Reviving one of Copenhagen's most important thoroughfares (Denmark)


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Par News Editor / Mis à jour: 18 Jun 2015

Norrebrogade is a busy main street serving two functions - the first one, as a major commercial centre with over 300 shops, cafes and restaurants the second one - as a major traffic artery. Neither function had been catered satisfactorily. The street was revitalised by widening the pavements and bike paths and extending the length of bus-only lanes.

Background & Objectives



Norrebrogade is a unique street that was characterised by seemingly endless compromise between conflicting approaches. The pavements were narrow for much of the road’s length, leading to conflicts between cyclists and people getting on and off the buses. To solve the problem, in 2006 the City of Copenhagen decided to develop a plan to regenerate Norrebrogade. This work was carried out between 2007 and 2008, when the municipality invited a number of local interested parties into a dialogue, after which the final proposal was developed.

The overriding goal was to make the street and the space around it more functional to meet the needs of the various parties, which was to be done by a prioritising approach. The following three goals were the focus of the plan:



  • Urban space was to be made more attractive and city life strengthened
  • Conditions for cyclists would be improved on overcrowded stretches of cycle lanes
  • Public transport would be strengthened to cut journey times and increase punctuality





  • Planning process


The total plan has been implemented in stages consistent with budgetary allocations for this implementation. The first stage was comprised of initiatives to reduce the volume of traffic. It also involved widening the pavemenst and cycle lanes where need and potential were greatest, and creating small urban spaces at a number of side road junctions. This required the car traffic to be reduced by 50% to free up space for pedestrians, cyclists and buses.

  • Measures implemented

The first stage of the project was implemented in 2008. Reduction in the volume of traffic has been achieved by implementing a number of traffic measures. These included the creation of bus-only lanes and better facilities for pedestrians to sit and spend time, more tree and plant guards, the creation of more space at side roads junctions, loading zones for goods delivery to the shops and more cycle parking facilities. This resulted in improved pedestrian flow on the pavement, where bus passengers had previously stood and waited. At the same time, the cycle lanes were doubled in width on some stretches to overcome congestion.

The major initiatives of stage one are listed below.

  • Queen Louise’s Bridge - widening of cycle lanes and pavement
  • Fælledvej to Dosseringen - widening of cycle lanes
  • Elemgade to Fælledvej - dedicated stretch of bus-only lanes


Planned implementations (Stage 2-4)
Work on the stretch from Queen Louises-bridge to the Runddel will be undertaken from Sept. 2010 to Nov. 2011. A political decision will be made in early 2011 on improvements to the stretch between Runddelen and Norrebro Station.









During stage one, from October to December 2008, car traffic fell on individual stretches on Norrebrogade by between 30% to about 80%.

Car Traffic counts on the outer part of Norrebrogade:
Sept 08 - Morning Traffic before Implementation - 2,600
Sept 08 - Afternoon Traffic before Implementation - 2,700
Oct - Nov 08 - Total change in traffic volume - 26%

Car Traffic counts on the inner part of Norrebrogade:
Sept 08 - Morning Traffic before Implementation - 1,500
Sept 08 - Afternoon Traffic before Implementation - 1,900
Oct - Nov 08 - Total change in traffic volume - 44%

The reduction of car traffic on Norrebrogade produced a considerable saving in journey time for buses. The 27,000 passengers who use the buses every day on that stretch of road between Queen Louise’s Bridge and Norrebro Station reached their destination 3% more quickly than when buses shared the road with cars this in turn generated annual savings of three million kroner (approx. € 402,800).

Cyclists and pedestrians
The Danish Cycling Federation has highlighted the improvements in the conditions and ease of passage for cyclists. The new forward location of the bus stops, away from the pavement, has meant that there are fewer conflicts between cyclists and bus passengers. Further advantages included less traffic, less pollution, less noise, increased safety for cyclists and pedestrians, more space, better conditions for cyclists and fewer dangers to people crossing the road.

The municipality’s assessment of stage one has suggested that it is possible to reduce the volume of car traffic by 50% without negative consequences for the surrounding residential streets. The assessment also showed that pedestrians and cyclists felt considerably safer and buses were more punctual, which saved bus passengers about 100,000 hours annually.

Further positive effects:



  • Improved road safety
  • Better accommodation of udesevering and trade exhibitions
  • Noise decreased by 1,5 - 3,5 dB.
  • 15% more cycle traffic
  • Better accommodation and change compared to buspassagerene




Urban mobility planning
Mobility management
Klaus Grimar
Klaus Grimar
MM for cities & Regions
livable communities
mixed use developments
street layout /.design
25 Jul 2014
18 Jun 2015