Plan Guidelines on the integration of cycle highways in spatial planning

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

This chapter describes a model planning process for cycle highways using the FrankfurtRhineMain region as an example.

Note: Depending on the country and region, different framework conditions and requirements exist, so that the locally effective approach may have to be adapted.

There are two different starting points for the planning and implementation of cycle highways, which initiate cycle highways projects.

A. There is no potential analysis available yet and the project initiation is usually based on a mandate from the government to the administration to examine and, if necessary, carry out a feasibility study for a cycle highway between destination A and B. The development of a cycle highway can also begin as a project idea from citizens who are enthusiastic about cycling. In other cases the impulse comes from companies, associations or local authorities who see the need for a cylce highway. Ultimately, it is the administration that will start the cycle highway project.

Exchange platforms such as regional cycle forums are useful for promoting cylce highways. There cycle representatives can exchange views on new topics, identify commonalities and develop project ideas. These developments are usually parallel and mutually supportive.

B. An analysis for potential cycle highway corridors in the region is available. In the case described here, a "potential assessment of corridors for cycle highway connections" was commissioned by the State of Hesse, which applies to the whole of the State of Hesse and thus to the FrankfurtRhineMain region. The identifcation of these corridors was carried out on the basis of previously defined criteria. On the basis of such an analysis, the feasibility study can be started directly.

The application of uniform criteria in a feasibility study such as population density, employees subject to social insurance contributions, education locations or commuter relationships, but also technical standards such as width, surface quality and lighting have several advantages: Cycle highway projects become comparable and evaluable in their process and they can be prioritized by uniform standards and criteria. experience has shown that they can then be carried out more quickly. After their implementation they form a clear, recognizable picture in the network hierarchy, and - perhaps the most important point - they are eligible for funding if these standards and criteria are adhered to.

The state of Hesse has set up a network hierarchy for bicycle routes. Cycle highways are listed in the Hessian main cycle network, as they are assigned a high priority for cycle and overall traffic. The explicit classification of cycle highway [corridors] in the network hierarchy is evidence of political will for the development of this new mobility concept.


Whether the idea comes from the administration, politicians or citizenship, in the next step a declaration of intent is prepared within the administration of the municipalities concerned. With the signing of the declaration of intent by politicians, the official consent has been given for the cycle highway project. The next step is to commission a feasibility study.

Preliminary investigation/feasibility study

After a successful tender, an external planning office is commissioned by the leading governmental body for a feasibility study. Within the scope of this feasibility study, all aspects which are affected within the investigation area are examined. Within given corridors different routes or variants are worked out. The GIS-based Spatial Planning Tool can be used as a digital planning tool for this purpose [see here]. First costs can be calculated on the basis of the developed routes and their routing. In addition, a concept for public participation must be drawn up and implemented. The participation tool [see link] can be used for this purpose. With the help of defined evaluation criteria, the results are compared with each other and the appropriate route is selected for closer examination. This will be presented to politicians and the public.

Preparation of the preliminary draft

The preliminary design consists, among other things, of the technical road design, a graphic representation of the project, the designs for bridges, underpasses, etc. studies on the effects on soil, air, water, climate, humans, animals and plants and a description of all projects to offset these effects.

The building law procedure

Depending on the effort with which individual route sections can be implemented, a building law procedure may be necessary. All public and private interests involved are weighed against each other. Conflicting interests are balanced. This is followed by the approval of the project.

Execution planning and construction

The state, district or local authority, depending on its competence, commissions the construction of the cycle fast track and makes the necessary money available. On the basis of the execution planning, the construction of the cycle path begins.


After the opening of the cycle fast track, this route can be searched for different qualities. In addition to counting, surveys and participation procedures are adequate means of quality control.

Join the discussion