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Mobility and Transport

Selecting cycle measures for your city - Further considerations for applicability

The process of planning for cycling in cities, including the preparation of a cycling strategy, development of a cycle network and selecting cycle measures, is discussed at a high-level in{Planning for cycling in cities as Link}.

Each of the cycle measure factsheets contains a section on ‘considerations for applicability’, which are discussed in more detail below. When selecting cycle measures, practitioners should review these considerations within the context of their own cities.

Guidance is also provided below on potential measures that could be implemented within your city, depending on your city’s characteristics. Further details on each of the potential cycling measures can subsequently be found in the respective cycling measure factsheets.

[collapsed title=Level of cycling and cycling development]

The cycling conditions and the number of people who cycle determine the level of cycling development of a city. Typically, the cycling rate (modal share) increases as cycling conditions improve. Three types of city cycling development levels, based on modal share, are widely recognised and have been used in this study:

  • Starter (0-5% bicycle modal share)
  • Climber (5-20%)
  • Champion (20%+)

A city’s level of cycling development is likely to influence the actions that can be taken and the cycle measures that are considered for potential implementation. PRESTO (2010) PRESTO - Cycling Policy Guide Infrastructure provides a comprehensive overview of considerations for starter, climber and champion cities. A summary of the characteristics of cities at each level of cycling development and the recommended actions and potential cycle measures* are outlined below:

Cycling development level


Actions to take

Potential cycle measures*


  • Low cycling modal share
  • Little or no cycling provision, poor conditions for cycling
  • Heavy/fast traffic
  • Road design may be car orientated
  • Focus on cycling safety to improve actual and perceived safety of cyclists
  • Focus on directness of cycle infrastructure to attract people who do not cycle
  • Begin to provide for cyclists, increasing acceptance and uptake (e.g. fair treatment at traffic lights / retaining street space for bicycles)
  • Publicise any new infrastructure or improvements that are made


  • Medium cycling modal share
  • Varying levels of provision and conditions for cycling.
  • Focus on improving cycle network cohesion
  • Continue to expand and diversify cycling infrastructure
  • Support traffic management (priority for bicycles, restrictions for motorised vehicles) systems and online information
  • Focus on cycling and network promotion to attract new cyclists


  • High cycling modal share
  • Good levels of provision and conditions for cycling
  • Cyclists expect high-quality infrastructure supporting measures
  • Focus on comfort and attractiveness of cycle network
  • Upgrade existing infrastructure to improve quality
  • Reward cyclists for their cycling efforts (gamification, innovative measures)

* These are indicative measures deemed, in general, the most relevant for a given category of city. However, nothing prevents local authorities from considering the application of more ambitious actions and measures.


  • Brussels, Belgium (starter city) has taken steps to improve cycling in the city by commissioning a profiling study to identify the needs of local communities in the city with the aim to facilitate cycling and encourage people to cycle. The city has also started to introduce dedicated facilities for cyclists and pedestrians on the inner-city ring road (including parking and infrastructure). This has been at the expense of car traffic space and the development of car parking facilities, specifically at the city’s main train and metro stations.
  • Seville, Spain (climber city) has focussed on improving cohesion through developing a network of fully segregated bicycle paths, which connect the city's main trip attractors and residential areas within the city.
  • Malmö, Sweden (champion city), continues to improve cycling infrastructure and facilities in the city. For example, there has been a focus on improving the comfort and attractiveness of the cycling network through the provision of cycling priority passages (Cykelöverfart) that safeguard the right of way for cyclists and other bicycle lane users where bicycle lanes cross roads. Streets adapted for cycling using the principles of cycle streets have also been implemented to increase directness of cycle journeys and offer priority for cyclists.

The EU project CHAMP (Cycling Heroes Advancing sustainable Mobility Practice) has also identified a set of quick wins’ (see page 18) for cities on their journey to becoming a champion cycling city, learning from case study experiences.


[collapsed title=Urban layout / topography]

The physical features of a city, including the urban layout and topography, can act as barriers for cycling and influence which measures are suitable for implementation. Historic city centres often have narrow, one-way streets with restrictions in place for some transport modes. In these situations, less space intensive cycle infrastructure such as a cycle lane may be more suitable than a cycle track, which requires more space. Physical features such as rivers may also obstruct access and disrupt the directness and coherence of a cycling network. Except for some of electric bicycle users, people who cycle must provide the energy required to propel the bicycle forward. Therefore, hilly terrain that is tiring and slow to cycle across is likely to act as a barrier to cycling.

Urban layout/topography considerations for applicability and suggested cycle measures are outlined below:

Urban layout/topography

Potential cycle measures

Rivers and railway lines{Grade Separated Crossings as Link}

Strectches of major road networkHigh quality{1.2 Cycle tracks as Link} and{1.5 Intersections as Link}{1.4 Grade-separated crossings as Link}

Network of one-way streets{Contra-flow cycling as Link}

Historic centre with narrow streets{1.1 Cycle lanes as Link}{1.7 Mixed-use zones as Link}{Cycle Maps as Link}{Signage and Wayfinding as Link}{6.2 Cycle logistics as Link}

Traffic access restrictions{1.7 Mixed-use zones as Link}{1.8 Cycle streets as Link}{1.9 Multimodal integration as Link}{Signage and Wayfinding as Link}{6.2 Cycle logistics as Link}

Hilly terrain{1.9 Multimodal integration as Link}

Promotion of the use of electric bicycles, including{3.4 Cycle maps as Link}{3.5 Signage and wayfinding as Link}

Implementation of bicycle lifts


  • Agueda (Portugal) implemented the BeAgueda electric bike-sharing scheme, which helped to address issues relating to hilly terrain in the city.
  • Bregenz (Austria) installed two grade separated crossings to address physical obstructions in the cycle network. The first was a cycling bridge across a river, and the second was the repurposing of a disused railway tunnel for cycling, in order to avoid a steep climb and increase directness between two city districts.


[collapsed title=Population]

Understanding the local population and its needs is important in identifying any problems or challenges that require addressing and that may influence the applicability of cycle measures. Considerations include whether a city has seasonal population fluctuations due to tourism; whether there is a large population share of students; and a consideration of the city demographics, including children, working population, elderly and level of deprivation and affluence. Population considerations for applicability and suggested cycle measures are outlined below:


Potential cycle measures

Tourist destination

Cycle paths -{Cycle Lanes as Link} and{Cycle Tracks as Link} (to popular destinations){1.9 Multimodal integration as Link}{3.4 Cycle maps as Link}{3.5 Signage and wayfinding as Link}{6.1 Bicycle sharing schemes, including rental as Link}

Student population

Cycle routes (to schools/universities) ({Cycle Lanes as Link}{Cycle Tracks as Link}){2.1 Cycle parking as Link} at Universities

Facilities at educational establishments (see also{Provision of Facilities at Workplaces as Link}){3.1 Cycle information and awareness raising as Link}{6.1 Bicycle sharing schemes, including rental as Link}

Children{2.1 Cycle parking as Link} at schools{Provision of Information and Awareness Raising as Link}{3.2 Cycle events as Link}{3.3 Cycle training as Link}{3.4 Cycle maps as Link} (for children){3.5 Signage and wayfinding as Link}

Speed limits and{Traffic Restrictions and Charges as Link}

Working population{1.3 Cycle highways as Link} (for commuting){1.9 Multimodal integration as Link}{2.1 Cycle parking as Link} at workplaces{2.2 Provision of facilities at workplaces as Link}{3.1 Cycle information and awareness raising as Link}{Multimodal Integration as Link}{Traffic Restrictions and Charges as Link}, including parking(for commuting){5.2 Cycling subsidies as Link}

Elderly{1.2 Cycle tracks as Link} and{1.3 Cycle highways as Link} (for the safety issue){2.1 Cycle parking as Link}{Cycle Maps as Link} (for elderly){Signage and Wayfinding as Link} (for elderly)

General public{Provision of Information and Awareness Raising as Link}{Cycle Events as Link}{Cycle Training as Link}{Cycle Maps as Link}


  • Bregenz (Austria) A cycling track was implemented at Lake Constance, Austria, partially in relation to its high tourist population.
  • Malmö (Sweden) A range of promotional and educational measures aimed at different population demographics were implemented in Malmö, including ‘Bicycling without age’ (aimed at the elderly) and cycle training for adults.
  • Budapest (Hungary) The Mol Bubi bike-sharing scheme was implemented in Budapest, where approximately 10% of its users are tourists.
  • Brighton (UK) The Old Shoreham Road cycle track in Brighton provides a safe route for young people to travel to school on foot or by bike.


[collapsed title=Finance, time and human resources]

Identifying and securing finance and dedicating time and human resources (which also incur a cost) to plan, design, implement and maintain cycling measures can be a significant factor in the decision-making process for cities. Compared to other transport infrastructure such as major highways and public transport projects, cycling is relatively inexpensive. However, depending on the scale of infrastructure required or the scope of the measure being implemented, it can still incur substantial costs. Therefore, when considering the applicability of cycling measures the finance, time and human resources involved should also be considered. Both capital funding, for the implementation of infrastructure/measures and revenue funding, for the ongoing running/maintenance of measures, are required. Sometimes there are methods of capitalising revenue costs, such as staff time, although these methods differ across Europe.

The cycle measure factsheets give an indication of the finance and time and human resources required for implementation and ongoing maintenance of the measures, although this is likely to vary significantly depending on city context and scale of the project.


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

PRESTO (2010) PRESTO - Cycling Policy Guide General Framework

20 JULY 2021
(372.96 KB - PDF)

(see Chapter 3)

Deffner, Jutta; Hefter, Tomas; Rudolph, Christian; Ziel, Torben Eds. (2012): Handbook on cycling inclusive planning and promotion. Capacity development material for the multiplier training within the mobile2020 project.

20 JULY 2021
(32.57 MB - PDF)

(also available in BG, CZ, EE, HR, LV, HU, PL, RO, SI, SK)

PRESTO (2010) PRESTO - Cycling Policy Guide Infrastructure

20 JULY 2021
(1.2 MB - PDF)

CIVITAS MIMOSA (2013) Enabling Cycling Cities: Ingredients for success

20 JULY 2021
(8.62 MB - PDF)

KonSULT Decision Makers Guidebook

KonSULT Measure Option Generator

FLOW Project (2016) The role of walking and cycling in reducing congestion: A portfolio of measures

20 JULY 2021
(8.39 MB - PDF)

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) guidelines