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Programs and Policies Promoting Cycling: Chapter in "Cycling for Sustainable Cities"

UCD-ITS-RP-21-21

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Suggested Citation:
Heinen, Eva and Susan L. Handy (2021) Programs and Policies Promoting Cycling: Chapter in "Cycling for Sustainable Cities". Cycling for Sustainable Cities (7), 119 - 136

Over the past decade, levels of cycling have soared worldwide (see in this volume Pucher and Buehler, chapter 1; Buehler and Pucher, chapter 2). Governments have used a variety of approaches to achieve this increase. Most attention in policy and research has been directed toward capital expenditures such as cycling-specific infrastructure (see also Furth, chapter 5, this volume). Noninfrastructural policies and programs also have an important role to play, despite the fact that they may not receive the attention they require. Such programs may complement infrastructure investments, ensuring that such investments pay off to their fullest, or may serve as the main initiative itself. Indeed, the cities that are most successful at promoting cycling have done so through an integrated package of infrastructure investments combined with policies and programs (Pucher, Dill, and Handy 2010). This chapter focuses on programs and policies that aim to increase cycling. It builds on several (systematic) reviews that have evaluated the effectiveness of noninfrastructural or what are sometimes called "soft" interventions (Scheepers et al. 2014; Ogilvie et al. 2004; Pucher, Dill, and Handy 2010). Given the large number of initiatives worldwide, we will not be able to discuss all of them but will instead aim to include representative or exceptional examples. We focus on those programs and policies that are bicycle-specific or have potential to increase cycling. A diverse set of policies and programs may encourage cycling (for an overview, see table 7.1). Some of these have been adopted with the explicit aim of increasing cycling, such as laws that protect vulnerable road users. Other policies and programs do not aim to promote cycling specifically but nevertheless may contribute to higher levels of cycling as a secondary aim or even as an unintended consequence. Some policies and programs directly encourage or improve conditions for cycling, while other policies and programs help to promote cycling by slowing or discouraging motor vehicle traffic. Policies and programs can be initiated by and be the responsibility of various actors, including but not limited to governments, employers, schools, and voluntary organizations; advocacy by community groups often provides an important push for their implementation. As we discuss their effects and present examples in the sections that follow, we group these strategies into four categories: promotions, incentives, laws, and environment.

Key words: cycling, policies, behavior