By Pavlina Dravecka / Updated: 17 Feb 2015

Why do some European cities have a much higher share of cycling compared to other cities with the same characteristics? How did champion cities in cycling become the leading cycling cities they are today? These are questions that the CHAMP project would like to answer in order to see how these leading cycling cities’ successes and failures can help other cities to become future cycling champions.

CHAMP, a European project funded under the Intelligent Energy for Europe Programme, brings together champion cities in the field of cycling. By looking at their counterparts in Europe, the CHAMP cities want to find ways to upgrade and optimise their cycle policy and collect new ideas for making cycling even safer and more attractive.

Cities cannot reach new goals and further improve their performance if they do not have a clear overview of their starting point and their strengths and weaknesses in the field of cycling. CHAMP has therefore developed and tested a performance assessment tool, which builds on two elements: a self-analysis and a peer review. After filling in a questionnaire on the current state of their cycling policy, each CHAMP city hosted a peer review team that tested the city’s cycling facilities and learned more about the underlying dynamics between different stakeholders. Both activities provided the necessary insight into the cities’ cycling policies as the basis for a performance analysis. The performance analysis revealed strengths and weaknesses in their cycling policies, as a baseline for setting new goals and to put cities on track towards further improvements in their cycling policy.

Although all CHAMP cities have already taken considerable steps to promote cycling, the gap analysis revealed that the development of cycling infrastructure alone is not enough to encourage people to cycle. Complementary actions need to be implemented, such as well-targeted promotion campaigns, innovative parking solutions and evaluation processes. It also became clear that after reaching a certain level of cycling, the co-existence between cycling and pedestrians cannot be overlooked. The measures that will soon be implemented in the CHAMP project aim to address these specific gaps.

The performance analysis also led to the development of a tool that allows other cycling cities to reflect on their current bicycle strategy, as a first step in determining the measures they should focus on when further improving their cycling strategy. This tool bundles all elements that are important in a comprehensive cycling policy and thereby allows identification of strengths and weaknesses. It is available at

Building on the gap analysis, all seven CHAMP cities have recently completed their cycling strategy, identifying important elements and measures needed for further improving cycling conditions within their city. During the next year, the CHAMP cities will each implement two innovative cycling measures to address the identified gaps in their cycling policy. The cities have just finalised their measure implementation plans, including clear and measurable targets for each measure. The CHAMP measures cover a wide range of areas, as can be seen in the table below:


CHAMP cities Current modal share Cycling measures Bolzano 29% Strategy for involving users Awareness-raising campaign Burgos 4% Marketing campaign Coexistence between cyclists for students Edinburgh 2% Marketing of routes Residential bike parking Groningen 47% Route based cycle promotion Creative bicycle parking solutions Kaunas 2% Upgrade of the bicycle website Mobile trip planner Ljubljana 10% Campaign: I walk the path you cycle Bicycle Account Örebro 25% Campaign ”Healthy cyclists” Method for monitoring and evaluation, including bicycle account

Method for monitoring and evaluation, including bicycle account

There will be a transfer of experiences between the cities during the implementation process and all cities will have hands-on training and internships in the coming months. Further, CHAMP's internal training and exchange programme will be made available to a selected number of cities from outside the consortium. Visit the CHAMP-website for info on the exchange programme. A final evaluation of the measures is planned at the beginning of 2014, focusing on lessons learned, which can be shared with other cities within and outside the consortium.

CHAMP will document how cycling policy in cities develops over time and how impetus may be maintained. This includes giving advice on how to maintain the momentum of a high quality cycling strategy over a long period and on possible barriers and drivers in relation to good and safe cycling practice. They will also provide reliable data on the possible impacts of soft measures to promote cycling, examine the transferability of policies, and assess the costs of a successful cycling action plan. Contact us if you’re interested!