New Knowledge to Boost Walking and Cycling

One hundred professionals from across Europe gather in Brussels tomorrow, 9 May, to discuss and learn about user needs in multimodal transport systems. The conference reveals new insights on the impact transport interventions have and how people choose their mode of transport.

The European conference “Modal choice in a multimodal transport system” takes place in central Brussels at Les Ateliers des Tanneurs. The event is organised by Polis under a research programme supported by the Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR).

Topics include the impact of transport interventions and of new technologies, user needs and new mobility services such as bike- and e-scooter sharing. New tools developed within the funded ISAAC and STTRIDE projects will be launched, namely the ‘PedBikePlanner’, the STTRIDE framework to evaluate the impact of new technologies and a toolkit of investment options. Results of a new extensive user survey, that was carried out within the ISAAC project, will also be presented for the first time tomorrow. Please see next page for details on the conference takeaways.

Earlier today, officials from 16 European cities and regions exchanged experiences at a Polis workshop on increasing active travel modes, but also how to improve the safety of unprotected road users.

Tonight, in the presence of Brussels Capital Region’s Minister for Mobility, a documentary on cycling is screened at the Vendome Cinema, which explores why people choose to get around by bike. “Cities such as Brussels should drastically redistribute public space: from a city for cars towards a city for people and cycling. Therefore, urban cycling should be made easy and sexy”, says Pascal Smet.

These events are held during the UN Global Road Safety Week (6-12 May) to demonstrate that modal shift towards more walking and cycling plays a major role in improving road safety. Fewer vehicle kilometres reduce the likelihood of trauma from road crashes, especially for unprotected road users. “Promoting walking and cycling is important but not enough. Authorities on local, regional and national level must also invest in making city streets safer”, says Karen Vancluysen, Secretary General at Polis.

The conference will be web streamed from 9 May, 9.30h via www.polisnetwork.eu/webstream

New tools will improve decision-making
At tomorrow’s conference, the ‘PedBikePlanner’ will be launched, a tool that has been developed within the ISAAC project and that provides planners with evidence-based information about the impact of transport interventions on modal shift and road safety. “Before ‘PedBikePlanner’, transport planners needed to search through vast amounts of fragmented information, which was very time-consuming and biased. This tool will save them lots of time and improve the decisions that are made”, says Tim de Ceunynck, researcher at VIAS institute, Belgium. A framework to evaluate the impact of new technologies and a toolkit of investment options for authorities were developed within the STTRIDE project. Conference delegates will receive training to use the ‘PedBikePlanner’ (www.pedbikeplanner.eu) and the STTRIDE tools (https://sttride.trl.co.uk/).

What about e-scooters?
With the rise of new mobility services such as bike- and e-scooter sharing, conference delegates will also discuss how micromobility services impact the transport system, and which regulation is best suited to help achieve policy goals.

Walking and cycling must not be lumped together
Results of a new extensive user survey, that was carried out within the ISAAC project, will also be presented for the first time tomorrow. It has been found that people’s reasons not to walk more frequently for short trips differ strongly from not cycling more often. For cycling, road safety is the main barrier, while for walking, travel time is perceived too long. While lowering any barrier will have benefits for both, the study makes it clear that a powerful strategy aimed at boosting cycling will be different from a strategy for walking.

The representative survey was conducted in nine European cities, i.e. Ghent, Liège, Tilburg, Groningen, Trondheim, Bergen, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Berlin.

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