Handshake – Urban cycling to inspire urban transformation
Handshake – Urban cycling to inspire urban transformation
Handshake brings together 3world-class urban cycling capitals (Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Munich) in ‘leading’ 10 future European bike capitals (Bordeaux, Bruges, Cadiz, Dublin, Helsinki, Krakow, Manchester, Riga, Rome and Turin) towards transforming their cities in bike-friendly heavens and inspiring bold urban transformation through sustainable mobility.
Challenge - Why Handshake?
Handshake is a “means to an end”: influencing and supporting a behavioural shift to choose cycling as a transport mode may help reduce the dominance of personal motorized vehicles in urban settings and drive the urban regeneration of cities to make them more pleasant, liveable and economically prosperous for citizens.
Political agendas at local, national and international levels cannot ignore the need for new and sustainable mobility solutions. Cites are growing fast and efficient human-centred urban planning cannot be postponed. In all corners of Europe, cities face alarming levels of congestion and air pollution and a scarcity of public space, whilst urban environments remain dangerous for vulnerable road users. Slow cities movements and concepts of 15-minute cities are growing steadiliy but a community shift in approaching land redevelopment and road safety must be paramount. Promoting the development of an urban cycling culture and re-shaping cities to make them bike-friendly may help accelerate policy making and urban planning for sustainable mobility goals.
Solution - The Handshake way
Many national and local authorities may not know where to begin to improve the quality of cycling infrastructure and the promotion of sustainable transport communication. Cycling is not a holist story everywhere and the vast differences in city structures, geographical features and approaches makes it hard to come up a recipe book. Cultural resistances to cycling as a mode of urban transport,which also build on skeptical attitudes by shop-owners, commercial actors and business developers, also play a major role in the bigger picture. Plus, some cities have partial and blurred knowledge of their own cycling culture and needs and maybe innovation has not reached their urban planning choices yet.
The good news is that some cities have already built a strong cycling culture and have collected a vast experience in integrating bicycles into daily urban texture. All this state-of-art knowledge, both in terms of mobility culture theories (including approaches to awareness campaigns for citizens) and practical solutions (innovation in areas such as intelligent transport systems, bike sharing, traffic modelling, bike parking, socio-economic assessment and governance and decision-making) must be maximised in order to inspire and guide other cities who wish to embark in a similar journey.
Who’s Who in Handshake?
At the heart of Handshake are city municipalities (Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Munich, Bordeaux, Bruges, Cadiz, Dublin, Helsinki, Krakow, Manchester, Riga, Rome and Turin) who want to improve governance and draft informed and innovative policies for urban planning. Local and regional mobility/environmental/energy officers and urban planners are supported in the Handshake experience by “technical” partners and experts ranging from consultancies dedicated to strategic decision making (feasibility studies, etc.) to sustainable urban mobility planning networks; from research institutes with a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and explaining causes and effects of urban cycling to bicycle associations and active mobility advocacy groups specialized in raising awareness.
How we did it – Teach me how!
Handshake is all about learning from the best and passing knowledge on!
To expose future cycling capitals to the extensive body of knowledge on existing cycling policies and innovative infrastructural solutions able to transform cities in bicycle friendly hubs, Handshake has set up a smooth and on-going transfer (and exchange) network through which knowledge, lessons learnt and coping strategies belonging to 3 “leader” cities (cycling capitals) are shared and passed on to 10 “follower” cities aspiring to achieve a transition to an active two-wheel mobility.
Handshake made this happen by enabling a mentorship programme in which bike expert cities connect and share, in a formal and organised way, all the best-practices they have collected, along with the challenges faced and the strategies tested.
Part of this “contamination” of good cycling practices involves mentoring and supporting “follower” cities in promoting sustainable mobility through local investments in bike-friendly urban planning and infrastructure and inraising awareness on the social-economic benefits of moving away from car-centred cities and mentalities to embrace ecological transition in transport choices.
Handshake’s approach – made in ISINNOVA
As Handshake’s project leader and coordinator, ISINNOVA designed the Handshake approach below, fishing from a toolbox of over 50 years experience as a thought leader in urban sustainable mobility impacts, engagement solutions and key urban transformation concepts.
knowledge brokeragethrough network building – There is a lot of theoretical and experience-related urban cycling knowledge out there, but someone needs to connect the dots and facilitate the flow of this knowledge in a formal but friendly international setting and make sure the benefits generated have a long-lasting echo.
mentoring activity –“Follower” cities have a chance to be supported and counselled into finding the best cycling-oriented solutions for their city by communicating directly with actors who have success stories to share, as well as challenges to warn about.
twinning – The 3 cycling capitals will also directly benefit from Handshake as they will be able to share high-quality peer knowledge and best practices and strive for further progress in their own already advanced sustainable mobility policies and infrastructure.
transition management – To make urban change long-lasting and instrumental for policy implementation, a transitional team keeps evaluating objectives and supports forward planning, while constantly reviewing city design and socio-cultural challenges to foster a permanent shift to active mobility through community engagement.
immersive study tours – Training and learning about sustainable mobility planning is far more effective if you can get it under your skin through a live immersion in local success scenarios, including travel and hands-on bike rides for a sensory experience of cycling infrastructure solutions.
social cost benefit analysis – To track, understand and direct investments in cycling infrastructure, notions of Bikenomics (analysis of the socio-economic impact and return of choosing cycling over cars) play a major role in developing the correct indicators to judge, quantify and improve investment decisions also based on return in investments for cycling infrastructure implementation and monetization ofsocial-well being in bike-friendly urban environments.
modelling and assessment tools – Whether they serve the purpose of conducting social cost-benefit analysis, tracking traffic flow or evaluating citizens’ perceptions of cycling safety, the development of modelling and assessment tools will increase the quality and relevance of action plans. A specific self-assessment tool (questionnaire) has been developed to aid cities in understanding their own performance and proficiency in cycling.
The Handshake “solutions” developed, shared, transferred, and collected to hunt, track, understand, explain, plan and implement urban cycling are over 60!
Assessment tools to evaluate a city’s performance and proficiency in cycling, drafting of a design guidance document for integrated mobility, implementation of traffic-calming measures, action plan to find more space for bicycle parking…Handshake has stimulated debate, exchange and action on many aspects of urban cycling.
Successful translation of networking and mentoring intonew tangible urban policies and infrastructures to cater for and promote urban cycling in cities involved (i.e. Bruges’ new FR30 route, Helsinki’s Bicycle Action Plan for 2020-2025, UK‘s first CYCLOPS (Cycle Optimised Protected Signals) junction in Manchester, bike boxes in Turin and Bordeaux, and many more improvements…Find out more about the Handshake cities’ work in progress.
Building of a network that will “survive” the end of Handshake and animate an online cycling platform to inspire other cities/regions interested in re-shaping their cities in bike-friendly models.
Excellence of Handshake’s mentorship model will be assessed and may pour into a scientific article to propose mentoring programs of this type as models to catalyse and accelerate urban transformation.
#KeepCycling and pass it on
Handshake’s legacy is a concrete one made of an immense body of materials (action plans, assessment models, innovative technologies) that will be passed on and shared with other cities and interested actors through the CCoP platform (currently in work-in progress mode), an online hub that will keep the exchange of good practices alive. Here, cities and individuals who wish to transition to active mobility cultures will find out what services and innovations are available to support sustainable mobility and will have a chance to connect with experts, share experiences, find advice and shape a community.