retail sector. The bike sharing program Bycyklen in Copenhagen was identified as a possible Good Practise to implement in Roermond and the whole region. “We are impressed with how integrated the bike sharing system in Copenhagen is.” says Raja Fick-Moussaoui, deputy mayor for Mobility and Sustainability in Roermond “The e-bikes aren’t just modes of transport, but also work as city guides, providing tourist information and even promotions from local retailers. But they aren’t just for tourists, also commuters and employees of local businesses use the bikes for trips through the city.”
The RESOLVE survey that Roermond held last spring shows that 10% of the visitors to the city centre travel by Public Transport and even 50% of the visitors are walking or cycling. This shows that it really pays off to invest in sustainable transport. All three cities stressed the importance of image for sustainable transport. Patrik Tidåsen, head of the transport department at Länstrafiken Kronoberg says “You can make your public transport system as attractive as you want, but if people feel like losers when they use it, they will keep using their cars.” In Malmö, Johan Edgren gave the delegation from Roermond the advice that investing in marketing of cycling may even be more cost effective than investing in infrastructure, at least if your basic infrastructure is in good shape.
Ten members of the local stakeholder group of the RESOLVE project joined the Study Visit. The delegation consisted of representatives of the Provinice of Limburg, city of Venlo, residents associations, major employers and of course the retail sector. Hans Strijbos, board member of the Business Improvement District Inner-city Roermond says it was an inspiring visit “That gave me a lot of new perspectives.” The delegation will soon evaluate the study visit and discuss the possibilities of implementing the lessons learned in our region.