City2City
COVID-19: Policy responses across Europe
02 July 2020 - Drawing on the content of this database of around 500 policy initiatives (April 2020), this report aims to present an overview of both large-scale government measures and collective agreements that impact on large groups of workers, setting this in the context of the evolving labour market situation.

02 July 2020 - The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of individuals and societies, including on the economy and labour markets, is unprecedented.

The impact of the global health emergency has placed a growing number of businesses under threat, putting the jobs of more and more workers at risk and impacting the livelihoods of many citizens.

Policymakers moved swiftly in an effort to mitigate the social and economic effects on businesses, workers and citizens. Eurofound’s COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch database provides information on initiatives introduced to cushion these effects.

This report draws on the content of this database of around 500 policy initiatives as of April 2020. It aims to provide an overview of both large-scale government measures and collective agreements impacting on larger groups of workers and sets this into the context of the evolving labour market situation.

Read the full report here or download the attached PDF of the report.

Voluntary Local Review: The implementation of the UN SDGs in Mannheim 2030
29 June 2020 - The City of Mannheim has developed the “Mannheim 2030” Mission Statement from the 17 UN sustainability goals in a large-scale public participation process. It sets out how we intend to live in Mannheim in 2030 and in doing so live up to our global responsibilities.

29 June 2020 - Since January 2016, the United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have served as a blueprint for all nations of the UN to implement sustainable development strategies. To formulate and implement an effective sustainable development strategy in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region, Mannheim’s municipal government must take a leadership role and be decisive in this capacity. The slogan “Think global, act local” makes sense here as we must be actively responsible in our efficient allocation and use of resources, especially considering the world’s social, economic, and ecological factors are more internationally linked than ever before.

This notion emphasizes the importance of efficient budget planning, coexistence in international and diverse cities, as well as intelligent consumption of food, water, energy, and other goods. Mannheim’s Fair-Trade Town program is an example of the city’s commitment to international relations, as it demonstrates Mannheim’s willingness to engage in fair economic interaction with other international cities and entities. Another key project is “Smart City Mannheim” which focuses on a strategy for modernizing and coordinating a variety of current and future digitalization and clean energy projects. From the medical technology industry to new mobility and industry 4.0, our future and the development of Mannheim are linked by several factors that will shape the city.

The City of Mannheim has developed the “Mannheim 2030” Mission Statement from the 17 UN sustainability goals in a large-scale public participation process. It sets out how we intend to live in Mannheim in 2030 and in doing so live up to our global responsibilities. We will regularly report the progress we have made in this regard to our citizens as well as the United Nations in a Voluntary Local Review (VLR). In this first VLR, we report on how we are achieving the “Mannheim 2030” Mission Statement with a description of the associated indicators and the measures we are already implementing to this end.

Access the full Voluntary Local Review here: https://www.local2030.org/pdf/vlr/mannheim-vlr-2020.pdf

The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan
The 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights are the beacon guiding us towards a strong Social Europe and set the vision for our new ‘social rulebook’. They express principles and rights essential for fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems in 21st century Europe. Some principles reaffirm rights already present in the Union acquis; others set clear objectives for the path ahead as we address the challenges arising from societal, technological and economic developments.

The European Pillar of Social Right Action Plan

by European Commission

The 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights are the beacon guiding us towards a strong Social Europe and set the vision for our new ‘social rulebook’. They express principles and rights essential for fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems in 21st century Europe. Some principles reaffirm rights already present in the Union acquis; others set clear objectives for the path ahead as we address the challenges arising from societal, technological and economic developments.

The effective implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights is now more important than ever and greatly depends on the resolve and action of Member States, who primarily hold responsibility for employment, skills and social policies.

EU-level actions can complement national actions and this Action Plan is the Commission’s contribution to the implementation of the Social Pillar principles, in line with the calls from European Leaders5 and the European Parliament.

The Action Plan draws on a large-scale consultation launched about a year ago where more than 1000 contributions were received from citizens, EU institutions and bodies, Member States, regional and local authorities, social partners, and civil society organisations7. The Action Plan sets out a number of EU actions that the Commission is committed to take during the current mandate, building on the many actions taken since the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights in Gothenburg8. It also puts forward three EU-level targets to be achieved by 2030 and that will help to steer national policies and reforms.

The Porto Social Summit in May 2021 will be an occasion to rally forces to renew, at the highest political level, the commitment to implement the Social Pillar. This Action Plan constitutes the Commission’s contribution to the Porto Social Summit. The Commission calls on Member States, social partners and other relevant actors, such as regional and local authorities as well as civil society, to join in a collective endeavour to accelerate the implementation of the Pillar within their respective spheres of competence, and swiftly make its principles a reality. So that a strong Social Europe continues to be a model for the world.

Access the full report here

Read more about the European Pillar of Social Rights and its 20 key principles and rights

Download the European Pillar of Social Rights Booklet here

European Pillar of Social Rights: Cities delivering social rights
Eurocities published a report mapping cities’ existing policy measures that are in line with the principles of the EU Pillar of Social Rights. Many cities already deliver inclusive social policies to promote social rights for all people even before the EU Social Pillar was adopted. However, we found that cities’ efforts are not always known or recognised at national and EU levels.

European Pillar of Social Rights: Cities delivering social rights

by EUROCITIES | 8 February 2019

This research is the first in a series of Eurocities surveys to collect evidence from cities in line with the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The report covers 20 cities in 12 EU member states governing a total of 20 million people. The evidence was gathered directly from city authorities and their relevant administrative departments. The responses fed into a comparative analysis to identify trends and map inspiring practices.

This report presents the findings on how cities deliver inclusive education, gender equality, equal opportunities and access to the labour market. It provides:

  • an overview of city competences in each of the four policy areas
  • trends and current social challenges at local level
  • good practices of city measures in line with each of the four principles
  • obstacles cities face to doing more or implementing better policies
  • policy recommendations for cities, member states and the EU
Together Towards City Resilience: Making Cities Resilient 2030 Europe and Central Asia
The event aims to give cities the opportunity to connect with peers and get inspiration from different cases, in the spirit of peer learning for resilience building central to the MCR2030 initiative.

Together Towards City Resilience: Making Cities Resilient 2030 Europe and Central Asia

Date and Time: May 6, 2021 | 10:00 AM in Brussels

This regional webinar, organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) in partnership with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, co-chairs of the MCR2030 Regional Coordination Committee for Europe and Central Asia, brings to light cities at various stages of their resilience journey to discuss and learn from each other, showcasing the value of the network and the support of partners.

Register here

The Conference on the Future of Europe: What to expect?

The conference on the future of Europe is intended to give citizens the chance to voice their opinions about the EU’s fields of action. It should also address key institutional improvements, most notably the appointment of the Commission president and the issue of transnational lists, ahead of the European Parliament elections in 2024.

The Conference on the Future of Europe: What to expect?

by CEPS

Date and Time: Tuesday, 04 May 2021 / 09:30 - 10:45 Central European Time (CET)

Register here

Despite the hype, numerous postponements and the lack of clarity around the goals of the conference have harmed its reputation. The pandemic certainly played a part, but so did the institutional turf-battle among Council, Commission and European Parliament over the leadership question. And this dispute has revealed very substantial differences in what each institution expects from this conference.

The European institutions agreed on the conference’s duration, from May 2021 until Spring 2022, the general set up and the launch of a multilingual digital platform for citizens to participate. Yet key questions remain unanswered, for instance how European citizens will be panels be organised, and how, barring treaty change, the recommendations generated by the conference will be put into practice and followed up. The lack of buy-in and political support by most Member States is particularly problematic.

With the conference scheduled to start on 9 May, this webinar will be an opportunity to bring together representatives from all three institutions to discuss the conference’s opportunities, chances and risks.

Sophia Russack, Researcher at CEPS, will moderate this session.

Speakers include:

  • Karoline Edtstadler, Federal Minister for the EU and Constitution at the Federal Chancellery, Austria
  • Ilke Toygur, Analyst of European Affairs, Elcano Royal Institute and Adjunct Professor, UC3M
  • Daniel Freund, Member of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, European Parliament
  • Dubravka Šuica, Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography

Organizer: Anne-Marie Boudou, Conference & Membership Coordinator | +32 (0)2 229 39 12 | amboudou@ceps.eu

This session will be run in Zoom, you must register in advance to gain access to the meeting and the details to join will be sent one hour prior of the event.

Retrieved from https://www.ceps.eu/ceps-events/the-conference-on-the-future-of-europe-what-to-expect/

Photo from Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/8Yw6tsB8tnc

Eurocities 2021 Leipzig: The power of cities – transforming society

To address the lessons of the crisis and look towards a green, digital and just recovery, Eurocities 2021 Leipzig will examine how the EU’s strategic goals are translated and implemented in cities.

Eurocities 2021 Leipzig: The power of cities – transforming society

by EUROCITIES

Eurocities 2021 Leipzig will take place from 3 to 5 November 2021.

Recovery is urgent. In cities, this is clearer than anywhere else. Entire sectors have been deeply affected by the pandemic. To meet the ambitious EU targets for digital transformation, emissions and poverty reduction, the recovery budget must be invested speedily and strategically.

Cities ability to transform, become more resilient, modernise governance and support surrounding areas is increasingly in the spotlight. The European Green Deal can only succeed with cities fully on board. Consequently, the EU has ramped up the financial opportunities for sustainable urban development. In all sectors, there is an EU programme that offers collaboration with cities.

This contrasts with the limited involvement of cities at strategic level in the EU. The renewed Leipzig Charter adopted under the German EU Presidency in 2020 made the case for the transformative power of cities. The Conference on the Future of Europe in May 2021 will open the debate about collaboration between levels of government for an effective and democratic recovery.

We will discuss the links between cities’ competences and their ability to drive the green, digital and just transformation. And we will demonstrate why decentralisation and empowerment of cities should be much higher on the EU’s political agenda.

Eurocities 2021 Leipzig will:

  • engage EU leaders in debate about empowering cities for resilient and sustainable recovery
  • highlight the results that cities and their mayors are achieving in the transformation of our
    societies, working with their citizens, local business and knowledge institutions
  • inspire city leaders and other stakeholders by presenting
    • local practices and innovations in implementing the Leipzig Charter’s principles (multi-level governance, integrated development, citizen engagement)
    • examples of how the Green Deal objectives are implemented in cities
  • identify common needs of cities for empowerment, including capacity building, sustainable finance, enabling policy frameworks and good governance.

Programme and details registration to follow. Please contact Nicola Vatthauer, Director for Events, Planning & Statutory Affairs, EUROCITIES, for more information.

Retrieved from https://eurocities.eu/latest/eurocities-2021-leipzig-the-power-of-cities-transforming-society/

Cities Social Summit: Delivering social rights for an inclusive recovery
  • What is the vision of cities for an inclusive and sustainable recovery, and how to make it happen?
  • How can we better connect green, digital and social recovery with the right investments in the recovery plans?
  • How can cities contribute to the European Pillar of Social Rights action plan and ensure that it makes a real difference for people on the ground?

Join us to discuss these questions and more with mayors and deputy mayors from cities across Europe. City leaders will reaffirm their strong commitment to deliver the European Pillar of Social Rights and will announce new city pledges to making ‘Inclusive Cities for All’ with concrete actions and social investments at local level. 

Cities Social Summit

by EUROCITIES

Date and Time: 6 May 2021 | 9 AM - 3 PM Central European Time (CET)

Register here

Cities are essential partners in delivering the European Pillar of Social Rights action plan and ensuring a fair, inclusive and sustainable recovery. Being home to over 75% of Europe’s population, cities are the engines of Europe’s economies, the beating hearts of Europe’s societies and the closest level of government to Europe’s people. Cities are responsible for implementing more than half of the EU’s social policies and cover two thirds of the total public social investment. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen cities step up as leaders on the frontline of this crisis, putting in place immediate measures to save jobs, help local businesses and protect the most vulnerable people. The road to a stronger social Europe by 2030 needs cities in the driving seat, now more than ever, to bring Europe closer to citizens and bring all people on board for just transitions.

  • What is the vision of cities for an inclusive and sustainable recovery, and how to make it happen?
  • How can we better connect green, digital and social recovery with the right investments in the recovery plans?
  • How can cities contribute to the European Pillar of Social Rights action plan and ensure that it makes a real difference for people on the ground?

Join us to discuss these questions and more with mayors and deputy mayors from cities across Europe. City leaders will reaffirm their strong commitment to deliver the European Pillar of Social Rights and will announce new city pledges to making ‘Inclusive Cities for All’ with concrete actions and social investments at local level. We will reflect on what cities have done so far to promote social rights for all people, what challenges remain and what more cities can do to contribute to the EU 2030 targets for employment, skills and poverty reduction.

Taking a step further, city leaders will propose to EU and national leaders a new pact to work together between all levels of government to connect the European Pillar of Social Rights action plan with the EU Green Deal and with the right investments under the recovery plans at local, national and EU level. The Eurocities President, Mayor Dario Nardella, will bring the conclusions from the cities’ social summit to the EU and national leaders at the EU Social Summit on 7 May in Porto to reaffirm the cities’ strong commitment to be partners in shaping and delivering the new EU social agenda for an inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery in Europe, leaving no one behind.

The event will be held online on 6 May and will consist of two parts:

  • A morning roundtable debate will address the wider issues of recovery and how to connect green, digital and social recovery with the right investments in cities.
  • The afternoon roundtable debate will be focusing on how to deliver the European Pillar of Social Rights action plan and how to push social policies in the EU forward.

For any questions or further details about the event, please contact Bianca.Faragau@eurocities.eu.

Retrieved from https://eurocities.eu/latest/cities-social-summit/

Eurocities' Citizen Card Lab is persuading cities across Europe to introduce one citizen card for access to all city services
This is the first objective of the cities participating in the ‘Citizen Card’ lab: persuading more cities to introduce one citizen card allowing residents to access as many services as possible, including discounts and advantages.

Europe, all in one

by Wilma Dragonetti | Eurocities | 9 April 2021

How plump is your wallet? Mine currently contains, apart from €13.55 dating back to March 2020, a local public transport card, two cinema cards, a gym card, a card with food benefits paid by my employer, two medical cards, my e-ID card, a bank account card, two library cards, and a museum card.

European cities at your fingertips

I invite you to count your cards, you might find out you have more of those than cash these days. How practical would it be if they were reduced to one?

Some European cities like Gijón, Rotterdam and Zaragoza already own a successful citizen card. “My citizen card is always with me,” says Laura González Méndez, International Affairs and City Branding at the Gijon City council, proudly pulling out the card from her coat’s pocket. Their citizens use the card on a daily basis to access services such as public transport, cultural spaces, sports facilities and social benefits. It offers people the chance to access public services where and when they want or need to.

And the cities involved in the ‘Citizen Card’ lab don’t want to stop there. If you are someone who had the chance to travel for work or pleasure, you might have also collected tourist cards and local transport cards of each city. It might make for a collectors’ fantasy, but it is surely not practical or convenient.

Imagine being a citizen of Gijon and using your local citizen card in Rotterdam to visit the Euromast, use public transport in Pau or admire the National Sculpture Museum in Valladolid. This is the vision that the combined efforts of our cities want to bring to life. To offer current and future generations a hassle-free, safe, secure and convenient solution to roam between European cities with only a smart card or app in the palm of your hand to make it all possible.

Interrail for cities

“We were inspired by the Interrail,” says Daniel Sarasa, Urban Innovation Planner at the Smart City Department at Zaragoza City Council, “which really created Europe, alongside other interesting and transformative programmes like Erasmus, allowing a generation of people to discover Europe. We wondered about creating the Interrail for cities, so that a person with a ticket or a pass for his or her city is automatically granted access to equivalent services in other cities.”

It is not just Interrail, the health systems have similar agreements to cover your health insurance in other EU countries, and services like the eduroam network, which provides internet connectivity at universities around the world, are more and more common. Not to mention private companies that have developed soft mobility solutions like e-scooters in several European cities and are therefore accessible through the same app everywhere.

In the future, cities want their residents to have the same kind of experience when interacting with them: access services when they want and where they want without having to share too much data, pay extensive fees, encounter bureaucracy, or give up their privacy completely.

Access without stigma

Gijon was one of the first cities to introduce a citizen card back in 2002. “At the time, it was revolutionary to have all the services of your city in one card,” says González Méndez. Today, with around 98% of its population using it, the card has integrated the daily life of Gijon’s residents who use it to access and pay for more than 100 actions grouped under 20 services linked to the local administration.

“It’s also a powerful tool from a politician’s point of view,” says González Méndez “because it can help change behaviours. For example, if the mayor wants to increase the use of public transport, we can create a discount on the card for people who use public transport, which will encourage people to use it more.”

Public transport, bike sharing schemes, public swimming pools and libraries, as well as recycling bins can all be accessed with Gijon’s citizen card. Although all citizen cards look the same to avoid stigmatisation, the profile connected to each is personal. “The profile is very important as depending on who you are you have different accesses to services,” explains González Méndez. “For example, an adult will not have the same price to access services as a child.” This means that to an external observer everyone is the same because there are no symbols to distinguish a card from another. So, someone receiving unemployment benefits can go to the museum with the card and pay the reduced price without anyone but the system knowing. This solution encourages people to take advantage of the services without fear of being labelled.

Power in data

Even if not immediately visible on its surface, cards such as Gijon’s collect a fair amount of data to be able to provide its services. “With data from the citizen cards we can improve our services,” says González Méndez. “For example, if we notice an increase in the use of bus number 10 by people with wheelchairs on specific times, we can adapt our busses with more spaces for people with reduced mobility.”

The collected data allows the city to make its residents’ life easier, but some might raise privacy concerns. “In the case of a citizen card it is your local administration that collects the data,” reassures Sarasa “they comply with all European regulations and [the European General Data Protection Regulation] GDPR, so you have your access rights and all the access related to privacy guaranteed.” The administration works with aggregate data – combined data disconnected from individual and personal data. For example, the local administration in Gijon knows the number of card holders that are also under social benefits, but they cannot easily cross check the numbers with the names. “It is safer than most private apps that everyone uses nowadays,” adds Sarasa.

In the perspective of a European citizen card, cities working on the ‘Citizen Card’ lab all agree that it would not only have to follow European standards for privacy and data use but respect a set of citizen data principles such as ensuring citizens have access to and can manage their data, as well as influence how it is collected and used. The data will also stay at local level, meaning that even though the European citizen card will be used in several cities across Europe, each city will manage the data of its residents. “Cities will communicate just in terms of permission,” explains Sarasa. “If the city of Brussels tells Zaragoza that users with certain IDs are ‘certified’ users of the card in Brussels, they will have permission to use services in Zaragoza. That’s all Zaragoza needs to know.”

Barriers and quick wins

Gijon, Zaragoza and Rotterdam have brought their experience to the table and technological developments in the past years have made it increasingly easy to imagine and achieve the dream of a European citizen card, however there are still obstacles.

“Sometimes the problem is not technical, but a matter of intention, political relations,” says González Méndez. Integrating services that are managed at regional or national level for example can prove to be difficult. In Zaragoza, for example, to integrate the national railways in the citizen card, the local administration had to reach out to the metropolitan consortium of transport as a mediator to find an agreement with the national government.

“We don’t need to try and change the world in one day, we can start with some easy wins,” says Sarasa. Such a win people can easily get behind can be creating a European citizen card for mobility services. Standardisation and interoperability are improving in the sector, and mobility services are increasingly running on the cloud. Many Mobility as a Service companies are already cross-European, so it would make sense to start, for example, with e-scooters or public shared bike systems.

Gijon is exploring another potential quick win, connecting business incubators in different cities. “We have discussed the idea of creating a European project connecting different business incubators,” says González Méndez. “If you are a start-up working in Gijon’s business incubator, you get certain services with your citizen card. The idea would be that if you have a meeting in France, you would be able to go to a business incubator there and use their services.”

Building European citizenship

The possibilities are endless and still need to be explored. Cities like Valladolid and Pau, who participated in the ‘Citizen Card’ lab but don’t have their own card yet, are making plans for the future based on the lessons learned from the lab.

“The city of Valladolid has now embarked on the process of deploying a citizen card,” says Pedro Touya Mata, Innovation Projects Manager at the Agency for Innovation and Economic Development in Valladolid. “The Citizen Card lab has been a very useful experience to take a step back from our own requirements and issues and broaden our vision, taking into account other more advanced cities’ concerns, experiences and best practices. This will help us to head our next steps in the right direction: the interoperability direction.”

Pau has offered to base the development of its card on the principles and the structure drawn in the ‘Citizen Card’ lab report, and will collaborate with Zaragoza to test intercity use. Pau and Zaragoza have been twin cities for thirty years and this project would be an opportunity to reinforce cross-border cooperation. Combining an ongoing European collaboration between Zaragoza University and Pau University to create a cross-border student card and the initiative from Pau’s local authority to create a citizen card, the project hopes to get some funding under the Interreg programme in 2022.

“We want to make the most of existing experiences and initiatives,” says Valérie Demangel, Director of European and International affairs in Pau. “The ‘Citizen Card’ lab is an example of how we can build a European citizenship by exchanging experiences to be used in a very concrete project that will benefit both cities and citizens.”

So far, the ‘Citizen Card’ lab has identified challenges and barriers, and pointed out opportunities to bring its vision of a citizen card to life. There are many steps left, but the wheel is in motion and residents in Pau and other cities might soon have a few less cards in their wallets.

Retrieved from https://eurocities.eu/latest/europe-all-in-one/

The ‘Citizen Card’ lab is an initiative of the Knowledge Society forum of Eurocities. The following cities were involved in the lab: Zaragoza (mentor city, with Carlos Alocén and Ana Jiménez as key people helping to build the local and European dimension of the citizen card), Gijon (mentor city), Valladolid, Porto, Bratislava, Pau, Eindhoven, and Rotterdam.

If You Build It, They Will Bike: Pop-Up Lanes Increased Cycling During Pandemic

A study of European cities adds to a growing body of evidence that investments in cycling infrastructure can encourage bike commuting, which helps cut greenhouse gas emissions.​

If You Build It, They Will Bike: Pop-Up Lanes Increased Cycling During Pandemic

by Veronica Penney | April 1, 2021 | The New York Times

A study of European cities adds to a growing body of evidence that investments in cycling infrastructure can encourage bike commuting, which helps cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Adding bike lanes to urban streets can increase the number of cyclists across an entire city, not just on the streets with new bike lanes, according to a new study. The finding adds to a growing body of research indicating that investments in cycling infrastructure can encourage more people to commute by bike, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve health.

“It’s the first piece of evidence we have trying to, at a larger scale, link the bikeway infrastructure — these pop-up bike lanes and things that were built — to cycling levels during Covid,” said Ralph Buehler, chairman of urban affairs and planning in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech, who was not involved in the study.

The research, published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that in cities where bike infrastructure was added, cycling had increased up to 48 percent more than in cities that did not add bike lanes.

Dense cities where public transit was already popular generally saw the largest increases. In cities with lower density, more cars per capita and higher traffic speeds, the increase in cycling was more modest. Paris, which implemented its bike lane program early and had the largest pop-up bike lane program of any of the cities in the study, had one of the largest increases in riders.

“It almost seems like a natural law that the more infrastructure you have, the more cycling you will have,” said Sebastian Kraus, the study’s lead author.

But in public transit research, the effect of adding bike lanes is a matter of debate.

“It’s like a chicken and egg problem,” said Mr. Kraus, a doctoral candidate in economics at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin. “There can be this reverse causality that, actually, if you have a lot of cyclists, they will demand better infrastructure, and it’s not really the infrastructure that creates more cycling.”

The researchers collected data, including the lengths of new bike lanes and data from bike counters, from 106 cities across Europe. The bike counters allowed the researchers to measure the number of cyclists citywide, not just on the new bike paths. They analyzed the number of cyclists from March through July and found that in cities that had added bike lanes, cycling increased 11 percent to 48 percent more than in cities that had not added bike lanes.

The researchers found that the increase held when controlling for weather and changes in public transit supply and demand.

Bicycles, unlike cars, do not emit greenhouse gases. Matthew Raifman, a doctoral student in environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health, found in a separate study that investments in infrastructure for cycling and walking more than paid for themselves once the health benefits were taken into account.

“They increase our physical activity and reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, which all have impacts on health,” Mr. Raifman said.

Mr. Kraus cautioned that his study’s findings were unique to the pandemic, as public health officials encouraged cycling to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission and cities across the world added bike infrastructure to their streets. But it may not be a stretch to imagine that more people could keep riding bikes once the pandemic ends.

Research on transit strikes has shown that forcing people to experiment with new routes and modes of transit can lead to new routines.

“There’s indications from mobility behavior research that as soon as you find another way of getting around, then you might actually stick to it,” Mr. Kraus said. “So I’m confident that if you keep the infrastructure, that people will continue cycling.”

Veronica Penney is a reporter covering climate change and a member of the 2020 Times Fellowship class. @veronica_penney

Article retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/01/climate/bikes-climate-change.html

Cover Photo: The Rue de Rivoli in central Paris in December. (Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times)