The CHIPS (Cycle Highways Innovation for smarter People Transport and Spatial Planning) final conference summarised 3 years of knowledge sharing and research between partners from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, UK and Denmark. It inspired participants and gave decision makers from different member states an opportunity to discuss the EU agenda on cycling. The high-level conference in Frankfurt was immediately followed by Cycle Highway Academy, with hands-on sessions on practical tools and highly interactive discussions.
The participants of the final CHIPS conference at the Frankfurt Airport Centre were welcomed on the morning of May 21st by Rouven Kötter, Deputy Director of the Regional Authority FrankfurtRhineMain and Claudia Uhe, Senior Vice President Fraport AG. Cathrin Cailliau from Nuremberg Institute of Technology followed with an eye-opening science-slam about growing role of cargo-bikes in city logistics.
“Cycle highways, especially in combination with pedelecs, can make the difference for the 60% of European citizens that are interested in cycling, but concerned about safety or comfort in current conditions”, said Adam Bodor, Advocacy Director of European Cyclists’ Federation, as an introduction to a discussion on the EU Agenda on Cycling. In the panel Petra Schelkmann (INTERREG North-West Europe), Jeroen Ampe (Head of European Department in the Province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium), Roger Heijltjes (Program manager Cycling, Province of Noord-Brabant, Netherlands), Rouven Kötter (Deputy Director, Regional Authority FrankfurtRhineMain, Germany) and Ralph Schlusche (Director, Regional Authority Rhine-Neckar, Germany) exchanged opinions and examples what can be done at local, regional, national and European level to encourage more people to cycle more often.
Rouven Kötter commented very positively on the results of the project: "Cycle Highways provide an excellent solution to some of our most difficult mobility problems, at the moment: inclusiveness, as they guarantee mobility for all; avoiding unnecessary traffic, as they have the potential to take people out of their cars; and better manage necessary traffic, as they are the backbone of the urban cycle network".
The morning session finished with a peek into the future of Cycle Highways. Bert Celis from Flanders Bike Valley presented the vision of mobility in 2030 as predicted the CHIPS consortium – from zero emission-zones and increasing role of self-driving transport modes to unique selling properties of cycling.
In the afternoon, CHIPS project partners presented selected results of the project, covering all the phases of the Cycle Highways Lifecycle - from planning through design, build, selling and promotion to monitoring and evaluation. The results include very concrete developments, like the first section of RS1 cycle highway in Ruhr area built in line with new high quality standards, or a cycling training programme in Belfast, as well as long-term, EU-wide tools, such as Cycle Highway Potential Map or cycling amendments in the update of the EU directive on Road Infrastructure Safety Management. The results were many, but thanks to strict timekeeping we also had time for a brief discussion on the benefits of cycle highways and lessons learned during the project.
Despite somewhat rainy weather most of participants decided to join one of the guided trips: to the first completed section of cycle highway in Darmstad region, along the route of the planned cycle highway connecting Fraport with the city centre, or exploring the nature around the airport.
The 6th Cycle Highway Academy
The Cycle Highway Academy on the following day started with a discussion on how much cycle highways compete with and how much they complete other modes of transport, followed by a presentation of mobile mobility hub installed at the Frankfurt Airport. We also provided a sneak preview of the upcoming on-line cycle highway manual, highlighting available tools and research results.
The afternoon was dedicated to workshop sessions: we discussed in smaller groups Readability Toolbox, examples of community building campaigns around Comber Greenway in Belfast, Cycle Highway Maturity Assessment tool and cycling monitoring dashboard.
The CHIPS project is ending, but the Cycle Highway Academy will live on! The next academy will be subject to an open bid, similar to the one organised for EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference. The call will officially open at the Velo-city in Dublin.