Children’s cycling projects among winners of Bloomberg sustainability competition

Barcelona Bike Bus: BiciBús Eixample. Photo: Calvox & Periche

Active travel for school pupils is a strong theme running through the finalists of a global competition to promote sustainable mobility.

Hundreds of cities applied to be part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Initiative for Cycling Infrastructure (BICI), a global contest for sustainable travel, and now that number has been whittled down to the final 10.

All were hoping to grab a slice of the $1.4 million USD prize designed to help them put their plans into action, with bids being reviewed in conjunction with the Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI).

Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, New Zealand and Albania are just some of the winning countries, with the top prize of $1m going to the north-eastern Brazilian city of Fortaleza, which says its plan to build over 110 miles of protected cycle routes will have a strong focus on helping have access to bikes and safer routes.

The progress these cities make will help clean the air and drive economic growth

Every winning BICI city will receive technical assistance from GDCI on project development, cycling facility design, data collection, and resident engagement. Besides Forteleza’s winning grant, each of the other finalists will also receive $400,000 to help make their plans a reality. These include Lisbon, the Portugese capital, which intends to connect 20,000 students to schools that have protected bike lanes, while in Milan plans are underway to connect no newer than 40 schools to a network of cycling routes.

Meanwhile in Bogota, Colombia, city planners have planned projects specifically aimed at the mobility of children in a low-income part of the city, based on programme known as a ciempiés, or centipedes, similar to the ‘bike bus’ movements that are springing up all over the world.

Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, said: “Fighting climate change goes hand-in-hand with giving people more transportation options. These proposals to make cycling safer and more accessible will require robust technical assistance, and our team is glad to support the winners as they turn their ideas into action. The progress that these 10 cities make will help clean the air, protect the environment, and drive economic growth, too. We’re looking forward to seeing the results.”

‘These cities will transform their streets’

The 10 BICI winners in full are: Fortaleza, Brazil; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Bogota, Colombia; Lisbon, Portugal; Milan, Italy; Mombasa, Kenya; Pimpri-Chinchwad, India; Quelimane, Mozambique; Tirana, Albania; and Wellington, New Zealand.

Skye Duncan, Executive Director of GDCI, said: “Building safe, connected cycling networks is a universal need that benefits people’s physical and mental health and well-being, just as much as it benefits the environment and the economy.

“Through their ambitious cycling infrastructure projects, the selected cities will transform their streets by putting people above all else – while benefiting their local communities to ensure healthier, safe, and more equitable spaces for everyone. The BICI team at GDCI is eager to start working alongside these cities to assist them in achieving their city cycling infrastructure initiatives.”

Author: Simon Weedy

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