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International City Cycling Assessment

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The ICCA is a project developed to inform how a city can improve their cycling practices and conditions.  

The Dutch Cycling Embassy (DCE) is a public-private network for sustainable bicycle inclusive mobility. We represent the best of Dutch cycling: knowledge, experience, and experts offered by private companies, NGOs, research institutions, and national and local governments. The DCE encourages the internationalization of bicycle practices through the organization of workshops, cycling tours, webinars and the like. We interact with all kinds of actors involved in the bicycle world, and since we continuously envision the diversification of bicycle knowledge, we have developed the International City Cycling Assessment (ICCA). It has been an ongoing project of the last years, that has had at least three stages of development.

It began as a descriptive document for the Cycling Festival Europe in 2016. The idea was to provide useful cycling-related information to the attendees. In principle, the report indicated the current status of several diverse European cities, specific to five different domains:

1. Mobility: Cycling as an efficient transport mode for urban accessibility.

2. Space: Cycling as a contributor to livable and safe cities.

3. Economy: Cycling as an input to the urban economy and competitiveness.

4. Environment: Cycling as a contributor to sustainable city and ‘green’ mobility.

5. Social: Cycling as a contributor to healthy and socially cohesive cities.

At this stage, the ICCA presented to cities, organizations, and experts with an overview of the current cycling environment.

After this event, the ICCA evolved into a more elaborate and long-lasting project, shifting from a descriptive to a more informative tool. Likewise, from being focused on the European landscape, it began to explore cities around the world, driven by the Velo-city 2017 Conference hosted by the Arnhem-Nijmegen duplet. During this event, the idea was established to spread knowledge on bicycle cultural diversity, receiving unique insights from across the globe, entirely in the collaborative spirit of this worldwide community. During this period the assessment became more structured, falling into the five themes of Velo-city 2017: People, Bikenomics, Urban Planning, Infrastructure, and Governance. As such, the ICCA developed as a tool to highlight the opportunities for cycling mobility across the globe.

Afterward, the ICCA settled under the DCE’s responsibility, to underline the work that is done in the organization, and provide a first glance at a city’s cycling conditions. This allows DCE members to keep up-to-date with the main challenges and achievements of the urban cycling world, beyond the Dutch reality. As the content of the ICCA depends on the local situation, local interest, and available human resources, the report is thought to be a basic assessment. The data is collected through a survey completed by experts from each city. In principle, the questions could be answered from a desk; through research only. However, some questions need additional explorations, and depending on the amount of public information about your city, might also require on-street observations.

Fitting into the two previous set of domains, the assessment uses three competency levels to determine the status of cycling inclusive mobility:

1. Hardware covers the infrastructural aspects, systems, and products in the physical environment.

2. Software covers the virtual and mental elements, for instance, cycling behavior or safety regulations.

3. Orgware that covers the organizational aspects in the city, the links with the government and stakeholders in general.

This survey consists of a set of qualitative and quantitative questions, which relate to these competency areas. One of the benefits of this approach is that it highlights the improvements that cannot be seen, such as safety, marketing, equality, and funding. However, although the scoring is done in comparison with best practices globally, the main advantage of this tool is that it was developed through Dutch lenses. The hardware, software and orgware conceptualization reflects the long- lasting experience of the Netherlands, the Dutch Cycling Vision.

While answering the survey, participants can start envisioning the principles that led the Netherlands to be the world’s top cycling nation. The results from the assessment tool will inform what qualities must be included in a cycling city, and how a city can better improve their cycling practices and conditions. The results can be used to encourage stakeholders from participating cities to improve their bicycle planning by visualizing areas that need attention for improvement. You can have an overview of the cities that have participated so far in the following link.

Is your city interested in participating in the International City Cycling Assessment? Send us a message here and we’ll get back to you with further information.

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