Photo credits: Morteza Emami


Isfahan, Iran is located on the main north–south and east–west routes crossing Iran. It is the 3rd largest city with a population of 2 million inhabitants. It is located at the foothills of the Zagros mountain range. The city enjoys a temperate climate with regular seasons. The city is flat with a seasonal river running thought the city. From the 1990s till the day, cycling modal share in Isfahan had been continuously decreasing. However, the city’s recent activities regarding cycling, especially the bike-hire scheme, are starting to reverse the trend. The existing bicycle sharing systems could be a catalyst for change and improve the infrastructure and amount of people cycling. Nevertheless, the cultural barrier for females to cycle could be a major setback for increasing the volume of cycling mobility. Limiting cycling activities to only half of the population would only produce a limited modal share.

The city should reconsider the distribution of spaces between motorized traffic and non-motorized mobility and prioritize the latter. Furhtermore, strengthening the software and orgware competencies by including cycling in the master plan, allocating more funds for bicycle facilities, and having a dedicated manager, are necessary components and would act as a foundation for bicycle related decisions.

Modal split of cycling: 3%
Average length of trips made within the city: less than 2.5km

Isfahan has a functioning and growing bike sharing system. It has 50 stations throughout the city with approximately 2,000 memberships. New bicycles are expensive for most citizens, so this system provides an alternative option to the private bicycle. The city also has some segregated bicycle lanes and dedicated bicycle lanes on the road totalling 70 kilometres. There are no bicycle parking facilities and there is a lack of a continuous cycling network.
Most of the cyclists are commuters and wear regular clothing, however, cycling is predominated by men and no women is seen cycling in the city. The ‘cycling-friendly’ mayor of Isfahan makes a good leadership model for the residents leading cycling events and going to office by bicycle. Currently, children go to school as a passenger in a car. There are few cycling events in the city, however, the city still needs to stress on the awareness campaigns and cycling education.
Currently, there is very little dedicated budget and cycling is not part of the master plan. There is also not a dedicated person or group for mobility decisions in regard to cycling.

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