Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Prague Envy

Cycling development in Prague is going gangbusters compared to Budapest -- or at least it would seem so. A recent article gives a concise but comprehensive picture of the transport cycling scene in the Czech capital.

Official data from Prague City Hall shows cyclists with a 0.5-2 percent modal share, on par with the figures from Budapest. But Budapest's data is more than 10 years old, and the numbers have clearly gone up since then, especially considering the whole Critical Mass phenomenon only got started in 2004. (Tellingly, Prague's most recent Critical Mass drew 4,000 riders, compared to about 15,000 at Budapest's last one and 80,000 during the spring 2007 ride.)

Despite the fact that more people bike in Budapest, Prague seems to be doing a better job at cycling development.

A few tidbits from the article:
  • Budapest has about 160 km of paths and routes while Prague has 135 km of bike paths and 360 of signed routes.
  • Prague's long-term plan calls for the completion of more than 670 km of routes. Budapest is shooting no higher than 500.
  • Prague has a new bike-share system (see photo). Budapest has none.
  • Prague City Hall has a monitoring system in place to follow trends in cycling traffic (cycling trips are up 47% over the last three years). Budapest has no such system. And with no data on cycling levels, what rational basis is there for developing infrastructure and other services?
How can it be that the city with more demand for cycling improvements is getting less supply?

No comments: