Photo credits: City of Ghent

Description:

Ghent is the third largest city in Belgium, just after Brussels and Antwerp, situated at the confluence of the Leie and Scheldt rivers, located in the Northwest of the country. Today, it is an university town and cultural hub. The topography is mostly flat with a river running through the center.

The high modal share, prevalence of all types of cyclists, and the strong organization from both the government and advocacy groups proves that Ghent has strong cycling culture and policy. The city is already implementing an ambitious bicycle plan and the modal share of cyclists is in constant increase. As the number of cyclists increases, the city should focus on making cycling more convenient by means of ITS measures, such as green waves. Ghent has one cycling event every year called Car-free Sunday, and more could be added to further promote cycling, particularly for kids.

Modal split of cycling: 30%
Average length of trips made within the city: 4.3 km

Hardware:
Cyclists mostly ride on dedicated cycling paths throughout the city, as well as cycling streets. Cycling lanes are often prioritized in snow clearing and have a good level of maintenance. The city is consistently increasing the number of bicycle parking especially near the activity zones. The city is planning to build a new parking garage near the central station to accommodate the growing numbers of cyclists. In addition, Ghent has a plan to increase the car-free zone in the city center and further develop the non-motorized mobility infrastructure. When it comes to bike sharing, the city has a bike-hire scheme and a bike sharing system linked to the regional railway network. Notably, Ghent is the first city in the world to launch a cargo-bike sharing system.
Software:
"Cycling seems to be part of the city’s culture since all types of cyclists can be found in Ghent, from commuters, sports, students, and tourists. Most of the users wear regular clothing on their journey. The high share of female cyclists (52%) indicates inclusive cycling policies and well-developed cycling plans. Children go to school by cycling, walking, and a passenger in a car. There is also a website which provides mobility advice to people planning trips around the area."
Orgware:
"The city provides cycling education in both elementary and secondary schools. The master plan includes cycling, and there is a dedicated budget for cycling developments. There are also cycling advocacy groups active on the local and national levels, which help influence some of the decision makers. The city also has extensive cycling marketing, to promote urban cycling in the city. Ghent has created an organization (Fietsambassade) that works as the contact point for bicycle related activities from bicycle-hire to bicycle parking as well as reporting bicycle theft. Residents can report the need for a bicycle parking in the residential neighbourhoods and event organizers can request temporary bicycle parking facilities."
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