National Cycling Plan: How will Germany become a cycling nation by 2030?

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and coordinated by ifok GmbH, Fraunhofer ISI and the PTV Group have played a key role in developing the National Cycling Plan 3.0. Approaches to further promote cycling in Germany and turn the country into a nation of cyclists by 2030 were developed in a dialogue forum and incorporated into the National Cycling Plan. The plan was presented to the National Cycling Congress (NRVK) by Andreas Scheuer, the Federal Minister of Transport.

More trips and covering longer overall distances by bike, greater planned use of bikes and significantly fewer deaths and injuries thanks to safe infrastructure - the National Cycling Plan (NCP) 3.0 cites these and other important goals. To ensure these goals are implemented by 2030, experts from a wide range of different fields developed approaches to further promote cycling in a dialogue forum organized by ifok GmbH and with scientific support by the PTV Group and Fraunhofer ISI. Important guiding principles of the federal government and topics submitted via a previously organized online citizen participation process were discussed and then considered in the National Cycling Plan 3.0.

Broad-based implementation of the concepts and measures for good cycling

This broad-based and open dialogue process, the formulation of concrete and measurable goals and the clear designation of tasks and responsibilities for achieving them distinguish the NCP 3.0 from its predecessors. "We already know what the concepts and measures for good cycling are, now it is time to implement them quickly on a wide scale," says Dr. Claus Doll, who was closely involved in the scientific accompanying research to the National Cycling Plan 3.0 on the part of Fraunhofer ISI.

The dialogue forum identified the following principles of active cycling promotion. First, a political and societal paradigm shift is required if the kilometers traveled by bike in Germany are to more than double by 2030 compared to 2017. This includes rethinking transport policy and planning in an innovative and integrated way across individual disciplines in order to cement the sustainable mobility trend triggered by the corona pandemic. Seamless and safe cycling through optimized cycling infrastructure, for instance, more fast cycle links and safe transport hubs as well as easily accessible and good quality facilities for parking bikes at central locations play a major role in this regard.

More cycling strengthens climate and environmental goals - and the bicycle industry

If bikes are to be used in the future as a daily means of transport by all population groups, it is important to raise awareness of the health benefits of cycling and to provide mobility education, especially for children and young people, to get them enthusiastic about cycling at an early age. If this is successful, the bicycle industry in Germany also stands to profit. Germany as a business location will benefit overall through innovative cycling products and services, but also through increased cycle tourism, new logistics concepts and promoting bikes as the ideal way to commute. Expanding emission-free cycling will also help Germany to meet its national environmental and climate protection targets and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

In addition to these principles that actively promote cycling, the National Cycling Plan also formulates concrete goals and measures in four pillars: "Cycling & politics", "Cycling & infrastructure", "Cycling & people" and "Cycling & business" as well as two fields of action to achieve the guiding objectives. Firstly, both urban and rural areas must be considered so that cycling experiences a boom through appropriate urban or settlement development, with high-quality infrastructures playing a key role here. Furthermore, modern technologies and digital solutions should be used in the spirit of sustainable and interconnected cycling and, in particular, to provide up-to-date data for planning bicycle traffic nationwide, which improves the safety, performance and comfort of cycling.

Adapt the Cycling Plan to changes in the spirit of a "learning system"

Dr. Claus Doll adds: "Like with new technologies, we should keep a constant eye on changes to the framework conditions for cycling, and openly evaluate the measures of the National Cycling Plan in a regional and national context, adapting and adjusting these where necessary - in the spirit of a 'learning system'. This will ensure that cycling in Germany continues to develop and that the bike can become the pivotal means of transport in a sustainable mobility transformation".

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.