All on the same path: participation of regional development agencies in the first Slovenian cycling conference
The Directorate for Sustainable Mobility and Transport Policy at the Ministry of Infrastructure in cooperation with the Municipality of Kranj organized the first National Cycling Conference which took place on September 28th and 29th 2022 in the premises of the Municipality of Kranj. The director of the Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region M. Sc. Lilijana Madjar participated at the round table entitled ‘How we can achieve more by working together’ on behalf of the Association of Regional Development Agencies of Slovenia (RRA GIZ).
The first day of the conference was marked by networking and connecting stakeholders at different levels of decision-making with the aim of forming a better cycling infrastructure as well as offering cycling as a better turism product. At the round table M. Sc. Lilijana Madjar was accompanied by Milena Černilogar-Radež, Ministry of Infrastructure, Lukas Stadtherr, Switzerland Mobility Foundation, Matjaž Rakovec, Mayor of the Municipality of Kranj and President of the Association of Municipalities of Slovenia, and Lea Rikato Ružič, Ljubljana cycling network and PNZ Ltd.
The roundtable discussion revealed the need for cooperation of different management and stakeholder levels in coordination, planning and implementation of cycling infrastructure and services in Slovenia. M.Sc. Lilijana Madjar as the representative of RRA GIZ pointed out that numerous experiences in the preparation of municipal and regional integrated mobility strategies have indisputably proven the importance of regional planning in the coordination, planning, placement and construction of long-distance bicycle connections. With their ability to identify mobility issues, expertise and proactivity, regional development agencies have proven to be an important and recognizable stakeholder and coordinator of the regional approach to cycling connections. The need for the establishment and long-term financing of regional mobility coordinating bodies which would be responsible for coordinating the course of long-distance cycling corridors at the regional and interregional level was also emphasized. Such a model will be tested in course of the current project ReMOBIL – Regional MOBILity Centers which will provide six regions in Slovenia with regional mobility centre of their own.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to the role of cycling in everyday mobility and the search for answers to how cycling as a form of sustainable mobility can contribute to the goals of decarbonisation. Among others, Darja Kocjan, Slovenian Railways – Passenger Transport, Tadej Brezina, Technical University of Vienna, Miro Kristan, Soča Valley Development Center and Andrej Klemenc sought answers to the relevancy and role of multimodality. The conclusion of the analysis of needs for multimodality was that cycling and walking are two of the healthiest and most economical ways of movement and can represent an integral part of regional traffic dynamics, especially if associated with a well-functioning public passanger transport. Despite the undertaken state investments in the construction of bike stands and racks, there is still a large need for a sufficient and properly equipped (parking) cycling infrastructure in major regional transport hubs. For a wider use of bike-train/bike-bus multimodality, additional investments in safe and convenient connecting cycling (and walking) infrastructure, installation of bike racks and general improvement of public passanger transport (e.g. adjustment of journey intervals, reliability of connections, reduction of alternative routes) is necessary at the national level.
The diversity of speakers and topics of the conference as well as the numerous participation and intensity of the discussion form a clear signal that for a successful development of cycling the cooperation of all stakeholders in the field is necesarry as well as a change in habits, a better traffic culture and improvment of coexistence on shared routes.