Mobility and Transport

Clean transport, Urban transport

3.4 Cycle maps

3.4 Cycle maps

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Cycle maps provide information with the aim of aiding people to find their way whilst using a bicycle according to their preferences, but also to raise awareness regarding cycling.

Considerations for applicability

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Level of cycling

Cycle maps are likely to be beneficial in cities with both low and high levels of cycling.  Where low levels are experienced, the measure can help raise awareness and encourage uptake of cycling.

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Urban layout/topography

Cycle maps may be useful in cities where there is particularly hilly terrain or other access-affecting urban layout issues which would benefit from making clear alternative routes for bicycles.

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Cycle maps are likely to be beneficial in cities considered to be a tourist destination, in order to ensure that visitors to the city are able to successfully navigate the city by bicycle.

Cycle maps will also benefit any other local populations wishing to cycle within a city.

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Finance Resources

Development and provision of cycle maps (printed and online/via smart devices) can be a relatively low-cost measure to implement. Cost will be associated with gathering of data on cycling facilities production of the map, printing, distribution and any costs associated with making maps available online.

In Gdansk, the collection of data/information to create the cycling maps cost approximately €10,000. Printed maps cost €0.30 per unit.

In Budapest, printing of 36,000 maps cost approximately €25,000.

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Time & Human Resources

The time and human resources required to develop cycling maps for a city will vary depending on the size of the city and the extent of existing data on cycling routes and facilities within a city.

Where maps are being produced for the first time, it may be necessary to collect extensive (GIS) data on the location of routes and facilities, or utilise existing open-source information where possible. For all maps, this information will need to be regularly updated.

Map production time will include the detailed design, and consideration of any other information to be included on the map (promotional, raising awareness etc).

Measure impact highlight

3 way arrow representing accessibilityAccessibility

The production and use of maps, including cycling routes and facilities, is likely to increase accessibility within a city, particularly when complemented with appropriate signage.

Note: An overview of the direct and indirect impacts resulting from correctly implemented cycling measures is available in Challenges that cities face and how cycling can address them.

In-depth measure analysis, case studies and further guidance

Detailed description of the measure

Key features

Maps are a form of information, communication and promotion, enabling people who occasionally or regularly cycle to successfully navigate a city by bicycle.

Provision of local city maps which include additional information on cycle routes and cycling facilities (such as secure parking, repair/maintenance facilities, bicycle sharing/rental points/stations) ensures that basic information enabling residents/visitors who wish to cycle is made available. Maps are not necessarily restricted to cycling, but may also include information on a range of transport modes, such as public transport routes and stations/stops, pedestrian facilities and taxi ranks etc. Maps can also be accessed via a number of formats, including hard copies, downloadable/viewable online or in a more interactive format via an app.

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Function and objectives

Maps can provide cyclists with information regarding the location of cycling routes, facilities and services and the ability to navigate between them. Cycle maps may be used to indicate the routes (or alternative routes) that are considered safe, or safer, directing cyclists away from routes considered to be more dangerous. A secondary objective for maps is often to raise awareness and visibility of cycling as a transport mode within a city.

Complementary measures

As mentioned earlier, maps can help to raise awareness and visibility of cycling as an alternative mode of transport, complementing other measures that fall under Information, Communication and Promotion, in particular 3.5 Signage and wayfinding and 3.1 Cycle information and awareness raising.

Whilst these measures can play an important role in raising awareness regarding cycling, it is important for supporting cycling-related infrastructure to be in place in order for residents/visitors to maximise the use of cycling. However, maps can provide information on the most appropriate routes for people who cycle taking into consideration the current status of the cycling/road network within a city.


Very little information is available in terms of the evaluated performance of cycling maps. Like other information and awareness raising tools, cycling maps rely to some extent on the provision of other cycling infrastructure, measures and facilities in order to successfully influence cycling modal share. Maps can contribute to achieving this by raising awareness of existing infrastructure and routes.

Accessibility is also likely to be increased through the provision of information to residents/visitors on existing routes/facilities for bicycles and easier navigation of these routes with complementary signage.

Therefore, awareness through the provision of maps identifying key facilities could help to increase cycling mode share (and other secondary impacts associated with increased cycling mode share) and increase accessibility.

Cycle maps can help to reduce the barriers to cycling, whilst increasing awareness and increasing the ease and comfort of cycling.

Parameters of success or failure

It is important for maps (paper and online) to be attractive, containing clear and easy to understand information aimed at residents and visitors to the city. In cities considered to be tourist destinations, information in a number of languages may be desirable (see Gdansk cycling map – published in Polish, English, German and Russian).

Routes and facilities should be clearly marked. Cities may want to consider continuing colour themes used for other cycle infrastructure/routes within the city, including any city-specific branding. This will contribute to raising awareness of cycling within the city but may also assist with maximising recognition and comprehension amongst all users.

Cycling maps should avoid an overload of information at the expense of readability of the map by its users. To ensure readability for all potential users, cities can look at supporting measures such as wayfinding and maps using other approaches, such as the City of Bolzano (Italy) that applied a metro line-type schemes to its cycling map and signposting (see Rad-Metro Bozen case study, in signage and wayfinding).

Cities should consider the intended users of maps, including whether it is aimed at tourists or residents of a city. For example, an everyday trip from A to B may focus on direct functional routes and associated cycle services, whereas tourists may prefer more scenic routes and may need to identify key tourist destinations.

It is also important for all information provided to be relevant and up to date – therefore the information provided on maps needs to be regularly assessed, reviewed and updated. In order to do this, a database of cycling assets should be kept up to date.

Cities may want to use maps as a way of disseminating additional information regarding cycling to users. This may include information on other local bicycle initiatives or measures, local cycling facts and figures, cycle safety, cycling and public transport information etc. (see Budapest cycling map).

At its simplest level, the production of cycle maps and route planners can be transferred to any city. 

The dissemination of cycle maps is also key to their success. Cities should initially consider whether maps will be free or if they will incur a cost. They should also be available at a number of locations, including tourist information, public transport stations and hubs, schools and other education facilities, other public buildings/locations, cycling events, and online.