By Cynthia Shahan, Cross-posted from Bikocity
Those of us who try to keep abreast of urban planning and clean transportation news are familiar with the benefits of bicycling in terms of pure air, livability, quieter streets and homes, space and resource efficiency, a stable climate, and public life. We’re also aware that some places are much better than others.
Copenhagen is a well known leader in bicycle transportation, but did you know that the number of bicyclists in the city center just surpassed the number of drivers? Copenhagen is so interesting for me due to the lifestyle so many there live and my own lifelong love of the outdoors and mass transit. I am always impressed that the damp cold of Northern Europe does not stop people from enjoying the outdoors with freedom. Of course, they are adapted naturally to that cold damp — being born there or living there a long time.
A recent post by Copenhagenize.com gives more Northern European insights and highlighted the key point noted in our title. It was accompanied by this exciting chart:
I keep following the blog Copenhagenize.com to understand more about the bicycle lifestyle in Copenhagen. The interesting thing is that this positive trend is counter to the current trend in Denmark as a whole. “It’s no secret that cycling for transport is down in Denmark on a whole,” Mikael Colville-Andersen writes. Here’s more from Mikael:
Widespread prosperity (the financial crisis didn’t really register here) and the fact that buying a car is cheaper now than during the oil crises in the 1970s means that people are buying them, despite the (rather irrelevant) 180% tax on cars. They are, however, buying them outside the larger cities and often buying a second car for the family. Car ownership in Copenhagen is still low at 25%. Even though a resident’s parking permit can be bought for a ridiculous €100 a year, it is clear that Copenhageners prefer bikes and public transport. Especially the former, as you can see on that spectacular blue line, above, shooting through the top of the chart.
Citizens with an address in the City of Copenhagen choose, in overwhelming numbers, the bicycle to get around. 56% in total. 20% choose public transport – buses, trains or metro. Only 14% choose to drive a car to work or education each day.
When you look at how people arrive at work or education in the City of Copenhagen — from the 22 surrounding municipalities and the City of Frederiksberg — the numbers are still impressive. 41% arrive on a bike. 27% arrive via public transport. 26% arrive in a car.
There are still challenges. The City has a policy that bicycle traffic and public transport usage must never fall below 30% and car traffic must never rise ABOVE 30%. Investment is sorely needed to improve public transport and make it more competitive against car traffic.