Highlights: Effective cycle-network management


Maintaining and improving cycle networks is a crucial task in cycle tourism. Session E on “Effective Cycle-Network Management” provided an overview on important ingredients of this activity, such as infrastructure, the users, managing organizations, culture and the economy.

Session E_Harald Kuhn (1)

At a concrete level, Harald Kuhn, Product Manager Smart Mobility at Heijmans, introduced the Dutch company’s “philosophy” of making cycle paths “more fun, more comfortable and safer.” In this context, he presented the three main innovations from Heijmans: the Van Gogh cycle path (more fun), the asphalt solution Recoflex Vélo (more comfortable and sustainable) and the Bikescout system (safer). In addition to the artful images from the Van Gogh cycle path which gives visitors the impression of cycling through a picture – “where history meets the future” – many participants in the session were interested in the Bikescout system, which has contributed to an enormous decline in accidents involving cyclists.

Session E_Harald Kuhn (5)

There were then two speakers from Belgium who provided two best-practice examples of cycle network management in Belgium. Monica Silvestrini, coordinator of the Mobility Department at the Belgian Province of Limburg, explained processes of quality monitoring of the tourist cycle network Limburg. She took a general approach in describing the elaborate quality-monitoring-related activities of the province, local communities and Limburg Tourism. Eveline Sierens, Team Manager of the Province of Antwerp’s Tourism Department, provided details on the interactive platform EasyGIS that helps her organization manage the 8,000 kilometers of recreational routes in the province of Antwerp. The major asset of EasyGIS is the possibility to optimize communication between the different stakeholders and to increase the cyclists’ satisfaction by enabling easy communication.

Session E_Monica Silvestrini (2)

Another important element of cycle network management is the integration of cultural highlights. Mercedes Muñoz Zamora, director of the European Greenways Association, an international not-for-profit association that encourages the creation and promotion of greenways in Europe, presented examples of promoting greenways and connecting them to UNESCO heritage sites. Greenways are non-motorized routes that are safe, accessible and user-friendly, for all kinds of users. Most are based on disused railways and canal towpaths and so provide easy access to places of great beauty, often in mountainous areas, through tunnels and over viaducts. Mercedes showed examples involving the use of innovative technologies to better inform greenways visitors and improve their experience.

Finally, Richard Weston, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Central Lancashire, in the School of Business and Enterprise, explained how the economic impact of a route can be estimated. Not an easy task! Weston provided an overview of the variety of methodologies that have been developed to estimate the economic impact so far, and proposed a common methodological framework. However, the details will not be available before the next Velo-city in Dublin. One more reason to visit this international cycling conference next year!

The presentations of this session will soon be available online on the Conference’s website.

Session E_Ernst Fahrenkrug