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Measures to incrase cycling

Bicycle-Friendly Street Norrebrogade

Bridge view of the Norrebrogade
Bridge view of the Norrebrogade © Thomas Möller

The Norrebroagde is a major radial street in Copenhagen from the suburbs into the city centre. Especially for cyclists it is an important link from the city centre to the outer parts of the city. Additionally it is a central shopping street in a dense trendy living area. It used to be an ordinary city street with a maximal speed of 50km/h. In each direction there were two lanes for the cars, one cycle track in places as narrow as 2 m and the pavement. The amount of cyclists which used the street was about 30,000 cyclists/day and 17,000 cars/day in 2004. To increase the travelling speed for cyclists already in 2006 a green wave for the cyclists was established in the Norrebrogade (see "Green Wave" Best Practice).

The Norrebrogade project was developed in the context of the politically decided programme "Eco-Metropolis" to develop Copenhagen to the world capital of cycling and climate. Until 2015 the share of cyclist for commuting is projected to be 50% (2008 37%), the number of injured cyclists shall decrease about 50% and 80% of the cyclists should feel safe. To achieve these goals the changing of the Norrebrogade as the street with the most cyclists into a really bike friendly street was one project. The reduction of car traffic has to be reached with a diversity of measurements like reducing the space for cars, lowering the speed or rising the costs for the usage of the car. The implementation of road pricing is not possible because of restrictions through the national law so the focus of the city of Copenhagen lies in the other measurements.

For the Norrebrogade it was decided to put it on a "Road diet" what ment to downsize it, to make it less attractive for cars. The motorised traffic of the Norrbrogade could have been absorbed by an other street nearby. During a testing phase in 2009 temporarily measures were implemented:

  • in each direction one lane for cars (one less than before)
  • lower speed limits (40 km/h)
  • the cycle tracks width had been doubled in some places (up to 4 m).
  • pavement for the pedestrians has been widened in places
  • on the pavements sunny side there is more room for outside cafés and restaurants
  • cars are forbidden to pass at two points but some still does though it is not legal (no permanent controls either)
  • busses still pass the street
  • refuges for bus passengers introduced
  • reduction of parking (less parking places, no long term parking, delivery is possible from side-streets)
  • at the junctions the bikes can turn into the street but not the cars

The project was initiated by the Mayor for the Technical and Environmental Administration, Klaus Bondam, who was very concerned about the demands of cyclists. It has been decided by the politicians to make one part of the project permanent. Until now the measures are only temporarily, the design and the building is only provisional and not very elaborated. A permanent solution is designed by early 2010 and the expenses amounting to some DKK 37 million (ca. 5 Mio.Euro). The financing is proved by the politicians and will be taken from the ordinary street budget.

The Norrebrogade project was planned by the Traffic department, also involving Moller and Gronborg Architecs. The whole process of implementation of the provisional measures was quite difficult. The shop owners had strong objections. Alltogether it was very political and unpopular for certain groups and the mayor had to fight for the project.


Since 2005 a gradually increase from 30,000 Cyclists/Day to 37,000 has been observed. Thoroughfare car traffic has been reduced about nearly 50%. Although some groups are not pleased with the measurement it had a great impact to the attractiveness of the street (evaluation made by COWI Consults). Temporarily measures will be changed into permanent urban design. The financing is approved to change more than half of the street into a permanent status with nice urban design. It is not clear when the money for the second part will be approved and allocated. This depends on political decisions and the availability of money. The timetable is not fully in place.

Why is it an innovative example to follow?

These measures show how important it is to adapt the appearance of a street to make it fully friendly for usage for cyclists and pedestrians.


5 000 000 €
Investment: 37 m DKK (ca. 5 m Euro). This is the amount of money neede for the first part of the street and will be taken from the ordinary street budget.


But only available in danish.

Project manager / parties involved

Project management: 
Traffic department
Project parties involved: 
Moller and Gronborg Architecs

Project term

The project is estimated as on-going without a special end date: 
On-going since: 
January 2006
Completed on: 
December 2009
Further information: 
This was a temporarily measurement, in the next years it will be changed into a permanent status.


Mr. Niels Jensen
City of Copenhagen
Island Brygge 37
1505 Copenhagen
Telefon: +4533663569

Mr. Klaus Grimar
City of Copenhagen
Department for Technical and Environmental Issues, Traffic Department.
Island Brygge 237, 2nd floor
1505 Copenhagen V

Date (Text as of…)
1. June 2010
Niels Jensen, City of Copenhagen
NRVP action fields
Cycling facilitiy
Pilot project
Roadway: cross sectional split
Road environment design
Traffic light