Member in the Spotlight: New ambitions and new actions for cycling in Aalborg

The development of the Cycling Action Plan was initiated in 2012 and has been carried out during spring 2013.

Engaging with citizens and stakeholders

“Aalborg is a municipality with 200,000 citizens – and sometimes you feel like all of them are engaged in traffic planning”, Anne Marie Lautrup Nielsen says as one of the first things, and compares it with Denmark as a nation of 6 million football managers. “In the process of making this plan we wanted to listen to what they are saying trying to create a process with focus on inclusion”.

A wide range of citizens representing many groups were invited to a dedicated cycling workshop in March, and in April, more than 350 comments were received on Facebook through a hearing on how to improve the conditions for cyclists and how to improve the infrastructure for cyclists. Even though it is not the first workshop about cyclism held in Aalborg (i.e. the Civitas ARCHIMEDES workshop for planning the commuter cycling route in Aalborg), it is new to discuss more overall objectives and how to achieve them with citizens.

The City of Aalborg has the last couple of years successfully worked with public participation through the city's Facebook page. The work with the Cycling Action Plan was another way of activating the public in the work; “Facebook showed out to be a good way of getting input to the work in a easy accessible way for people. In a traditional hearing we would only have had a fraction of the input we got through Facebook” explains Anne Marie Lautrup Nielsen.

A priority list of cycling infrastructure has been developed using a modeling tool, and some of the proposed improvements from the public engagement also ended up on the prioritised list. “We wanted to enhance ownership to the objectives and the plan among our stakeholders – this should be considered as a plan for everyone in Aalborg – not just a plan for the planners”, Anne Marie Lautrup Nielsen says. You can read the plan in Danish here.

Ambitious goals and monitoring

The plan is built around a very few, but very specific and detailed goals. Three of the goals are linked to the overall municipal strategies on environment and health while the six goals are linked to five focus areas in the plan:

  • Commuting
  • Multi modality
  • Children on bikes
  • Traffic safety
  • Leisure cycling

The goals are SMART, and are both short termed and long termed, and in addition reflect a united way of approaching cycling planning. All goals have a long term strategic perspective of 2025 and a short term milestone in 2017 where the plan (and the objectives) will also be revised. Anne Marie Lautrup Nielsen says: “It has been important for us, to develop a plan that is measurable. All our indicators are measured with data that we know can and will be collected. We do this for more reasons: we want to show clear results of the money being invested in cycling, and we also want to see and show not the least, that the city is moving in the right direction”.

The approach is not new, but this time there has been put a more visible emphasis on the results of the initiatives in the plan. Sadly, a lot of mobility plans are ambitious, but with long term objectives, that are never followed up.

Goals 2012 2017 2025
Number of cyclists in the City of Aalborg (Index) 100 103 110
The maximum number of injured cyclists in Aalborg municipality 37 22 19
Number of citizens using the bike more than once a week 44 % 50 % 60 %
The share of citizens who are satisfied or very satisfied with the infrastructure network in Aalborg Municipality 49 % 55 % 60 %
The share of children driven to school by car (in urban and rural areas respectively)

25 %

31 %

20 %

25 %

15 %

20 %

The share of commuting trips made on bicycle in Aalborg/Nørresundby 27 % 30 % 40 %
The share of trips where cycling and public transport are combined 0.4 % 2 % 5 %
The share of leisure trips made by bicycle 14 % 17 % 20 %
The share of leisure trips longer than 5 kilometres made by bicycle 5 % 7 % 10 %



The Tide project

Aalborg is also participating as a champion city in the TIDE project, with the measure “Fast Cycling Lanes”. “Fast cycling lanes is not only about wide segregated lanes where you can go as fast as possible – it is also about accessibility, shortcuts and creating a complete cycling network that encourage you to cycle” explains Anne Marie Lautrup Nielsen; that is one of the outcomes from the Civitas ARCHIMEDES project. The TIDE project enables Aalborg to investigate this further and thereby complement the initiatives in the Cycling Action Plan. It can also form an expanded focus for the Cycling Action Plan 2017 in order to reach the objectives of the city.

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