Sharing experiences in sustainable transportation – the examples of Odense and Lübeck
Odense Green Travel Experience
Denmark is known as the “Bicycle Kingdom”, and in 2015 Odense was awarded the title of “Bicycle City” of Denmark. Odense has a population of about 200,000 people in an area of about 300 square kilometers. At present, Odense has 540 kilometers of cycling paths and more than 2-3 bicycles per capita .
- Advocating bicycle travel is conducive to reducing energy security and urban traffic congestion
Before the oil crisis in the 1970s, cars were the main means of transportation in Odense and Denmark as a whole, resulting in Denmark’s energy dependence on foreign countries as high as 99% . The oil crisis prompted Denmark to diversify its energy sources by reducing its dependence on fossil fuels. In response to the crisis, the city government subsequently promoted a shift to bicycles and designated every Sunday as “car-free day”. This initiative was also in line with the need to address traffic congestion in the city at the time. The rapid increase in the number of cars put pressure on the city’s roads and gave the city government the impetus to solve the problem with bicycles.
- Odense government creates a friendly environment for bicycling
Convenient “traveling and parking” is a key element in maintaining high bicycle ridership. The Odense Municipality encourages and facilitates the use of bicycles by citizens and tourists through the use of lanes, traffic lights, facilities, rentals, and parking fees.
- Build a comprehensive alternative transportation system with new energy sources
In “The municipality Urban Regeneration Strategy”, Odense proposes to build a comprehensive alternative travel system based on the core of road trolley, cycling and walking, so as to increase the travel options for the citizens.
- Integration of low carbon transportation into climate change action
As the climate problem is becoming more and more prominent, Denmark proposes to completely get rid of fossil fuels by 2050, and the proportion of sustainable energy in the total energy consumption is 100% . The city of Odense has followed suit accordingly, formulating urban planning and low-carbon transportation construction and emission targets, and integrating the construction of the city’s low-carbon transportation system with the fight against climate change. According to incomplete statistics, Odense has become known as a low-carbon transportation city through the implementation of a series of municipal transportation plans over the years.
Information compiled from the official website of the Municipality of Odense www.odense.dk
Green mobility experience in Lübeck
In 1987, the old town of Lübeck was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a result of its development, Lübeck now has a total urban area (old town plus new town) of about 200 square kilometers and a population of almost 220,000 in 2017 . The share of transport trips in Lübeck is, in descending order: private car, walking, cycling, public transportation. The share of car trips is 47%, the share of walking is 28%, biking is 17%, and public transportation such as trains/buses is 8% .
- Walking-based multiple alternative travel modes in the old city center
The Old Town is a city center (also known as the inner city), densely populated, and has a large amount of historical and cultural heritage. In this area, a variety of alternative modes of transportation are implemented, including “public transportation + bicycles + walking”. Walking is the main mode of transportation. The Municipality of Lübeck has designated a pedestrian zone in the old town and set a time of day when walking is exclusively allowed and vehicles are not permitted.
- Reducing traffic congestion in the Old Town by using alternative modes of transportation
Traffic congestion caused by commuting is also a problem in the Old Town of Lübeck. In order to solve this problem, the Municipality added the option of “rental bikes + public transportation” in the Old Town in order to create an integrated green transportation system of “walking – biking – public transportation”. The renewed public transportation network allows most of the bus stops to be within a 5-8 minute walk from the destinations in the Old Town. The Old Town and its surroundings are well covered by walking and cycling.
- The government of Lübeck is active in making Lübeck a bicycle-friendly city
The city government has taken advantage of Lübeck’s flat topography and traditional strengths to actively create Lübeck as a bicycle-friendly city and to promote green mobility in the city. In particular, the municipality promotes and guarantees bicycle mobility through planning documents such as the “Concept: Bicycle Friendly Lübeck” (Konzept “Fahrradfreundliches Lübeck”). The municipal government plans to increase cycling to 25% of Lübeck’s resident population by 2020 and to reduce the accident rate by 50% . The relevant measures are as follows:
- Lane renovations and additions and development of long-distance bike lanes;
- Maintaining roadway accessibility for cycling;
- Safe cycling through bicycle speed limits;
- Installation of additional parking facilities;
- Reducing bicycle theft;
- Promoting discounted bicycle rental packages;
- Increasing the use of bicycles for office use by government agencies;
- Strengthening cycling publicity and organizing cycling competitions and events to consolidate the cycling culture.
It is worth mentioning that the German federal government also supports and promotes cycling as a climate-friendly mode of transportation from the national level in dedicated texts, such as the National Cycling Plan 2020 (RRVP 2020).
- Lübeck’s active response to climate change and its integration into transportation planning
The Municipality of Lübeck has consciously integrated transportation planning with environmental protection and the fight against climate change. 2010 saw the adoption of the “Action Plan for Climate Protection”. 2019 saw the declaration of the “Climate Emergency” in May, which argues that urgent action should be taken in response to the rise in global temperatures in order to protect people and the environment. In its fourth Regional Local Transport Plan 2019-2023 (RNVP), the Lübeck government plans to reduce an average of 600 tons of CO2 and 4 tons of NOx per year in Lübeck by 2030.