The ABC project aims to improve accessibility of cities by integrating cycling into the multimodal transport system and strengthening a sustainable mobility culture. The project follows suggestions of the European GREEN PAPER “Towards a new culture for urban mobility” and implements measures to make towns and cities more fluid, greener, smarter, more accessible and safer, and to reduce traffic barriers.
In the minds of many decision makers cycling is still not seen as an emancipated transport sector which has to be planned, steered and supported in the same way as for other indisputable types of transport. Cycling was considered to be a local matter for many years and therefore the development in the cities has been very different. Different experiences, traditions and regulations concerning infrastructure, service and policy in the three participating cities Rostock, Kalmar and Gdansk are the background of the cross-border cooperation project. The three municipalities will jointly develop activities with two NGOs contributing knowledge about cycling and cyclists needs.
The ABC-partners will focus on two main topics:
- Integrating cycling into the multimodal transport system aims at improving conditions for cycling (infrastructure, service). The project partners will develop solutions together with experts (city and traffic planners, traffic engineers, mobility advisors and politicians). Beginning with a master plan the partners will elaborate action plans and plan, implement and evaluate hard and soft measures to integrate cycling. Local users and international experts are involved in a comprehensive participatory process and think tank workshops.
- Integrating cycling into the mobility culture aims at motivating people to cycle. The project partners will jointly develop and implement measures for awareness raising and capacity building, addressing inhabitants (employers, employees, pupils, students, teachers, parents and politicians) with target group oriented cycling campaigns, study trips and seminars for capacity building. An innovative CYCLING MONITOR will be developed to count cyclists and provide service facilities and information for users. This investment will be implemented in Rostock, Gdansk and Kalmar. Together with other counting facilities and a commonly developed evaluation method, the cycling monitor will measure the success of the project even in the long term.
The expected results are a measurable rising number of cyclists substituting car traffic, raised awareness about the potential of cycling in a multimodal transport system and a visible progress towards a sustainable mobility culture. Two associated organisations will help to disseminate the results in the South Baltic area.
Five partners in the South Baltic Region were cooperating for more than 3 years starting in 2011 and in the abc.multimodal project until end of 2014 aiming to integrate cycling into multimodal transport systems and mobility cultures starting in the participating cities of Gdansk (PL), Kalmar (SE) and Rostock (DE). Especially in Gdansk the impact of the project went beyond the partners’ expectations.
The influence on planning processes for the redesign of streets (Gdansk) was not originally planned in the project. It can be seen as a result a success from study trips to Copenhagen (DK)/ Malmö (SE), and Freiburg (DE)/ Basel (CH) where decision makers from the participating cities were inspired by these best practices to further support cycling and multimodality in their cities.
These results are very tangible for the inhabitants but also for experts from Poland visiting Gdansk as leading city for cycling promotion. In terms of cross-border exchange and cross-border cooperation the partners can proudly list three main achievements. These are for once the strengthened and deepened understanding, cooperation and knowhow exchange between cities in the project, some of which have a long history of twin cities. Secondly Cycling has become a more important part of multimodal transport policy in all participating countries. As third achievement decision makers in all participating countries are aware of the importance of transnational exchange in this work field, local impacts are benefits of the exchange. All three achievements will create long-term benefits for the South Baltic area.
Cycling and Cycling/multi-modality are a rather new topic for the South Baltic area and are still in its infancy. Involving the general public all three cities implemented cycling promotion campaigns involving also the NGO project partners the German cycling association (ADFC) from Rostock and the Polish Union of active Mobility (PUMA) from Gdansk. In Rostock a campaign to get Rostock citizens on their bikes was realised and the climate action day took place twice.
A further campaign concept was finalized and will be implemented in spring 2015. As part of the cycling campaigns two special designed cycling racks “Car-Bike-Ports“ were installed in Rostock and raised great public awareness showing that 10 bikes can be parked on the space for one parking car. In Gdansk the “Bike to work” campaign promoting daily cycling to work among Gdansk’s residents and a cycling campaign to promote safe parking as well as an awareness raising campaign on safe overtaking brought great awareness with the general public in the city. Moreover an educational campaign “Bike to kindergarten”.
The city of Kalmar (SE) followed a communication strategy which defined the overall target that cyclists should feel appreciated. The message when approaching the public was “Thank you for cycling”. Cyclists should be encouraged to continue cycling and also inspiring others to start cycling. Furthermore a campaign to improve road safety was carried out in cooperation with the Kalmar Police aiming to help increase the number of cyclists.
The most prominent output of the project demonstrating the cross-border effects to other interested parties and the general public is to be seen in the "Cycling implementation book". The book was disseminated during the international Velo-City conference 2015 in Nantes (F) and during the German National cycling congress 2015 in Potsdam (DE) and will be further disseminated.
After the finalisation of the project the partners assume that abc.multimodal has set new and important impulses in all partner cities contributing to a better awareness of a multimodal urban transport system and particularly cycling promotion. Transforming each of the cities into best practice cycling cities is a lengthy process that will require strong efforts in coming years.