Prague’s active mobility strategy and standards for non-motorized infrastructure

Publikováno: 29. června. 2023, 10 min. čtení
Publikováno: 29. června. 2023, 10 min. čtení

The active mobility strategy in Prague is the main strategic document of the City of Prague in the field of active mobility. Together with the active mobility standards, it creates a framework for supporting pedestrian and cycling traffic in Prague. The documents, approved in August 2022, were published on the website of the Institute of Planning and Development of the City of Prague (IPR).

The author of the article was a member of the working group that prepared the documents of the Active Mobility Strategy in Prague and the Active Mobility Standards in Prague.

The Active Mobility Strategy in Prague and the Active Mobility Standards were approved by the Council of the City of Prague through Resolution No. 1859 dated August 1, 2022. The preparation of the documents started at the end of 2021. The development of the Strategy and Standards fulfills one of the tasks of the Prague Sustainable Mobility Plan, which was approved by Resolution No. 7/32 of the City Council of Prague on May 24, 2019. The Strategy and Standards were published on the strategic documents portal of the Institute of Planning and Development without further notice. Although the documents were approved in August, there has been no other information about them until now.

The preamble of the documents states:

The implementation of this Strategy is the task of the City of Prague Municipal Authority, relevant contributory organizations of the City of Prague, and companies within the property portfolio of the City of Prague. The implementation of these Standards is the task of the City of Prague Municipal Authority, relevant contributory organizations of the City of Prague, and companies within the property portfolio of the City of Prague, especially in the development activities of the territory and when commissioning investment actions in public spaces.

The Active Mobility Strategy

The Active Mobility Strategy formulates a number of goals that are to be fulfilled by city institutions in collaboration with city districts.

The following strategic goals have been defined for the year 2030:

  • Achieve a combined share of active mobility and public transport in transport demand of 81%.
  • Increase the share of pedestrian traffic in transport demand to 27.5% (annual average).
  • Increase the share of cycling traffic in transport demand to 3.5% (annual average).

Furthermore, the following specific goals are formulated to be met by 2030:

  1. Conversion of the majority of car trips shorter than 1.5 km to active mobility
  2. Ensuring the vast majority of school trips are made through active mobility or in combination with public transport
  3. Placing new developments in good proximity to rail-based public transport and ensuring high-quality pedestrian and cycling connections to it
  4. Complete backbone network of cycle routes implemented to a high standard, capacity, and continuity of cycling measures
  5. Systematic application of 30 km/h zones, cycle zones, and residential zones on the servicing road network
  6. Development of pedestrian zones and meeting zones in significant public spaces or near major destinations
  7. Systematic provision of quality conditions for pedestrians
  8. Systematic provision of quality conditions for cyclists on the street
  9. Integration of bikesharing systems into public transport as part of the Mobility as a Service concept
  10. Development of B+R parking facilities and other parking options for bicycles
  11. Reduction of the number of accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists in relation to the total proportion of pedestrian and cycling transport in the modal split
  12. Development of a micro-depot network using cargo bikes and pedestrian transport
  13. Ensuring quality winter and regular maintenance of infrastructure for active mobility
  14. Setting up a subsidy scheme for funding local projects from the Prague city budget while complying with city-wide concepts and standards
  15. Taking into account the requirements for the development of active mobility in the early stages of project preparation by city, state, and private investors.

The fulfillment of these strategic and specific goals is regularly evaluated through a set of indicators. These include, for example (abbreviated):

  • division of transport work,
  • number of implemented projects for the reconstruction or repair of infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists,
  • budget for active mobility,
  • number of short trips taken by car,
  • number of schools that have included active mobility topics in their curriculum,
  • number of lowered curbs on pedestrian crossings and crossings for cyclists,
  • number of accidents and their consequences for vulnerable road users,
  • length of marked cycling routes,
  • length of various types of cycling infrastructure,
  • proportion of cycle paths to one-way streets,
  • length of pedestrian and residential zones, 30 km/h zones,
  • number and capacity of bicycle parking facilities,
  • number and length of routes within bikesharing systems,
  • proportion of cyclists who have rated cycling in Prague as safe,
  • proportion of active cyclists who have rated parking and storing their bicycle in Prague as problem-free

and others.

An essential part of the Strategy is also the establishment of rules for the preparation of non-motorized urban projects, including multi-criteria evaluation and a manual for city districts.

Standards for active mobility in Prague

The standards define specific principles, rules, and parameters for planning, designing, and building infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as for all users of active mobility in the area of the City of Prague. They are the „implementing“ document of the Strategy. The standards do not replace legal or technical norms, nor existing strategic and conceptual documents, but complement them. They primarily define the „standard“ for pedestrian and cycling infrastructure solutions for the Prague area. The standards define the optimal state that needs to be aimed for and must be met in construction projects (new buildings or reconstructions), which may not be adhered to by non-construction modifications.

The standards address the principles of design and pedestrian standards in their text quite extensively. For the standard of cycling infrastructure, the following principles are defined: continuity, directness, attractiveness, safety, comfort, and speed. Infrastructure is designed with consideration for different groups of cyclists (new and inexperienced, moderately experienced, experienced, professional).

A hierarchy of cycling infrastructure is defined, resulting in a trio of standards (highest, higher, and basic). The highest standard corresponds to recently defined superior routes, the higher standard should be met by most cycling routes, and the basic standard applies to all roads accessible to cyclists.

Recommended and permissible measures are defined for each standard and type of communication. For example, for low-traffic streets, a cycle street is recommended in the highest standard, and a 30 km/h zone is recommended in the basic standard. Typical measures are then described in more detail. In some cases, the standard goes beyond the applicable standards and technical regulations. For example, it requests a width of 3 meters for sidewalks and allows entry over pedestrian crossings in 30 km/h zones. The following requirements are essential in cycling:

  • The basic width of a one-way cycle lane (in „Danish-style“ standards) is 2.25 meters. Exceptions for using a smaller width are detailed and relatively narrow.
  • Asymmetric integration of cycling measures on roads with slopes (greater protection uphill).
  • Pedestrian paths with permitted bicycle riding from a width of 3.5 meters (exceptionally from 2.5 meters).
  • One-way roads in a 30 km/h zone are always designed as cycle contraflows (see page 76), cycle contraflows are established according to Technical Standard 176 (page 78).
  • Cycling stations can be established outside slopes over 1% and exceptionally for bus stops.
  • Rules for stopping on a bicycle in an associated area are specified.

Standards also define a type of measure called a meeting zone (Shared Space), which must first go through the legislative process.

Standards also newly define the number of bicycle parking spaces for each type of building. However, these are only recommended for investors outside the capital city of Prague.

Finally, principles are defined for surfaces that should generally be smooth and reinforced. Suitable types of pavement are listed for public spaces, and a nature-friendly reinforced surface is specified for protected areas.

Conclusion

A more detailed acquaintance with the Strategy and Standards can be made by studying them (downloadable here – in Czech). An action plan should follow the strategy and standards. The Strategy and Standards are currently approved by the City Council and the city authorities can be informed of their existence and requested to implement them.

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