Boosting Starter Cycling Cities: Research & Development for supporting urban planners
Despite the increasing recognition of the potential of cycling for a more sustainable urban mobility, starter cycling cities are still struggling with finding the right approach to bring about change. Having no cycling tradition and technical know-how, these cities face the hardest challenge of overcoming the existing resistance and normalizing cycling. Some cities attempt to make timid efforts towards cycling, but usually limiting actions to less effective measures, such as building cycling infrastructure in parks or waterfronts (leisure oriented) or providing symbolic bike-sharing systems, lacking the right political and social commitment to a real change. This paper draws on research conducted for project ‘BooST – Boosting Starter Cycling Cities’, having Portugal as a target country where all cities are ‘starters’, and will present two tools under development as part of a ‘Starter City Roadmap’ to support them in reaching the next level of bicycle use. First, the assessment framework of the Gross Potential for Cycling (GPC) provides a raw analysis of the baseline conditions for cycling in any city with limited or no cycling strategies in place. It focuses on the gross potential instead of user satisfaction and infrastructure assessment commonly used for ‘champion cities’. Second, the selection framework for mobility management measures will provide support in the identification of measures for promoting cycling best suited to starter city contexts and tailored to their GPC. The research contributes to the discussion on how to make cycling an intergenerational mode of transport accessible to everyone from the specific perspective of starter cycling cities, instead of approaching them from the lens of champion cities.
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