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Member in the Spotlight: How fast cycling in Gelderland encourages modal shift

28 September 2017

Sjors van Duren is Policy Advisor for the Province of Gelderland in the Netherlands and Programme Director of Velo-city 2017, the major cycling conference that takes place from 13-16th of June in the Arnhem and Nijmegen Region. He tells Florinda Boschetti more about his job as the lead Cycling Officer and Programme Director of the world’s leading cycling event.

In 2014, the-then 29-year old Sjors van Duren was awarded as the Netherlands’ ‘Best Civil Servant of the Year’. This is some achievement for someone of such a tenderage so, Thinking Cities wondered,who is the man behind this prestigious prize? “At that time I was a trafficand transport consultant at theArnhem-Nijmegen City Region andI was elected winner by the professional jury of Public Mission magazine,
chaired by Jacques Wallageamong 100 best civil servants of theNetherlands. I was, according tothe jury, “a young, enterprising civil servant, who believes in an idea and knows how to realize that idea,” and “an out-of-the-box thinker with an unstoppable amount of energy.”

Today Van Duren is Policy Advisorat the Province of Gelderland where he coordinates cycling policy in the Arnhem-Nijmegen City Region and it’s clear that he his dynamic enthusiasm isn’t even close to showingsigns of wearing out.“I work closely with local governments and the national governmentto get broad (political) support for the development of the provincial cycling plans. I also contribute to the work of the CROW/KpVV (a not-for-profit organization in the Netherlands, thetechnology platform for transport,infrastructure and public space)and the Dutch Cycling Embassy, todevelop and spread knowledge oncycling; especially on the relationbetween spatial planning, land useand cycling,” he elucidates.

“I was a pioneer in the realization of fast cycling routes betweenthe cities of Arnhem and Nijmegen:The RijnWaalpad. Together with four municipalities, a Province and the local representatives of the Dutch Cyclists union, €17m was invested in a 16km-long super cycle highway.The goal is to change the behaviour
of commuters, from driving their cars to riding their bikes. TheRijnWaalpad is a testing ground for cycling-innovations: an interactive app, new designs for tunnels and lighting. I also contributed to the realization of the cycling tunnel under the A15 highway which is part of the RijnWaalpad. There is an interactive light sculpture in this tunnel that is essentially a network of LED units that can light up in various colours.With the BicycleBuddy smartphone app cyclists can choose their own favourite colour. By passing the tunnel more often you can collect more colours to choose from. In this way cycling on the RijnWaalpad is rewarding and fun.”

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