Promoting bicycle use and ensuring the safety of cyclists

Basic Information

Mobility solution ID



- complete




Through an integrated package of measures, cycling was promoted among residents, commuters and students on the Venice mainland.

Implementing sustainable mobility

The measure was implemented as part of the city of Venice’s efforts to encourage a modal shift in favour of modes that lower traffic congestion and have a low environmental impact, particularly in view of the fact that 50 percent of car journeys on the Venice mainland covered less than 4 km. At the time of measure implementation, there were more than 4,800 parking spaces, and a continuous demand to support commercial activities by providing even more car parks. As 7,500 vehicles were entering the city each day, 4,500 driven by people travelling to work, it was vital to change the attitudes of commuters and shoppers towards city-centre mobility and promote less-polluting and healthier modes of transport.

Mainland Venice is connected to the rest of the city by a bridge that is used by buses, trains and cars. Bicycle use is forbidden in the centre of Venice, although not in mainland Venice and on other lagoon islands. In the late 1990s the development of cycling facilities became a priority, with the adoption of the Cycling Paths Plan. In 2002, the city of Venice created a specific office to promote cycling mobility. In its first year, the so-called Bike Office produced a map of cycle lanes, organised cycle lane maintenance and carried out a survey of cycling habits. According to some estimates, bicycles accounted for only about 8 percent of total trips in 2000, although as a result of infrastructure developments, the share had risen to 16 percent by 2006. In 2004, around 2,000 high-schools students (about 25 percent of the total) living on the Venice mainland, plus many pupils from elementary and middle schools, went to school every day by bicycle.

The main objective of this measure was to increase bicycle use in Venice by about 18 percent by the end of 2008 by targeting residents through communication campaigns and educating school pupils in the use of bicycles and safe routes.

The measure involved a new conceptual approach with a radical change in the strategies employed. Bicycle use was promoted through a complementary set of actions and by designing and applying new strategies targeting specific user groups, particularly primary school pupils.


Research and technological developmentLocations for 100 secure bike racks were identified in commercial and residential areas of mainland Venice, and in strategic parts of the city such as the public library, Ferretto Square and the main shopping centre. The criteria used were convenience, attractiveness, and proximity to cycle lanes. The 100 bike racks were installed in Mestre in July 2007.

The Bike Safely to School project in 2006 and 2007 involved providing road and environmental education in three schools; identifying and signposting safe bicycle routes between homes and schools in cooperation with three local elementary and middle schools; and setting up a so-called Officer Scheme in April 2008, in which local pensioners or volunteers accompany groups of elementary schoolchildren on the signposted safe routes (the so-called BICIBUS).

A multimedia communication campaign was also launched, targeting elementary school students. Some 10,000 updated maps of cycle lanes and paths on the Venice mainland were printed and distributed to all primary and secondary schools in Mestre in September 2007, and the city of Mestre installed signs to improve the visibility of the dedicated home-school routes.


The expected results were achieved in full. At the end of the MOBILIS project, the cycle lane network had increased by 70 percent since 2002 and the number of bike racks by about 10 percent since 2006. Many schools were involved in the signposting activities.

A 2008 survey showed that, in the city of Mestre, the modal share of bikes was around 19.5 percent of the total trips made by residents. The percentage of residents who cycle often increased from 35 percent in 2006 to 42 percent in 2008, and bicycle traffic increased by 15 and 24 percent respectively on Mestre’s two main streets.

The level of participation in schools was very high: more than 2,500 children, 130 classes and about 15 volunteers were involved and more than 90 percent of schoolteachers were satisfied with the communication efforts and cycle promotion initiatives.

Air pollution, global climate change and traffic congestion are all reduced by biking instead of driving, although quantifying the environmental benefits of the modal shift was not possible as no model or data for calculating them was available for the city of Venice.



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