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Enabling the transferability of cycling innovations and assessment of its implications

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Handshake (Enabling the transferability of cycling innovations and assessment of its implications)

Reporting period: 2020-03-01 to 2021-02-28

In all corners of Europe, cities face alarming levels of congestion and air pollution and a scarcity of public space, whilst urban environments remain dangerous for vulnerable road users.

Cycling is a powerful way to address these challenges and steer cities towards being more sustainable, equitable and economically prosperous places for citizens. Handshake helps cities of all types become more liveable places, improving conditions for cycling as an everyday mode of transport.

Handshake will achieve this by improving the quality of both cycling infrastructure and communications through identifying innovation in areas such as intelligent transport systems, bike sharing, modelling, bike parking, socio-economic assessment and governance and decision-making.
During the first 30months of work, Handshake developed the manifold streams of project activity, identifying the cycling status baseline in each city and structuring the supporting mechanism to sustain the knowledge transfer and the cycling solutions implementation.

In the start-up phase of the project, WP1 and task 4.1 worked synergistically to define the benchmarking cycling state-of-affair in each city, and an analysis and precise definition of the cycling solutions to be transferred from CCs to FCCs, identifying the areas in which inspiration and capacity building are most needed.

Simultaneously, the consortium set up the knowledge exchange mechanisms that accompany the project and sustain the cycling solutions transfer:
• An inspirational, motivational and empowering programme of mentorship.
• A concatenation of highly innovative methods brought together into an original and structured pathway, which includes bikenomics, immersive study tours and symposia, transition management, ethics and equity guidelines.

The second reporting period (RP2) has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, disrupting project and partners activities and changing working habits. Progressively partners adapted to the new reality and they have been empowered and intensified mentoring and cross-city discussion through multiple online platforms for virtual collaboration. By fall 2020, the project was successfully able to hold online a number of critical knowledge share and transfer events, some of which newly designed, including thematic workshops gathering the technical staffs of the cycling capital cities.

The actual rollout of cycling solutions suffered considerable delays in roughly half of the project measures, which are still being noticed. At the same time, Covid-19 proved to be an unexpected ally in that, to compensate for the predicament in which public transport found itself, it favoured the proliferation of several cycling-supportive initiatives, including the so-called pop-up cycling lanes (temporary lanes promoting socially distanced mobility), traffic calming and pedestrianisations.

In this period, Handshake also enjoyed expanding visibility in Europe and beyond, with numerous cycling organisations reaching out to explore possibilities of cooperation (e.g. Climate KIC, UFGC, UCI, ECF). Policy and scientific-relevant insights have been collected to boost the effective takeup of cycling in urban mobility planning. In particular, a self-assessment tool to assess cities' capacity for cycling solution development has been designed in a city-driven and highly participatory manner. Finally, Handshake kept promoting attractive, easy-to-digest formats the interesting and valuable information generated by the specialised and motivational exchange among world-renowned cycling front runner organisations and highly committed cities.

By the end of the year, the project realised that to compensate for the two main setbacks caused by the pandemic, 1) the occurrence of delays in roughly fifty per cent of the cycling solutions (though most of them of minor concern), and 2) the postponement of all immersive events, at least 6-month extension would be necessary.
The transfer and implementation of Handshake’s solutions have been positively progressing through intensive collegial and bilateral knowledge share. Major delays have been experienced by solutions that require face-to-face contacts and interactions such as educational activities, bike-to-work campaigns, behavioural campaigns, public events/gatherings and study tours. Disruptions to the overall transfer progress have been limited and the COVID-19 pandemic has, in many places, provided a boost to local cycling ambitions. On monitored bicycle paths in Europe between 2020 and 2019, bicycle counts have grown on average by +8%.
Although a more accurate estimate of the net effect of Handshake will only be determined after the execution of the ex-post assessment, we expect that current growth in active travel will be sustained throughout the year leading to a positive feedback loop that strengthens bicycle infrastructure demand, reduces car use and helps to “normalise” the image of cycling. Ultimately, such growth will facilitate the meeting of the project’s targets.

Regarding Handshake targets:
• Modal share rebalancing is expected to increase significantly compared to the baseline. Handshake innovative solutions will be strengthened by synergistic effects of local pro-cycling interventions and disaffection with public transit.
• Cycling attractiveness is expected to increase moderately compared to baseline. Cycling frequency will increase as a result of behavioural actions aimed at stimulating bicycle use that shall accompany the implementation of infrastructure measures.
• Cycling competitiveness is expected to increase moderately. The roll-out of both temporary pop-up bike lanes and a more permanent solution will greatly reduce travel times compared to car driving.
• Public health is expected to increase significantly. The lockdown has increased physical inactivity levels, hence stimulating cycling will have an even increased benefit in terms of improved quality of life and public health savings.
• Cycling safety is expected to be stable. The effects will be studied carefully case by case. However, we expect that cities that started with low or very low levels of cycling will likely experience a short-term increase in the number of crashes as cycling levels increase.
• Social safety and comfort are expected to increase moderately. Higher bicycle volumes will be met by an increased feeling of social safety, while the improvements both in terms of quality and design of bike infrastructures will likely result in an increased perception of comfort.
• Accessibility is expected to increase slightly. Road arteries being redesigned to accommodate cycling infrastructure will enable a higher flow of people at a cheaper travel cost towards the destinations located along the intervention area.
• Productivity is expected to increase significantly. As a result of increased physical activity, employers will benefit from more productive employees, while workers will experience fewer sick days.
• Economic growth is expected to increase. Higher revenues from shopping areas located in the proximity of the intervention areas as well as positive net social benefits compared to the value of the investment by cities.
• CO2 emission is expected to decrease. Improved air quality is expected as a result of the modal shift occurring in the intervention areas.
Greater Manchester
Dutch family cycling
Handshake Infographic