The mobility office in Aalborg has been working on the Action Plan since spring 2013, together with representatives from all relevant technical departments, who came together to form a project group. New approaches to local mobility planning have been applied to the process to ensure the plan makes a difference.
A wide range of citizens were invited to a dedicated cycling workshop in March, and in April, more than 350 comments were received on Facebook through consultation 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 cycling held in Aalborg (i.e. there has been the Civitas ARCHIMEDES workshop for planning the commuter cycling route in Aalborg), the discussion of more overall objectives and how to achieve them with citizens is new.
In the last couple of years, the City of Aalborg has successfully worked with public participation through the city’s Facebook page. The work with the Cycling Action Plan was another way of reaching the public. For the city, Facebook has been a good way of getting input for the plan in a way that is easy and accessible for the general public. The city says, that in traditional consultation, they would only have had a fraction of the input they got through Facebook.
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. This has been done in order to enhance ownership of the objectives and the plan among the stakeholders of the city. The city states that this should be considered as a plan for everyone in Aalborg – not just a plan for the planners.
The plan is built around 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 term and long term and, in addition, reflect a united way of approaching cycle planning. All goals have a long term strategic perspective until 2025 and a short term milestone up to 2017 when the plan (and the objectives) will also be revised.
It was important for the city to develop a plan where the impact can be measured. All indicators are measured with data that can and will be collected. This is also done for other reasons: the city wants to show clear results from the money being invested in cycling, and not least to show that the city is moving in the right direction.
The approach is not new, but this time more emphasis has been put on the results of the initiatives in the plan. Sadly, a lot of ambitious mobility plans, with long term objectives, are never followed up upon.
Aalborg is also participating as a champion city in the TIDE project, with the measure “Fast Cycling Lanes”. 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.