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Pedestrianisation
in Copenhagen
Part of our Low Carbon Copenhagen project ... project index >
introduction  •  how + why pedestrianisation started  •  Jan Gehl + Lars Gemzøe  •  transport integration  •  it is successful?  •  walking the city •  sources
key facts  •  urban planning timeline  •  pedestrianisation timeline  •  Denmark timeline
Transport integration
Large scale pedestrianisation can only work as part of an integrated approach to a city's transport networks — public, commercial and private. In 1993, Copenhagen's new Municpal Plan introduced an overall strategy for land use and transport. It includes more public transport and cycle routes, traffic calming, higher vehicle taxes and parking fees, and non-car-dependent land use.
In fact, the post-war development of Copenhagen had already been guided by transport considerations, since The Finger Plan of 1947 outlined a growth plan along major railway routes (see urban planning timeline). The pedestrianisation process, which began in 1962 focused initially on inner city streets and squares but by the 1990s had started to reach suburban public spaces too, a reflection of the success of the whole strategy (see pedestrianisation timeline).
Part of the process is encouraging people to use their cars less. It has to be more difficult to use a car in the area concerned but not so alienating that people don't return. It's all about balance, and since 1970 the level of car traffic into and out of Copenhagen has remained almost constant at about 370,000 journeys daily between June and September.
Copenhagen's transport networks
An integrated zonal system operates for all the public transport networks in the city and beyond. Fares are based on a combination of zones and time of day.
Railway network ... www.dsb.dk
Copenhagen's commuter rail network — S-Tog and local trains — covers the Metropolitan region and is above-ground. Its hub is Copenhagen Central Station (Hovedbanegården or KÝbenhavn H). The network is divided into 99 zones.
Copenhagen Metro ... intl.m.dk
An automated driverless system operated by Serco. Phase 1 opened in 2002, Phase 2 in 2003 and Phase 3 in September 2007. Currently there are two lines — M1 and M2. Further extensions are expected to be operational in 2018.
Bus network ... www.moviatrafik.dk
More comprehensive than the S-Tog train network, Copenhagen's bus network is popular and comprehensive. A skeletal night bus system operates too. In 2009, a new fleet of day-time electric buses began a route around the city's top attractions — CityCirkel.
Cycling network ... www.kk.dk ... www.bycyklen.dk
The city is well-known for its comprehensive cycle network — cycle lanes, cycle routes and green routes. Cycle lanes are often separated from vehicles by raised kerbs and have their own signalling. Bikes can be taken on trains. In 1995 the summer-only City Bike (Bycyklen) scheme began, allowing anyone to borrow a bike for a returnable deposit.
Vehicular traffic
Copenhagen has its share of cars, taxis, delivery vehicles and trucks — with increasing interest in electric cars, as they are tax-exempt until 2015. Inner-city parking is deliberately limited. On average, the Danes drive less than other European commuters at only 45km per day. During the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15), electric and hybrid cars were used as shuttle vehicles.
Pedestrianised zones
From 1962 onwards, the policy of pedestrianising inner-city streets and squares discussed in these articles has been in operation, resulting in 3.2km of pedestrianised streets and 100,000+ sq m of car-free public space.
See pedestrianisation in Copenhagen.
Pedesrianisation in Copenhagen
Copenhagen's integrated land use and transport strategy encourages people to take public transport or cycle to the point where they could walk to their destinations. As an approach to achieving a low carbon city, it's working very well. And it's popular. When people walk between errands they often realise that they have actually saved time (no queuing for car parks), and are able to drop in to other places en route ..... next >
Top links
Danish State Railways   www.dsb.dk
Official rail site, mostly in Danish
Copenhagen is the City of Cyclists   www.kk.dk/cityofcyclists.aspx
City of Copenhagen's cycling information site
Copenhagen Portal   www.copenhagenet.dk
Transport in and around Copenhagen — up to date info and maps, including buses and parking
The Official Website of Denmark   www.denmark.dk
Lots of info about transport
YouTube
Take a virtual trip in a Copenhagen Metro driverless train ...
introduction  •  how + why pedestrianisation started  •  Jan Gehl + Lars Gemzøe  •  transport integration  •  it is successful?  •  walking the city •  sources
key facts  •  urban planning timeline  •  pedestrianisation timeline  •  Denmark timeline
image  courtesy Tim Beatley
sources and references  see sources
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Transport integration
Pedestrianised zone : a high proportion of public space here is pedestrianised or shared use
City Bike zone : free bikes available inside the zone
Railway network : S-tog and local trains covering the Metropolitan area : trains pass through Københavens H (Central Station) and Østerport
Copenhagen Metro : M1 and M2 share a route through the inner city and diverge south of Christianshavn
Road and bus network : roads include cycle lanes
Harbour buses : regular ferry service along Købenshavn Harbour
How does Copenhagen rate?
— In 2005, Copenhagen was ranked as 6th best city in Europe for freedom from pollution behind other Scandinavian and Swiss cities
— Some 36% of Copenhageners use bicycles for daily commuting
— The bicycle lane network increased from 80km in 1930 to more than 300km (2010)
— Car ownership in Copenhagen is 208 per 1,000 (2005)
— About 80% of Copenhagen city centre traffic is pedestrian, 14% on bicycles and 6% on buses or in cars
— Almost half the people travelling into the centre use public transport, one third cycle or walk and one sixth use cars
— Car parking spaces decreased by 2-3% per year each year between 1962 and 1988, freeing 100,000 sq m of public space
— Bicycle use in the centre increased by two thirds between 1970 and 1995
— In 1996, Copenhagen had just 3,100 car parking spaces — less than 40% of Stockholm's figure
— In both Copenhagen and Greater London the average speed of public transport is quicker than that of cars
— City authorities aim to make Copenhagen the world's leading bicycle city by 2015