Taking Professionals to Cycling Cities: Does it Matter?
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Bikes Belong Foundation and the Federal Highway Administration have sponsored study tours to European countries for cycling including The Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany. Via on-site study tours, professionals experience how bicycle transportation functions within integrated, multi-modal, balanced transportation systems. The goal is to give policymakers and transportation professionals opportunities to learn lessons they can apply in the US to encourage greater use of the bicycle for transportation. This research assesses the impact of those study tours through interviews with past participants. The research analyzes major lessons learned, how participants have implemented the lessons in US cities, and barriers to implementation. Based on interview responses, participants valued firsthand experience in world-class bicycling environments, expanded their vision for transportation and approach towards their work, and successfully transferred certain lessons. Recommendations for future study tours include organizing a cycle track specific study tour, providing more firsthand experience with bicycle supportive policy formation and soft measure implementation, supporting participants through peer-to-peer information sharing and readjustment assistance upon return, and taking teams of politicians, engineers, planners, and community leaders from the same community to the most advanced European cycling cities.