Plan European map for Potential Cycle Highways

  1. Plan
  2. Design and Build
  3. Sell
  4. Evaluate

Open the map and zoom into your region to see how your cycle highway (network) is related to the potential cycle highways in Europe. This European fishing lake for potential cycle highways helps you to:

  • envision a future cycle highway (network) in your region
  • start creating different scenario's for the route alignment
  • give identity to your cycle highway (network)


Considering the cycle highway as the future alternative for car-oriented activity patterns and travel behaviour starts with the exploration of a European wide cycle highway network. First step in the process is developing understanding about the possible high-level feasibility. Planning infrastructural developments is nothing new. Already several planning tools exist, ranging from traditional traffic forecast models, quick scan modules to cycling counts. The more sophisticated tools require detailed social economic information (inhabitants and jobs) and by preference multimodal infrastructural data. Given the diversity in and availability of data within Europe, the CHIPS approach was to develop a generic tool catering for first insights in the (trans)national cycle highway development feasibility within Europe.

In order to generate the European Cycle Highway Potential Map, the development process can be divided in five stages:

  • population data
  • trip generation
  • build network
  • assign to connections
  • cluster connections

Population data

In line with the cycle highway definition, cycle highways are set to connect cities and or suburbs, residential areas and major (work)places. As a basis for the calculations the Geostat dataset was used, which contains the full European population in a grid of 1x1 kilometer. Although this dataset doesn’t consist of job related information, the assumption is that in the vicinity of most major (work)places also residential areas are located. 

Trip generation

The outcome of the first stage is the amount of inhabitants per square kilometre. The second stage in the process is the calculation of the trip generation. Because of the diversity in cycling culture and cycling share throughout Europe there isn't a fixed parameter for the amount of cycling trips per inhabitant per day. Next, the objective is to explore the cycle highway network development feasibility in a similar way throughout Europe. Therefore the assumption is being made that every inhabitant cycles one trip each day. The actual future cycling demand of a cycle highway within a region requires more specific and more detailed information. The cycle highway development plans are then mostly more concrete and specific and require a different planning tool.

Build network

In order to determine the relevant cycle highway connections, a topological network has to be generated. This network is built based on the population data grid. The network is developed by first connecting all nodes in the grid, horizontally, vertically and diagonal, detailed by radial connections as shown in the figure. 

Assign to connections

After having the network ready, each individual trip, for the trip generation process, is assigned to the topological network. The routes for this assignment are determined using a shortest path algorithm. For each node in the grid this method is apply. Only on relations with social economic value cycling trips are assigned.

Cluster connections

Last step in the process is clustering all trips onto valuable potentially heavy used cycling relations. To obtain this result in an iterative process cyclists are rerouted by increasing speed on heavy used links. The outcome is a theoretical cycle highway potential map. Although the method is still open for enhancement, it shows the contours of cycle highway potential throughout Europe. In future, adding workplace data would increase the value of the map. In the total process of cycle highway planning more advanced in-depth models are already available on the market.  With these models specific regional cycle highway potential analyses can be executed. The European Cycle Highway Potential Map is already a sound basis for cycle highway exploration and discussion.

Join the discussion