CIVITAS Handshake


In all corners of Europe, cities face alarming levels of congestion and air pollution and a scarcity of public space, whilst urban environments remain dangerous for vulnerable road users. Cycling is a powerful way to address these challenges and steer cities towards being more sustainable, equitable and economically prosperous places for citizens. The Horizon 2020 project CIVITAS Handshake supports ten highly-motivated EU cycling cities in learning from three pioneering, successful, and world-class cycling cities in the uptake of proven cycling solutions.

Hand­shake helps cities of all types become more live­able places, improv­ing con­di­tions for cycling as an every­day mode of transport.

Hand­shake sup­ports the effec­tive take up of the inte­grat­ed cycling solu­tions suc­cess­ful­ly devel­oped by Ams­ter­dam, Copen­hagen and Munich, the so called Cycling Cap­i­tals“, to 10 high­ly com­mit­ted Future Cycling Cap­i­tals“, Bor­deaux Metro­pole, Bruges, Cadiz, Dublin, Helsin­ki, Krakow, Greater Man­ches­ter, Riga, Rome and Turin. Hand­shake will achieve this by improv­ing the qual­i­ty of both cycling infra­struc­ture and com­mu­ni­ca­tions through iden­ti­fy­ing inno­va­tion in areas such as intel­li­gent trans­port sys­tems, bike shar­ing, mod­el­ling, bike park­ing, socio-eco­nom­ic assess­ment and gov­er­nance and decision-making. 

Cycling inno­va­tions brought togeth­er into a sup­port­ive and nov­el trans­fer cycle

Experts and local author­i­ties join forces in Hand­shake to design, devel­op and imple­ment over 60 solu­tions across these 13 cities. These solu­tions may be mul­ti-faceted or inter­con­nect­ed, but each solu­tion fits into one of four cat­e­gories of activ­i­ty that help dri­ve the per­for­mance of suc­cess­ful cycling cities.

1. Plan­ning, Reg­u­la­tions and Stan­dards: The deliv­ery of high qual­i­ty infra­struc­ture, togeth­er with achiev­ing a moti­vat­ed cycling pop­u­la­tion, require effec­tive plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion. Activ­i­ties include the prepa­ra­tion of cycling infra­struc­ture net­work plans, rais­ing the stan­dards in design guid­ance doc­u­ments, and link­ing with oth­er modes of trans­port to improve how the trans­port sys­tem is man­aged. Togeth­er these help give cycling projects a fair chance to succeed.

2. Infra­struc­ture and Ser­vices: The design and lay­out of phys­i­cal infra­struc­ture projects is the most top­i­cal aspect with­in Hand­shake. Solu­tions range from expand­ing the qual­i­ty and pro­por­tion of space cre­at­ed for cycling, to improv­ing the street envi­ron­ment, cater­ing for bicy­cle stor­age and chang­ing traf­fic lights to give cyclists easy and con­tin­u­ous jour­neys with­out stopping.

3. Mod­el­ling and Assess­ment: Tech­niques can be used before and after cycling schemes are imple­ment­ed to make sure they con­tribute effec­tive­ly towards a wide range of dif­fer­ent objec­tives. Hand­shake looks at the effec­tive­ness of cycling solu­tions from many angles, such as through the expe­ri­en­tial analy­ses of cyclists’ safe­ty, to the mod­el­ling and mea­sur­ing how the trans­port sys­tem oper­ates, to the effec­tive­ness of pub­lic­i­ty to encour­age cycling.

4. Aware­ness and Edu­ca­tion: What is the point of only hav­ing infra­struc­ture if nobody knows where the routes go, or they don’t feel moti­vat­ed or con­fi­dent enough to try rid­ing a bike in the first place? Com­mu­ni­ca­tions cam­paigns and approach­es help blend prac­ti­cal knowl­edge with inspi­ra­tional mes­sag­ing. When done well, they can height­en the suc­cess and sta­tus of new infra­struc­ture projects. 

Cycling knowl­edge and exper­tise is being shared through trans­fer process­es and men­tor­ing pro­grammes between cities that will them­selves help shape best practice

To do so, Hand­shake applies Tran­si­tion Man­age­ment as a method that helps sus­tain long-last­ing change with­in cities want­i­ng to advance their cycling prac­tices. The project also runs Immer­sive Study Tours’ and Immer­sive Sym­posia’. Unlike stan­dard con­fer­ences or train­ing, these events are high­ly per­son­al and sen­so­ry learn­ing expe­ri­ences. And final­ly, Hand­shake assists its cities to max­i­mize the pos­i­tive socio-eco­nom­ic and envi­ron­men­tal impacts of cycling solu­tions, cap­tur­ing quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive effects on dif­fer­ent tar­get groups.