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        Showing posts with label copenhagen. Show all posts
        Showing posts with label copenhagen. Show all posts

        08 January 2018

        Copenhagen Bike Hub


        by Stephanie Patterson

        Copenhagenize Design Company’s time at our very cool co-working space on Paper Island/Papir?en is sadly coming to an end – the island's old industrial buildings are being demolished to make way for a new residential development. We’ll miss the creative vibe in our office - and on the island - that we have experienced daily for over four years. Paper Island was a freestyle creative hub that captured the imagination of Copenhageners and visitors alike.


        Harbour bathing is a regular, year-round activity at our office

        Instead of resigning ourselves to tristesse, or to merely search for new offices, we decided to finally dust off an old Copenhagenize idea. Luckily, some ideas get better with age. Back in 2008, Copenhagenize Design Co. CEO Mikael Colville-Andersen envisioned that "Danish bicycle culture needs a physical home. A place where ideas can be fostered and discussed. A launch pad and showcase for Danish bicycle innovation". Colville-Andersen had teamed up with Marie K?strup - who is now the head of the bicycle programme for the City of Copenhagen - and developed a list of ideas that would place focus internationally and nationally on Copenhagen as a bicycle city. A list that included harvested ideas from abroad but also original ideas like establishing a bicycle center and even a bicycle museum. The mayor of traffic at the time, Klaus Bondam, embraced the idea and worked, for a time, on the concept of an Urban Showroom, without completing the idea. However, the original idea from 2008 led to the establishment of the Bicycle Innovation Lab, the first cultural center for cycling complete with a bicycle library and events. We wrote about the launch of BIL here back in 2011.

        With the impending need for new offices, the idea has surfaced once again and this time a strong tailwind is pushing it along. Enter: CPH Bike Hub. With the growing global interest in reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible transport form in cities, Danish bicycle planning, social cycling innovation and product design - among other aspects of the cycling community - can benefit from gathering under one roof.


        Statement of support from Gil Penalosa from 8-80 Cities, who regularly bring delegations to Copenhagen.

        We are thrilled that the idea has now gained purchase and is in a serious development stage, moving steadily towards becoming a reality. We're pleased to have a long list of colleagues join us on board. The core development team, apart from Copenhagenize Design Co. includes Cycling Without Age and the Danish Cyclists' Federation and Leader Lab. A veritable dream team.

        The idea for the CPH Bike Hub is not just sharing office space and innovation with colleagues. It also includes creating a destination for visitors. With all the delegations that come to Copenhagen to learn about bicycle planning, we have plans to develop a conference space to host them. Not just the delegations that Copenhagenize Design Co hosts, but also the City of Copenhagen and the Danish Cyclists Federation will benefit from having dedicated space to host visitors. Plans also include an exhibition space, a café/bar and meeting rooms.


        Indeed, the City of Copenhagen supports the general idea of creating a space for cycling:
        "The City of Copenhagen’s Bicycle Program welcomes all initiatives that will accelerate local innovation and product design in the field of cycling, bringing global attention to Copenhagen’s unique cycling culture. Establishing a physical meeting point for co-creation and showcasing will be valuable to the city as well as to the global community."
        Marie K?strup, City of Copenhagen


        Core Concepts for the proposed CPH Bike Hub.

        We have seen the emergence of similar bike hubs in places like Barcelona with BiciClot  and the Netherlands with the Dutch Bicycle Centre and we hope that the CPH Bike Hub will contribute to this growing trend and the global dissemination of knowledge and experience.

        At time of writing, we are working hard with colleagues to establish the foundations of the CPH Bike Hub, secure financing and gather as many likeminded companies, organisations and individuals as possible. The list of colleagues continues to grow and includes the following:

        · CYCLING WITHOUT AGE - Worldwide cycling non-profit for the elderly
        · DANISH CYCLISTS' FEDERATION / CYKLISTFORBUNDET - National cycling NGO
        · COPENHAGEN CYCLES - Global distributor of innovative bike trishaws
        · LEADERLAB - Nordic sustainability business accelerators
        · VELORBIS - Leading Danish bicycle brand
        · MATE - Rapidly growing local E-Bike brand
        · CYKELKOKKEN - Innovative and well-known Copenhagen cycling chef
        · COH & CO - Sustainable materials bicycle producers
        · SCANDINAVIAN SIDE CAR - Cutting-edge Danish cargo bikes solutions
        · HOE360 CONSULTING - Danish green mobility consultancy

        Morten Kabell – the former environmental and technical mayor of Copenhagen joined Copenhagenize Design Company in early January 2018 as COO and he is now also spearheading the work to establish CPH Bike Hub together with our colleagues. The timeline is still under development, but we are looking forward to letting the world know about the launch when the time comes.

        Stay tuned. We're excited.

        For more information about joining the CPH Bike Hub, email Morten at morten @ copenhagenize .eu

        30 June 2017

        Bicycle Superhighways in Copenhagen Capital Region

        Copenhagen Capital Region Bicycle Superhighway Network
        The Bicycle Superhighway Network in Copenhagen Capital Region. Orange: Built. Black: Planned and financed. Dotted: Planned but awaiting financing.

        The Capital Region of Denmark is continuing its investment in Supercykelstier - or Bicycle Super Highways. With five new routes completed on May 2, 2017, 115 kilometers have been added to the three initial routes. The goal is to make inter-municipality bike trips easier for the citizens of the region. The super highways are being developed on largely pre-existing cycle tracks.

        In the Capital Region, 60% of all trips less than 5 km are made by bike. This falls to 20% for trips more than 5 km. While the region is great for intermodality, connecting bikes with trains, the plans for the Bicycle Super Highway network target increasing the latter number through constructing 28 routes that connect and pass through 23 municipalities. These will give bicycle users newer, wider cycle tracks, better street surfaces, pre-green lights, in addition to better lighting and traffic calming measures where needed. This will create 3 million more bicycle trips a year, which has the potential to reduce the number of car trips by 720,000 a year. This will save the region 34,000 sick days and give a 7.3 billion DKK (€1 billion) economic gain per year.

        New routes, building on success
        206km of the network will be finished by 2018, out of 467 km in total. The first two routes, Farumruten and Albertslundruten, have experienced a growth in the number of bicycle users of 61% and 34%, respectively, since they were built in 2012. Those two routes, in addition to the third one, Ish?jruten built in 2016, are hub to tip routes connecting Copenhagen Municipality with surrounding municipalities. The new five routes help shape the network; adding not only more hub to tip routes (Aller?druten and Frederikssundruten), but also ring routes (Indre Ringrute connecting Sundby to ?sterbro, and Ring 4 ruten from Albertslund to Lyngby-Taarb?k) and a route between outer municipalities (V?rl?seruten).

        The five new Cycle Super Highways have cost 154 million DKK (€20.7 million), while the same road length for motorist highways would cost 17.71 billion DKK (€2.38 billion). Municipalities expect an increase of 1.5 - 2 million bicycle users with the new routes running.


        Copenhagenize Design Company's Idea Catalogue for all the municipalities in the Region, as commissioned by the Capital Region in 2014.

        Dialogues and Efforts
        The project came with challenges on both regional and local scales. Funding the superhighways required a particular approach; normally municipalities are totally financially responsible for building their bicycle infrastructure, but some of the municipalities couldn’t afford building the superhighways or preferred to cut it from their budgets. This caused a threat that more municipalities would leave the project as its rationality depends on its continuity through all municipalities.

        The solution that overcome this, so far, has been a 50% state subsidy so that municipalities only have to cover 50% of the costs. However, challenges for this approach will rise again in the future as no municipal funding exists for the project after 2019. The experience of the two initial routes also highlighted responsibilities for the municipalities during the operation of the superhighways; the Gladesaxe and Fures? Municipalities - both on the Farumruten - improved lighting conditions, asking bicycle users what their favored type of lighting was. While the Aller?d Municipality focused also on traffic calming measures; building a “2 minus 1” way on Bregner?d Skovvej, a road with one track for motorists and traffic in both directions.

        The municipalities have reached an agreement where each of them is responsible for running and maintaining its own part of the route(s) in close dialogue with the others. The success and rationality of a superhighway is achieved by the success of each of its individual parts in different municipalities, which raises the question of what form this superhighway will adapt to in rural, forested or urban areas along the way. It also highlights the importance of bringing all municipalities on board and keeping both the inter-municipality and citizen-government dialogues ongoing.

        The Mayor Challenge
        In an attempt to convince some of the more sceptical mayors in the outlying municipalities, seven of them were invited to switch to the bike for their transport needs for one month. Their health was measured before and after and, based on existing cost-benefit models, the result was clear. On average they were 11 years younger, based on their improved health.

        Copenhagen Bicycle Superhighways projected on Barcelona Copenhagen Bicycle Superhighways projected on London
        The Copenhagen Capital Region Bicycle Superhighway Network projected on Barcelona and London. This does not included the vast network of existing cycle tracks in the various municipalities, of which there are over 1000 km.

        Copenhagen Bicycle Superhighways projected on Paris Copenhagen Bicycle Superhighways projected on Toronto
        The Copenhagen Capital Region Bicycle Superhighway Network projected on Paris and Toronto

        Copenhagen Bicycle Superhighways projected on Montreal
        The Copenhagen Capital Region Bicycle Superhighway Network projected on Montreal.


        For more information about the routes, check the website:
        http://supercykelstier.dk/

        01 August 2016

        The Bicycle Bridges of Copenhagen




        By Mia Riefkohl / Copenhagenize Design Company

        The City of Copenhagen minds the gaps. Over the past decade, we have witnessed radical changes in the connectivity of Copenhagen, a city bisected by a harbour. We’ve watched as thirteen bridges have popped up (with four more on their way), connecting previously cut off neighbourhoods while facilitating a 13 km recreational path, the Harbour Circle. Mobility and bicycle user experience are both high priorities on the City’s agenda, and these bridges are only a part of a greater plan. But most notable of all, each and every one of these new bridges are off-limits to automobiles, saying loud and clear that this is a city for people. A Life-Sized City. To show how serious the city takes connectivity, we created a map showcasing the new and upcoming bicycle bridges of Copenhagen.

        The map above is divided into three categories: the built, the temporary and the proposed. The ten already built are currently in use by those looking for a fast A to B. Bridges are the mobility link inside the urban toolbox that effortlessly solves the problem of crossing an obstacle. Done properly, a bridge is A-to-Bism at it’s finest. The significant number of  bridges is immediately noticeable on our map. While thirteen new bridges for bicycle users and pedestrians have opened since 2006, nine of of them were built in the last two years alone.

        Overcoming the Harbour and Canals

        Completed in 2006, Bryggebroen was the first new connection built over the Copenhagen harbour in centuries. Bryggebroen served to connect Havneholmen to Islands Brygge and beyond, giving Copenhageners a much needed connection over the harbour. However, crossing the bridge into the city, riders were forced to choose between two inconvenient options: to push their bicycle up  steep stairs, or take an inconvenient, indirect, detour weaving through pedestrians. This gap was filled with the addition of the Cykelslangen, (The Bicycle Snake), in 2014. Cykelslangen is an elevated, orange bike lane, elegantly connecting Bryggebroen to the neighbouring districts, along a dedicated, bicycle only pathway. Shortly after opening, Cykelslangen became an instant Copenhagen urban icon for it’s practical, elegant and functional Danish design. At last count, the two bridges accommodated 14,200 and 12,700 daily bicycle riders, respectively, far exceeding traffic flow predictions. These two bridges set a new standard, bicycle bridges are not only widely popular among residents and visitors alike, but an incredible investment.


        Bryggebroen (upper) and Cykelslangen (lower) connecting neighbourhoods. Photo: Ole Malling.

        In 2009, we wrote: “What the city needs is access across the harbour farther east, closer to the city centre on the Inner Harbour. Our new Opera and the former military area called Holmen, would benefit greatly from increased access. A network of bridges is needed.” The City took note of these gaps and seven years later the results are in. With four new bridges in the area, Holmen is now better integrated with the rest of the city in all directions. Urban acupuncture at it’s best.
        The Inderhavnsbro (AKA the Inner Harbour Bridge, AKA the kissing bridge, AKA the missing bridge), connecting Holmen to Nyhavn, Kongens Nytorv and beyond, opened just three weeks ago, with an already noticeable effect on pedestrian and bicycle flow on Holmen. In addition to the Inner Harbour Bridge, Trangravsbroen and Proviantbroen, have made it easier, faster and safer to move on foot and by bicycle across Holmen and Christianshavn.



        The new Inderhavnsbro connects the city centre with Holmen and beyond.

        Trangravsbroen conveniently connects three corners of the Holmen district.

        Shorter bridges over 17th Century canals, such as Cirkelbroen (the Circle Bridge), and the Frederiksholm Canal bridge, help link almost the entire harbour. Designed by the Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson, Cirkelbroen opened in 2015 and fixed a minor, but important gap in the mobility network of Copenhagen. This beautiful, but modest bridge connects Christiansbro with Applebys Plads and accommodates 2,200 bicycle users daily. Even smaller bridges, less decorated bridges, like Dyssegravenbroen and Laboratoriegravenbroen bridge in Christiania and the Lersoparken-Ryparken bridge also have a big, positive impact on A-to-Bism. The Dyssegraven and Laboratoriegraven bridges are new connections from eastern Amager into the city. While we were biking through Dyssegraven, we stopped and asked a local for his thoughts on the bridge: “It is part of something big. Copenhagen does a lot for cyclists and pedestrians to get around.” We couldn’t agree more.

        Olafur Eliasson's Cirkelbroen, inspired by a harbour full of sail boats.


        Laboratoriegravbroen in Christiania.


        Bridging Urban Divides
        It’s easy to see the need for bridges in a maritime city like Copenhagen, but the City’s efforts to connect the urban fabric doesn’t end at the harbour’s edge. Bridges and tunnels also connect bicycle riders to areas previously cut off by busy roads, railways, and construction sites.  
        The bridge between Lersoparken and Ryparken was completed in 2014, allowing for pedestrians and bicycle users to cross between two parks and neighborhoods while avoiding indirect and busy roads. ?buen, opened in 2008, eliminated the challenge for bicycle users approaching and exiting the road bordering between N?rrebro and Frederiksberg. Folehaven Bridge will connect and ensure a safe passage between the Vigerslev park and the Folehave area over the rest of Valby. This bridge will help bicycle users avoid the major traffic barrier that is. The bridge will be located at the municipal boundary and with it’s design it will serve as a dramatic welcome to the city of Copenhagen, reminding automobiles that bicycles are above them.


        ?buen, crossing over ?gade

        The city is currently developing two new metro lines, creating inconvenient detours to get around. Two temporary bridges symbolize the commitment of the city to cyclist mobility and not strictly on construction efforts. The Sorted Lake bridge is a new way of experiencing the picturesque lake through a floating shortcut, since the Metro expansion has reduced some of the regular gravel paths next to the lake’s shore. Once the expansion of the Metro is over in 2018, the paths will be back to normal and the floating bridge will be eliminated. Another temporary bridge over Frederiksholms canal was put in this year to give pedestrians and bicycle users the opportunity to bypass the construction of Blox, the future home of Realdania and the Danish Architecture Centre. Without this temporary bridge, one can be strolling down the southern Frederiksholms canal and end up at a dead end forced into relatively fast automobile traffic. If you are on the north side, you must return to the Prince's Bridge near Christiansborg Show Grounds.
        And lastly, we have a tunnel. The airy, well-lit ?sterbro tunnel opened last year, addressing a major barrier separating residents and bicycle users from Nordhavn and the waterfront. For businesses and residents on Marmormolen, Amerika Plads, and in ?rhusgade, this tunnel cuts a significant portion of the transportation time welcoming 2,700 bicycle commuters each day.


        The newly opened ?sterbro tunnel


        Bridges on the Horizon
        The four proposed new bridges will all further develop the accessibility of the central part of the city and the harbour. Langebrogadebro will connect Vester Voldgade and Langebrogade in Amager and is expected to be completed in 2018 as part of Realdania’s Blox development. The bridge will become part of the green wave network or ‘Gr?n B?lge’ that will relieve both car and bicycle congestion of Langebro and Knippelsbro.


        As part of Realdania's BLOX development, the foundation has announced Langebrogadebroen, a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the harbour.

        B?nkebro (The Bench Bridge) will connect Teglholmen and Enghave Brygge, in 2018. The residents of these two areas are currently forced to take a very busy and tedious detour along Vasbygade to commute to and from the city centre, which can easily diminish the desire to commute by bicycle. The new, upcoming B?nkebro will be a nice shortcut through the harbour with less noise and nicer scenery. Once finished, it will be easier to ride all the way down the south harbour connecting the newly developed area at Sluseholmen, and the upcoming commercial and residential area at Enghave Brygge, to the rest of the city.

        And perhaps most fantastical of all, there’s the Nordhavn Tower Bridge incorporated into the Copenhagen Gate tower development. Taking the elevation into account, the bridge is hardly an A to B solution. Though initially meant to serve pedestrians and bicycle riders, the latest plans suggest the bicyclists will not be admitted onto the bridge. The bridge will lead from one tower to the other, one at Marmormolbyen and the other upon Langelinie. Each tower will carry its own cable-stay bridge between the two piers and due to the site geography, these bridges will meet at an angle. And we thought the kissing bridge idea was crazy…


        The proposed Copenhagen Gate

        30 May 2015

        Bike Share by the People, For the People

        Din Bycykel / Your City Bike
        Saw a lovely thing in my neighbourhood today. Copenhagen's new bike share system. Parked right there under a tree. In contrast to the failed one still operating, this system is free, it doesn't have safety issues with a distracting tablet screen, it doesn't weigh as much as a hippopotamus, it doesn't have a noisy motor and it doesn't have constant tech issues at a docking station.

        Din Bycykel / Your City Bike
        The sign on the side reads:

        "Hi, my name is Christian Liljedahl and I've made this City Bike (bycykel) for Copenhagen and for you. Use it and park it somewhere useful so others can enjoy it when you're finished.

        If it's flat or broken, send me a text on (telephone number) or donate a puncture repair at the closest bike shop. You can also make your own City Bike. Find out more on DinBycykel on Facebook."

        This is brilliant. This made my day. In a country where 400,000 bikes are scrapped every year and The Establishment (City of Copenhagen, City of Frederiksberg, Danish Railways, Danish Cyclists Federation) all insist on lame solutions like the GoBike ($10,000 per bike), People Power is fantastic.

        More of this, please.

        27 May 2015

        The Desire Lines of Cyclists – The Global Study – is in the starting block






        Copenhagenize Design Co. has decided to take our unique Desire Lines Analysis Tool to the world. We are launching a new project that will span continents.

        The Desire Lines of Cyclists – The Global Study – is the natural evolution of our original Desire Lines analysis of cyclist behaviour and how cyclists react to urban design called The Choreography of an Urban Intersection. The results of which were unveiled by CEO Mikael Colville-Andersen at Velo-City 2013 in Vienna. This study from Copenhagen in 2012 was based on video-recorded observations of 16,631 cyclists during a 12 hour period. We explored the anthropological details of bicycle users and how they interact with other traffic users and the existing urban design. Three categories of cyclists were identified: Conformists, Momentumists, and Recklists.


        Choreography of an Urban Intersection and Copenhagenize fixes

        Thanks to this study we created a new methodology to analyse urban life: the Desire Line Analysis Tool, which is designed mostly to decode the Desire Lines of cyclists. The main purposes of the analysis is to get a thorough understanding of bicycle users and to rethink intersections to fit modern mobility needs. Like William H. Whyte before us, we want first to observe people. We employ anthropology and sociology directly to urban planning - something we feel is sorely lacking.

        With increasing focus on re-establishing the bicycle as transport in cities around the world, understanding the behaviour and, indeed, the basic urban anthropology of bicycle users is of utmost importance. Rethinking the car-centric design of intersections and infrastructure is necessary if we are to redesign our cities for new century mobility patterns.



        Desire Lines of cyclists turned into a permanent lane in Copenhagen


        Until now there has not been any concrete way of mapping cyclist behaviour. Copenhagenize Design Company’s techniques utilise Direct Human Observation in order to map cyclist behaviour - and gather a motherlode of valuable data from it.

        These two last years at Copenhagenize, urban planners, anthropologists and urban designers have worked on testing, improving and realising new studies in Copenhagen. Using the city as an actual-size laboratory, we observed, analysed, mapped thousands of cyclists' behavior. You can watch our video here, and read our studies here, here, here, here, and here.

        Afterwards, we went to Amsterdam, a city considered as a model for many urban planners, and in  collaboration with The University of Amsterdam, Copenhagenize Design Co. worked on nine intersections and 19,500 bicycle users.

        Amsterdam - Side by side
        Cyclists riding side by side in Amsterdam

        Now, we want to expand our proven methodology to other cities around the world and compare different approaches of bicycle urbanism focusing on the way cyclists react to urban design. This study will take us to Europe, South and North America, Asia and Africa.

        Cycling is booming everywhere in the world and municipalities are investing in infrastructure across many cities. Nevertheless, data are lacking and a deep understanding of cyclists' behavior and expectations is required. It’s the right moment to get a thorough understanding of the current situation and avoid well known hurdles in the design of infrastructure to match cyclists expectations.

        We will start this global study in the two world-wide bicycle friendly cities, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and use them as references of the study.

        Then, we will study intersections in Cape Town (South Africa), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Mexico City (Mexico).

        Finally, we will analyse bicycle users crossing an intersection in New York City (US), Paris (France) and Tokyo (Japan). 3 metropolis, 3 different ways to design urban infrastructure and to manage cycling policy.

        Paris - Sept. 2014 - Carrefour St Michel
        Cyclist on a Vélib in Paris sharing the lane with buses


        We will compare all these cyclists and figure out the balance between the behaviour due to varying infrastructure - or lack thereof - and the bicycle culture/habits of the inhabitants. We’ll highlight both the cultural differences and the universality of human behaviour. We truly believe that well-designed infrastructure leads to better behaviour from cyclists - whereas the lack of consideration for cyclists when municipalities design bike infrastructure leads to negative behaviour.

        In each city we will team up with a local partner, and we are extremely glad to announce that we will work with the organisations Future Cape Town, ITDP Brazil and 3x3 Design in New York City.

        Copenhagenize is also keen on working in close cooperation with the local authorities and has already get the support of the municipalities of Paris and Amsterdam. Our local partners and us are searching for financial support to make the most of the project in each city.

        The more data and knowledge that will be gathered on cyclists, the higher the chances are that towns will be turned into bike-friendly cities with all the right infrastructure.

        The results will be presented using maps, statistics, qualitative analyses and appealing graphic representations. We will reveal how people respect or disrespect infrastructure, how they interact with pedestrians and motorists, what are their normal trajectories and Desire Lines. All bicycle-friendly cities should have a perfect knowledge of the evolution of the number of cyclists, but also a sociological big picture of them and a deep understanding of their behavior. 

        01 April 2015

        Choreography of a Copenhagen Corner - Desire Line Analysis



        Desire Line Analysis: Choreography of a Copenhagen Corner
        Cyclist Behaviour at a busy Copenhagen cycle intersection
        By Marie Lindebo Leth - Anthropologist


        For the next study in our Desire Line series we have picked a renowned Copenhagen bicycle hotspot: the S?torvet / Dronning Louise’s Bro intersection. Over 40,000 bicycle trips are made through this intersection at a daily basis, making it one of the busiest in the world in terms of cyclist volume.


        Such numbers create a special need for appropriate bicycle infrastructure in order to accommodate the bicycle users crossing this point. At Copenhagenize Design Company we have asked ourselves how we can determine the actual needs of bicycle users, and what solutions would be appropriate. This quest requires a greater understanding of the relationship between urban infrastructure and cyclist behavior, which is why we have conducted a Desire Line Analysis of this intersection.


        The value of studying cyclist behavior
        This study was conducted in collaboration with eight students from 4Cities, an international Urban Studies Master’s programme. Eight great and passionate students who tackled this analysis with professionalism.
        Lorena Axinte (Romania), Jamie Furlong (United Kingdom), Elina Kr?nzle (Germany), William Otchere-Darko (Ghana), Lucie Rosset (Switzerland), Guillén Torres (Mexico), M?elys Waiengnier (Belgium) and Devon Willis (Canada).

        In order to identify how cyclists interact with infrastructure, and with other cyclists and road users, the students positioned a video camera and a few observers at the intersection between the hours 7:00 and 19:00 on a day in November 2014.




        One particular spot in the intersection is the center of attention for this study. When cyclists approach the intersection, coming from North East along S?torvet and want to turn right onto Dronning Louises Bro, they tend to either ‘cut’ the corner by riding onto the pedestrian zone, or run a red light when turning right. At Copenhagenize Design Co. we are interested in digging deeper into this behavioral pattern and understand the scale of, and reason behind the exhibited behavior.


        Knowing how and why bicycle users consistently choose particular routes and strategies can help us understand priorities and motivations of bicycle users and inform our solutions - design-wise and political - in order to better accommodate their needs while paying mind to other road users as well.


        What are Desire Lines?
        At Copenhagenize Design Company, we have developed a method for determining how bicycle users actually navigate within the built environment and what routes they choose to take in various situations. This method we call Desire Line Analysis. By observing a bicycle user’s trajectory through a course of a road, we can determine the most traveled through routes - their desire lines. Desire lines are the easiest and most convenient ways of getting from point a to point b for bicycle users, and conceptually they should be distinguished from actual infrastructure with its pre-established paths. Desire lines might correspond with pre-established paths, but sometimes they don’t, and this is where they reveal flaws in the infrastructure that at the same time create opportunities for improvements.


        Six Desire Lines
        Based on our video footage we identified the cyclists’ desire lines, first by tracking their point of departure - ?ster S?gade or Gothersgade - and then by observing their destination - straight ahead, or right onto Dronning Louises Bro.


        However, in this Desire Line study our main focus is on those cyclists turning right. We discovered six general desire line categories that cyclists use when turning right onto Dronning Louises Bro.


        The desire lines above illustrate that cyclist typically chose one of following six trajectories or strategies when making a right turn:
        1. Following the official bike path - this desire line accounts for cyclists who turn right when the traffic lights are either green or red.


        All other desire lines below are drawn by cyclists that “cut”, i.e. they ride from the bicycle path up onto the sidewalk, cutting the intersection in order to arrive at Dronning Louises’ Bro.


        2. Avoid the pedestrians - cyclists who zigzag or change their path in order to avoid pedestrians.
        3. Cut in the middle - cyclists who did not cut immediately, but followed the path for a few more meters than category 4 and 5, before deciding to cut
        4. Cut following the path - cyclists who ride onto the sidewalk and proceed by mimicking the bicycle path until they are close to the traffic light  
        5. Cut right away - cyclists that cut the sidewalk as early as they can, without trying to follow the path.
        6. Cut last minute - cyclists who cut just as they arrived at the red light. (we suspect that when being confronted with a red light, people prefer riding on the sidewalk rather than waiting at for the light to change).


        Shortcutting to keep the momentum
        The question of what motivates people to cut the corner in order to arrive at the bike lane on Dronning Louises Bro is central to this study. In order to get closer to an explanation, we will first distinguish between cyclists who cut when traffic lights are red, and those who cut during a green light - where they could just as well have followed the bike path without stopping.


        The first group - cyclists who cut the corner during a red light - is the largest of the two. In particular, cyclists coming from Gothersgade, arriving on ?ster S?gade, then turning right, were more prone to cutting the corner when the light was red. This is probably because they most often arrive at a red light in the intersection. Traffic lights in this area are timed to provide cyclists coming a different direction - ?ster S?gade via Fredens Bro - with constant green lights that follow the speed of the average cyclist - the so called ‘green wave’. This, however, means that cyclists coming from Gothersgade will have their momentum disrupted when they arrive at the Dronning Louises Bro/?ster S?gade intersection. Thus, using the wide sidewalk as a quick way to avoid waiting for the lights to change can be tempting.


        The second group - cyclists who cut the corner while traffic lights were green - most often did so when there was a considerable number of cyclists in front of them, causing a queue for either turning right or continuing straight ahead. Such a situation creates an incentive to improvise a shortcut by riding across the sidewalk to get to Dronning Louises Bro.


        During the twelve hours we spent observing the intersection, only a few cyclist-pedestrian conflicts occurred. We are convinced that the considerable width of the sidewalk plays an important role here, since it leaves enough space for both pedestrians and cyclists to navigate around each other.


        Most played it safe
        We also found that of all the cyclists travelling through the intersection (i.e. those who went straight along ?ster S?gade and those who turned right onto Dronning Louises Bro), the majority acted “correctly” (i.e. they did not cut or go through a red light, but rather followed the traffic laws correctly). During midday (11:30- 13:30), 72% of cyclists acted correctly (following the traffic laws) and only 28% acted incorrectly or inappropriately (going through a red light or cutting). Similarly, during rush hour (15:30-17:30), 76% acted correctly and only 24% acting incorrectly.

        This means that on average 74% followed the traffic law, meaning that they respected red lights and stayed on the bike path instead of cutting the corner. The remaining 26% performed some form of law breaking act.
        However, during the morning rush hour, an average of 50% cyclists either cut through the sidewalk or jumped the red light, when heading towards N?rrebrogade from ?ster S?gade. 58% were male and 42% were female.


        Right-turners bent the rules more often
        While on average most cyclists acted correctly (74%), when looking at right-turning cyclists exclusively, the difference between those who followed the rules and those who didn’t, was less significant. Among cyclists who turned right onto Dronning Louises Bro, 52% acted correctly, while 48% acted incorrectly. Of those acting incorrectly, 35% went through the red light and 65% cut through the sidewalk.


        This ‘improper behavior’ might be connected to a phenomenon we have observed before; the so-called ‘domino effect’ where the actions and routes taken by one cyclist is copied by other cyclists behind him or her. In this sense a specific action legitimizes or inspires other cyclists to perform similar actions. For example, we noticed that once a cyclist is cutting, others start to follow suit. Conversely, when none in the front of the line cuts, the cyclists queueing behind also tend to stay in the group.


        Fewer cyclists run red lights during rush hour
        In the early afternoon (13:30-15:30), many more cyclists acted incorrectly, an average of 68% cut or went through a red light, as opposed to a daily average of 48%. We suspect that this is because there are much fewer cyclists, cars and pedestrians on the road during this time of the day, and thus it is easier for cyclists to cut the intersection or slipping through a red light in a safer way, without getting noticed as much.


        Only 16% of all the cyclists we observed went through a red light (i.e. actually going through the red light on the bicycle path, not by cutting). Although the average is quite low, as mentioned above, larger numbers of cyclists were going through the red light at certain points of the day: in the late morning (9:30-11:30) an average of 27% of cyclists coming from Gothersgade went through the red light, and in the early afternoon (13:30-15:30) an average of 41% of cyclists coming from this street went through the red light. Again, it seems like cyclists are more likely to run a red light in between rush hours. In fact, only 3% of cyclists went through the red light from Gothersgade during rush hour. This observation supports our theory that a higher volume of road users creates a lesser incentive for cyclists to go through a red light.


        Lessons learned
        Our study confirms findings generated in previous desire line studies, showing how bicycle users create routes based on what is faster and most convenient, regardless of whether appropriate infrastructure is there or not. Although it sometimes means that bicycle users will follow the informal lead of other cyclists, and circumvent traffic rules in order to get to their destination, considerations regarding safety and/or public shaming do appear to inform their decision making.


        Only 1:4 of the total number of bicycle users we observed actually broke the law. When they did cut the corner, they strategically picked different routes through the pedestrian zone in order not to collide with each other, and only very few conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians occurred.


        To make a long story short, bicycle users are motivated to keep momentum going, and depending on the circumstances, some are ready to circumvent formal rules and collectively improvise their own in order to make their travel easier, if existing infrastructure does not accommodate their needs.


        Copenhagenize Fixes
        So where should we go from here? Depending on the priorities of city authorities, different approaches could be used to mitigate the percieved ‘improper cyclist behavior’ in this intersection.


        1. Considering the volume of bicycle traffic, the most obvious retrofit would be creating a cycle track in an arc across the corner to allow cyclists to turn right unimpeded by traffic lights. A similar solution is already in place on the opposite corner, leading cyclists across a sidewalk to Vendersgade from N?rrebrogade. As we understand it, one department in the City of Copenhagen would be against this - worried about protecting the architectural integrity of the location. This is rather silly, considering the fact the City had plans to rip out of the grassy knolls formed by WW2 bunkers, cut down the trees and sanitize the whole area. That idea died, fortunately, but it is clearly a sign that change can happen at this location. The basic fact at this location is that the majority of cyclists are turning right and the minority are heading parallel to The Lakes. Desire Lines are democracy in motion. People voting, as it were, with their feet and bicycle wheels.
        2. As we found from the research, the main reason for cutting the corner or going through the red light is that cyclists coming from Gothersgade are trying to bypass the red light and simply maintaining their momentum. Especially in the busy rush hour it would be beneficial to time the traffic lights for cyclists coming from Gothersgade so that they continue in a smooth flow up N?rrebrogade. Maintaining, respecting and legitimizing the momentum that cyclists need would eliminate the need for cutting the corner.
        3. It is with good reason that allowing right turns on red is steadily becoming law all over Europe. Making this the default at this intersection would also impact the behaviour positively. It is not the be all, end all solution at this location however.
        4. The wide swath of sidewalk is currently a kind of “shared space” that works well at this location. Making the area shared use would require little physical change and would formalise the behaviour of the cyclists. A fun idea, but it is important to maintain a design standard and throwing a mixed use area into the well-functioning infrastructure design tradition may not be a good, permanent solution.


        07 January 2015

        The Urban Archipelago - Reclaiming Space and Revitalising the Harbour

        Upside Down Harbour
        Living in Copenhagen, you're never far from the harbour or the sea. We're blessed with access to water and to fabulous beaches. Nevertheless, we feel that the harbour is currently underused. The ancient harbour of the Danish capital was decommercialised around 17 years ago and most shipping activity was moved to harbours to the north of the city, leaving a fantastic swath of urban space for the citizens. Freeing up the harbourfront led to an ongoing urban renewal, with 42 km of harbourfront to be developed.

        Nevertheless, I've watched the development and wondered why the actual water seems so underused through the years. It seems to be accelerating a bit over the past two years or so, but given the fact that this is a rowing and sailing nation, I would love to see more opportunities for the citizens to use the water.

        Leap Harbour Rain
        There are harbour baths in place now and the number of pleasure craft is rising. The Kalvebod Wave made a serious impact on harbourfront usage despite the City missing the mark regarding transport connections.. All great. It's brilliant that the water is now clean enough to swim in and that people do it at every opportunity - even at four in the morning.

        Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement. There is a lack of sanctioned areas for bathing in the harbour (Copenhageners generally don't worry about those rules) and there is opportunity for creating viable and lively urban space with direct access to the water.



        Enter Steve C. Montebello - designer and architect here at Copenhagenize Design Company. Hailing from Malta, Steve understands the need for access to the sea for citizens of a city. He developed The Urban Archipelago for his design project for the final year of his B.Sc. in The Built Environment. With our offices located on Paper Island, on the harbour in the heart of Copenhagen, we instantly saw how this brilliant idea could be applied virtually right outside our door, let alone at numerous locations along the harbour and elsewhere in Denmark.

        Two factors inspired Steve to create the modular Urban Archipelago. One was the brilliant Sugata Mitra, who has brilliant TED talks about children and education. His Self-Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) concept got Steve thinking. The other factor was the eternal battle for urban space for the citizens.

        Steve's idea, like all good ideas, is simple. Creating an off-shore activity area that provides access to the water - including jumping in from various heights YAY! - and that shields the users from any boat traffic that may be chugging past. Hang out, eat lunch, make out, doze, swim, play. Whatever you need to do, The Urban Archipelago system will help you out. It's the perfect addition to any Life-Sized City.



        Of course, we did a rendering of what it would look like right outside our offices on Paper Island/Papir?en. Bring on the summer.


        The modular unit can be tesselated, allowing for a large variety of arrangement possibilities. The layout of the individual is organic and changeable and can be adapated to user needs, user volume and specific location requirements.



        The main intentions of Steve's design were to create floating modular units consisting of a square base which could be tessellated. These modular units will increase public space at the location they are anchored. Steve has even factored in free wifi. Nice.


        The modular elements are connected by ropes and pre-existing pontoon elements. A separate module can be anchored off to the side, covered with solar panels that could power the wifi and any other electricity needs.



        The modular units are constructed in a workshop. They will then be assembled as prefabricated elements on site, in whatever size and form is desired or required.

        It's a brilliant, simple and effective idea. It also makes us miss summer badly. We decided at Copenhagenize Design Company to build more stuff in 2015. Maybe we should get started on this.







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