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Mobility and Transport


A bicycle/cycling steering group guides and supports the implementation of cycling measures and the promotion of cycling within a city.

Considerations for applicability

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Level of cycling

The development of bicycle steering groups is likely to benefit cities with both low and high levels of cycling. When cycling levels are low, bicycle steering groups can assist in the initial activities related to identifying and addressing challenges for cycling in the city. In cities with high levels of cycling, their role may be more focussed on identifying further improvements that can be made, and the dissemination of best practice to other cities.

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Urban layout/topography


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Finance Resources

There may be significant operating costs to cover salaries and rent. This will vary depending on the type of activities, responsibilities and size of the steering group. In some cases steering group roles will be voluntary or within the scope of existing job roles, especially within the public sector.

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Time & Human Resources

Significant ongoing time and human resources are required. The activities of a steering group can range from identifying challenges through to the implementation of measures and ongoing evaluation of the cycling activity. The number of individuals in a steering group can also be large due to the range of activities and the number of stakeholders that need to be represented.

The Active Mobility Unit in the city of Gdansk is made up of 10 people, while the cycle superhighway Secretariat in Copenhagen is much larger, representing 23 municipalities.

Measure impact highlight

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Modal share

A bicycle steering group is effective in supporting and improving the implementation of infrastructural and promotional cycling measures. Across all cycling measures, increasing modal share is the common impact that will result from successful implementation and so a steering group can be considered important for maximising possible increases in modal share.

Note: An overview of the direct and indirect impacts resulting from correctly implemented cycling measures is available in{Challenges that cities face and how cycling can address them as Link}.

In-depth measure analysis, case studies and further guidance

[collapsed title=Detailed description of the measure]

Key features

Bicycle steering groups are typically comprised of cycle experts, local residents, government officials, and academics. They can be formed to support a specific cycling measure, cycle strategy, or all the cycling activity within a city. The group may independently focus on cycling or be part of a wider organisation that considers, for example, active mobility. The focus of Main Plan B in Bregenz was initially on cycling but has now expanded to include all forms of sustainable mobility.

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Function and objectives

Bicycle steering groups can coordinate the planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting of cycling activities. Monitoring is an important activity that helps to improve knowledge and understanding of cycling in a city, which can subsequently foster innovation. Bicycle steering groups are often active in involving stakeholders and engaging with the public. For example, the Mein Plan B network engages with target groups from kindergartens, schools and local companies. The SUTP Fact Sheet T-02 also describes in detail the importance of stakeholder involvement and the involvement process.

Complementary measures

Bicycle steering groups overlap with, and compliment, other organisational measures such as a bicycle network development strategy, subsidies, and monitoring and evaluation activities. Fundamentally, they can also support the implementation of all cycle measures.

See also further guidance on{Bicycle Policy Audit (BYPAD) as Link}, which includes bicycle steering groups.


PRESTO guidance recommends that city authorities build constructive alliances with local cyclists, retailers and cycling associations. Through their experiences, they are in a good position to support a city’s cycling activities, including planning, implementation and promotion (PRESTO). As demonstrated by the Bicycle Programme in Copenhagen, engagement with the local population is an important activity that has allowed planners to understand the reality of what is happening on the ground. The Secretariat in Copenhagen has also used engagement to effectively raise awareness of the superhighway network and evaluate the performance of the measure.

A bicycle steering group can also encourage effective coordination within a cycling project. The Secretariat in Copenhagen has been influential in facilitating the development of a consistent and coherent superhighway cycling network across the region. Collaboration between municipalities is likely to strengthen competence and enable possible synergies to be exploited (SUTP, factsheet T-01).

Parameters of success or failure

The Central MeetBike project highlighted that the success of bicycle promotion depends in part on the expertise of the city administration. Therefore, a bicycle steering group or organisational network will benefit from the involvement of the city administration (SUTP T-01).

It is important that bicycle steering groups have political and financial support, although this can be a challenge. As shown in the Copenhagen case study, the Secretariat receives financial support from the regional government, which has encouraged the municipalities in the region to collaborate. The funding is reviewed every four years and so long-term financial stability is not secure.

For a cycling steering group to operate effectively, it is important that the group can collaborate internally and externally. This may be through good relationships with stakeholders or a broad representation of stakeholders within the group. In Copenhagen, The Bicycle Programme regularly meets with local communities, cycling groups and public transport groups, and the Secretariat has effectively brought together 23 municipalities to collaborate. In Bregenz, employing non-municipal agencies and offices to support the management of Mein Plan B and its actions has helped the coordination of the municipalities.

Key Lessons for Transferability

The steering group should aim to represent a number of stakeholders and local organisations, including the municipal administration.


[collapsed title=Case studies]

[collapsed title=Active Mobility Unit (Gdansk, Poland)]

  • Location: Central Europe
  • Population: Large Urban Area (1.1 million)
  • Cycling modal share: Climber (6%, 2009)

Following the completion of its first bicycle policy audit ({Bicycle Policy Audit (BYPAD) as Link}) in 2010, the City of Gdansk created the Active Mobility Unit. They are a team of ten people, responsible for soft- and hard-measures on cycling and walking and supporting EU co-funded projects in the city.


[collapsed title=Bike Programme (Copenhagen, Denmark)]

  • Location: North Europe
  • Population: Large Urban Area (1.9 million)
  • Cycling modal share: Champion (30%, 2014)

The municipality has a Bicycle Programme that coordinates all cycling-related activities across the municipality of Copenhagen. It is responsible for collaborating with external parties, local stakeholders, national organisations, the private sector and international organisations and networks.

Engagement with local stakeholders is essential for the success of the Bicycle Programme, as it enables them to know what is happening on the ground and ensures that it has the perspective of end users. There are regular meetings with local community councils, the Cycling Federation and Pedestrians Association, as well as with the car lobby and public transport associations. It is also important to consider the cross-sectoral perspective, which includes socio-economic benefits, health, environmental, social and cultural interests. For example, The Bicycle Programme work with the Danish Industry Association to study how cycling can help business - for example, through healthier employees and reduced congestion.

For larger plans and strategies, the Bicycle Programme hosts working groups with local neighbourhood councils and engages with stakeholder groups, including those representing people with reduced mobility. Regular meetings are important to ensure that a clear dialogue is maintained.

Cycle Superhighways Secretariat (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Copenhagen also initiated a Secretariat to act as the focal point and facilitator for the development of the regional cycle superhighway network. It is a voluntary collaboration of 23 municipalities - 75% funded by the Capital Region and 25% funded by the municipalities. Funding is reviewed every four years and, as noted above, it is heavily reliant on the region. The lack of long-term financial security for the secretariat is a concern.

While it cannot finance the development of infrastructure, it supports a number of soft measures, collaboration and analysis. Actions include:

  • Engaging in dialogue with users and listening to political and administrative voices in the municipalities.
  • Marketing and awareness campaigns, including meeting commuters on-route to spread the word about long-distance cycle commuting.
  • Evaluations before and after a new route is opened, which involves counting cyclists and interviews.

It was challenging to bring together the relevant municipalities, but the financial support of the region encouraged the municipalities to collaborate. Without this collaboration, it would have been difficult to develop a consistent and coherent network across the region.


[collapsed title=Bregenz, Austria - Mein Plan B]

  • Location: North, North West
  • Population: Small urban area (29,562)
  • Cycling Modal Share: Champion (20%, 2014)

Mein Plan B is a network of six municipalities whose aim is to promote sustainable urban mobility. The municipalities involved (Bregenz, Lauterach, Wolfurt, Kennelbach and Schwarzach) represent 65,000 inhabitants, almost half of which reside in Bregenz. The Province of Vorarlberg also supports this municipal cooperation. The six municipalities share the costs of the various cycling projects implemented, with additional co-funding provided by the Province of Vorarlberg. The costs of the projects have varied greatly, as have the time and human resources required.

The work of Mein Plan B focuses on connecting mobility with other areas such as health, traffic safety and local amenities and combining these with regional mobility management approaches. Target groups include kindergartens and schools, companies, local administration, and leisure activity providers.

Until 2014, the focus of Mein Plan B was mainly on cycling and it now includes all forms of sustainable mobility. Between 2008 and 2012, the cycling focus was planned and carried out in a programme with a budget of €4 million. This included co-operation and coordination of infrastructure network conditions, but mainly soft measures such as:

  • Development a cycling map of the Plan B region
  • Collecting and disseminating information on cycling developments
  • Promoting cycling equipment such as trailers
  • Deploying mobile bicycle parking facilities
  • Implementing bicycle markets, bicycle competitions and further promotional activities
  • Developing a cycling navigation app and online cycling routing software

In order for the measure to be transferable, mutual trust and a well-structured level of cooperation among the municipalities is required. Employing non-municipal agencies and offices for management has assisted in this matter.

Mein Plan B relied on several municipalities, the Province of Vorarlberg and a wide range of supporting stakeholders, to form a network interested in fostering sustainable mobility. Its creation enabled cycling development to happen beyond the administrative levels of municipalities and regions, and instead establish a non-legislative collaboration for cycling promotion to exploit mutual interest and economies of scale in the region. Mein Plan B established collaboration and agreement on the focus for cycling and where actions should be supported by municipal implementation.

The activities have raised the profile of cycling and motivated the local population to cycle - more than 3,000 children and 40 companies have been involved in the activities of Mein Plan B.



[collapsed title=Key guidance, further reading and references]

PRESTO - PRESTO Cycling Policy Guide, General Framework

20 JULY 2021
(372.96 KB - PDF)

SUTP T-01 - Incorporate Cycling into City Administration

20 JULY 2021
(850.6 KB - PDF)

SUTP T-02 – Stakeholder Involvement

20 JULY 2021
(1.22 MB - PDF)

Sustrans (2015) Sustrans Design Manual Chapter 13: Community and stakeholder engagement for infrastructure projects

20 JULY 2021
(603.41 KB - PDF)