Australia, despite having a culture of outdoor activity, is not blessed with a significant number of commuting cyclists. As such, End of Trip (EOT) facilities are not as common as in the UK – though they tend to be of high-quality where found. Elsewhere, 6.3% of commuters in Portland, Oregon use bikes, making it the USA’s most enthusiastic cycling city.
We are also seeing a trend towards car-free cities. The London Mayor’s Transport Strategy sets out ambitious targets for reducing reliance on the private car. The aim is for 80% of trips to be made by public transport, walking and cycling by 2041, compared to 63% today. Some cities are going even further; Oslo, for instance, is targeting an almost total mode shift away from the private car.
Many currently regard Paris as the stand-out European city in this respect. There, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is aspiring to great things. Paris now has over 1,000 km of segregated cycling routes, having added 50km in recent months alone. Its cycle hire scheme has hit record numbers, and it is estimated that 15% of all trips in Paris are now made by bike.
All of the above developments have serious implications for real estate and infrastructure. ReTour has shown the myriad ways in which cities are including active travel in their climate adaptation plans. We must, though, factor in behavioural changes forced upon us by the pandemic. Yes, there are more people on bicycles now than ever before, but will this translate into more commuter cyclists after the lockdown is fully over? Observers in both Birmingham and Manchester, the UK’s second and third cities respectively, certainly think so. Studies there have shown a potential rise of between 20% and 50% in the number of cyclists on the roads. Should it transpire, this will present a number of challenges to real estate owners and managers. If commuters are really shifting from cars to bikes, the demand for EOT facilities will increase sharply. And further questions will be asked of city planners and highways agencies. On the evidence of our discussions, nobody has yet fully embraced this opportunity. Real estate professionals will certainly need to.