What's Behind Copenhagen's Success as a Cycling City?

Denmark's capital is a model city in terms of biking, but the reasons that bikes rule go beyond political leadership and robust infrastructure.

August 22, 2019, 5:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink


Copenhagen Bikes

William Perugini / Shutterstock

Joe Cortright explores the factors that have put Copenhagen at the forefront of cycling. Strong political support for biking and huge investments in infrastructure are significant, but policies related to driving and housing have also helped make biking the mode of choice.

Cortright points out that Denmark has a high gas tax as well as an excise tax of 150 percent on most new vehicles. "Making cars and driving more expensive creates powerful incentives for people to live in places where there are good alternatives to car travel (including transit, walking and cycling), and to utilize these modes regularly."

In addition, Copenhagen has different housing and home ownership patterns. Almost two-thirds of housing is multifamily, and the nation also supports a tenant-governed system of social housing. The resulting density makes cycling more feasible and attractive, says Cortright.

Monday, August 12, 2019 in City Observatory

Stylized rendering of the Midwest Regional Rail Network

Federal Railroad Administration Proposes New Midwest Rail Network

If built, regional high-speed rail networks could provide an alternative to uncomfortable air travel and prevent travelers from becoming stranded at airports during extreme weather.

January 17, 2022 - The Urbanist

A silhouette of construction workers lowering larger numerals into place to form 2022.

Planning Trends to Watch in 2022

Building a framework of understanding for the year to come.

January 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Rendering of the proposed Farm Hub at The Great Park, Ontario

Massive New Park Coming to the Inland Empire

A 3.5-mile long greenway will bring trails, recreational facilities, and open space to Ontario, in San Bernardino County, California.

January 11, 2022 - Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Glenn Youngkin gesturing with his hands while speaking to the media and the public while campaigning for governor of Virginia at the Alexandria Farmers Market.

New GOP Governor's Anti-Climate Agenda Takes Shape in Virginia

New Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin made promises on the campaign trail to reverse the state's commitment to climate reductions.

4 hours ago - The Virginia Mercury

Houston Sprawl

Houston Area's Center of Gravity Shifts Outside the Loop

The population center of Harris County is now outside central Houston, a shift that occurred over the last two decades as the region's suburbs blossomed.

5 hours ago - Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

ITE Quickbites: New Transportation and Health Resources

Transportation planning decisions affect our lives in many ways. New Quick Bites (short reports) published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers can help create healthier and happier communities.

6 hours ago - ITE Transportation and Health Resources

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Case Study posted on HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.