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Copenhagen hopes to take lead as world's best cycling region

Photo: Cykling Embassy of Denmark
Seventeen local authorities and the Capital Region of Denmark are collaborating to create a network of bicycle commuter routes intended to get more people to cycle to work.
”On your bike!” is the message being directed at citizens in the Greater Copenhagen area.

The message is part of a new collaboration between 17 local authorities and the Capital Region in Denmark, who wish to create a network of bicycle commuter routes that encourage more people to bike to work.

The project has great ambitions, according to Maria Streuli, manager of the project secretariat coordinating the effort, which receives support from a national fund that promotes cycling activities as well as other sources.

"Our vision is to make the Copenhagen region the best cycling region in the world," she says.

Fast, enjoyable and safe

COWI is serving as consultant to the secretariat.

Henrik Grell, a traffic planner at COWI, says the project seeks to create routes that offer "fast, comfortable and safe service" for cyclists travelling long distances.

"To a great extent, the routes will make use of current roads and paths, but the routes will have to be optimised to make it more attractive to choose cycling as a means of transport."

These optimisation measures involve any number of options, including new or wider bike paths, regulation of traffic lights, better signposting and automatic cycle pumps.

Grell adds that there will also be information and GIS-based route maps on the homepage which COWI is setting up for the project.

According to Streuli, the target group is commuters cycling long distances to work.

"Most bicycle commuters only cycle up to five kilometres, so we need to reach out to those who have further to go to work,” she says.

Traffic planning and marketing
One of COWI’s tasks is to work with local authorities in drawing up a plan of the routes that will be optimised. They will then present a strategy that identifies the optimal way to improve the routes.

"In order to support the local authorities’ decisions to realise the routes, we are assessing what impact such restructuring will have. We are also evaluating the first route, the Albertslund route. Here we are preparing to realise a specific project in 2011," says Grell.

An important part of the project is also creating visibility and ownership among the project’s many stakeholders, which apart from the local authorities include future users, the Danish Road Directorate, the police and the Danish Cyclists’ Union.

This will be done using a homepage, newsletters and workshops, where the stakeholders will have a chance to engage in discussions with the parties in the project.

Direct dialogue
Marketing is essential to the success of the project, according to Grell. 

"All experience shows that physical initiatives and marketing must go hand in hand if people’s transport habits are to be modified," he says. "So we are designing and conducting a marketing campaign that will be supported by the homepage, where we can communicate directly with the users."

The project will run until 2011. The individual local authorities will then decide which of the initiatives they wish to turn into reality.

By Birgitta Herskind, bhs@cowi.com
Published 6 May 2010

Participants in the collaboration

The local authorities Albertslund, Ballerup, Brøndby, Dragør, Frederiksberg, Furesø, Gentofte, Gladsaxe, Glostrup, Herlev, Hvidovre, Ishøj, København, Lyngby-Taarbæk, Rudersdal, Rødovre and Vallensbæk as well as the Capital Region of Denmark.

LAST UPDATED: 16.09.2016