Smooth routes make cycling more popular

A good and well-functioning cycle route network makes cycling a
real alternative for car and public transport e.g. on journeys to
work. Direct routes with not too many delays and stops encourage
more people to hop on a bike. Also smooth interchanges and
successful separation of different modes of transport make cycling
more attractive. 

HSL’s recent study lists the quality criteria for a cycle
network and defines the main cycle network in the Helsinki
region. The aim is to create a continuous, high-quality cycle route
network, which increases the attractiveness of cycling. 

The target cycle network 2020 includes 12 quality cycling
corridors that connect the largest housing and employment clusters.
The quality corridors enable safe, fast and even-paced
cycling. They extend about 15-20 kilometers from the center of
Helsinki, the quality corridor of the main rail line up to
Kerava. The quality corridors are supplemented by a regional cycle
route network which connects the region’s largest housing,
employment and service clusters. The regional cycle routes follow
the main road network.

The total length of the quality cycling corridors is 186km,
while the length  of the regional cycle route network is 714 km.
The network mainly consists of existing cycle paths.  In the study,
missing route sections and improvement measures needed were
identified, and a program of measures was established on the basis
of these. Some 22 km of new paths need to constructed for the
quality corridors, as well as 65 km of new paths for the regional
cycle route network. The cost estimate for the cycle paths to be
constructed is EUR 55 million.

In terms of land use, it is economical to construct cycle paths
in rail corridors. However, the quality cycling corridors must be
included in the planning from the start because their
implementation along the rail corridors afterwards is difficult and
expensive. The amount of available space is limited in particular
around stations. Thus, it would be important to create quality
cycling corridors along rail lines when constructing new city rail

The main cycle network plan covers the 14 Helsinki region
municipalities. The plan identifies different needs of the areas
included. Quality level targets of the quality corridors and
regional cycling routes were established for seven different
operating environments. The plan is a follow up to the Helsinki
Region Transport System Plan (HLJ 2011).

Increasing the modal share of cycling improves the efficiency of
the transport system and decreases adverse environmental impacts of
transport. Cycling is a zero-emission mode of transport as well as
excellent incidental exercise. A high-quality, well-functioning
cycle route network is vital if we want to increase
cycling. Improving the main cycle network and making it cycling
faster increases commuter cycling in particular. When cycling is
easier, the average length of cycle journeys increases. This
together with increasing number of cycle journeys increases cycling
in the capital area by up to 14 percent.