The Crucial Role of Regions in Cycling Development - Autonomy
By Alyssa Harris
The Grand Est region in collaboration with Copenhagenize has launched one of the most ambitious regional bicycle plans in France. In June 2022, the region’s elected officials voted to officially put in place the 2022-2028 Bicycle Plan. The historic budget of €125 million will go towards financing new actions and operations to develop cycling. In line with the needs expressed by local stakeholders and users, support for the construction of cycling infrastructure represents half of the budget.
But the massive budget isn’t the only thing that sets this plan apart. In fact, the plan sets a new standard for the role of regions in developing bicycle urbanism in France. We often see bicycle plans at the scale of the commune, metropolitan area, and department, but not at the regional scale. This boils down to the fact that it’s communes and departments who have the authority over the roads. The success of Grand Est’s bicycle plan proves that regions have a vital role to play in the development of cycling.
The Grand Est region demonstrated their leadership by identifying their goal of raising awareness among all stakeholders of the importance of pro-bicycle policy. Moreover, they emphasize the role that cycling plays in public policies that do fall within the authority of the region: economic development, high schools, sustainable development, tourism, health, and of course intermodality between bicycles and trains. Grand Est goes further to emphasize their role as the « leader of mobility » to support the cycling policies at every level of authority, whether in the most advanced cycling agglomerations or those which have not yet taken action in the field.
Finally, the Grand Est Region is the first to have launched a cycling plan that takes a 360° approach. This strategy, which focuses primarily on everyday mobility, has not forgotten to address cycling tourism, as well as athletic cycling. All the different actors must move forward together in unison to ensure that cycling is increasingly used in all its forms.
Inspired by best practices that match the high expectations of local authorities and ambition of the region, the Bicycle Plan is the result of extensive consultation coordinated by the Region in conjunction with the 135 Mobility Organizing Authorities (AOM) of the territory and its departments. The Bicycle Plan for the nearly 5.5 million residents of Grand Est includes 8 thematic commitments broken down into 31 actions that reach beyond its borders to include neighboring regions and countries to ensure continuity of routes and services.
Read more about the project here.
Explore the 2022 -2028 Bicycle Plan here.