Building planning & design
Case Studies

Cycle network planning

Project Director
Anna Rose

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Encouraging cycling in central London

Mapping of commuter cycle routes and hotspots, London, 2000

An evidence-based approach to the creation of cycling strategy.

Towns & cities for all
Cycle-friendly towns and cities are places for all, with less traffic congestion and improved air quality; more active, accessible, inclusive streets; and an animated, user-friendly public realm.

Urban places with more efficient mobility infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists result in more vibrant and economically-sustainable neighbourhoods. High levels of active travel, including walking and cycling, lead to healthier populations, saving large sums of healthcare expenditure.

The challenges of the cycling revolution
Cycling has moved to the forefront of the transport agenda. Growing urban populations increase pressure on public transport infrastructure and lead to an increase in congestion, accidents and air pollution on the road network.

Travelling by bicycle offers a sustainable, low-cost, and often faster alternative to all other forms of travel. With the help of increased investment in cycle infrastructure, cycling can become a major component of sustainable urban transport systems.

Investment needs to be targeted carefully in order to optimise impact. Without a thorough understanding of how and where to focus efforts, the opportunity to create efficient cycling networks might be missed. This leads to three key questions:

Which factors most influence cyclist behaviour? 

How do we identify future demand in cycling? 

Where should funding go for the biggest impact? 

A systematic methodology for the production of cycling policy and design of transformation projects

Space Syntax’s cycle network analysis begins by mapping existing cycle infrastructure to evaluate network capacity, legibility and character.

This approach is underpinned by a well-established method of analysing the wider spatial layout hierarchy as well as the location of transport nodes and other attractor land-uses which influence cycling behaviour.

Patterns of vehicle and pedestrian movement are also examined and conflicts are studied. Spatial and temporal patterns in movement are identified and analysed.

Ideas for change are then modelled to evaluate their impact.

Space Syntax models create a unique understanding of how physical and spatial factors interact to influence the way that all roads users – including cyclists and pedestrians – move, interact and transact in streets.

Make cycling policy and design proposals
Space Syntax’s models are used to highlight key issues and predict future demands in order to identify what and where investment is needed.

Applications include evidence-based cycle policy and strategic network development as part of integrated, multi-scale and multi-modal public realm design concepts.

Service Offer

Baseline Studies

Cycle network analysis
Spatial layout attraction
Multi-scale and multi-mode journey potential.

Public transport attraction
Distribution of bus, rail, cycle stations and passenger volumes/capacities.

Cycle infrastructure attraction
Cycle lanes, London Cycle Network, cycle signage and road markings, cycle parking, advance stop lines, crossings, cycle hire.

Cycle environment attraction
Number and speed of vehicle lanes.

Land-use attraction
Building land use and street quality.

Cycle route capacity
Cycle comfort and capacity of lanes.

Cyclist movement analysis
Surveys of existing movement flows (cycle, pedestrian, vehicle).

Data collation and graphical representation.

Statistical analysis of spatial and temporal patterns.

Cyclist movement modelling
Multi-variable network modelling to test the influence of the attraction variables on cycling behaviour.

Strategy development and impact assessments
Policy creation
Creation of cycling strategies and production of policy recommendations.

Design development
Opportunities and constraints analysis. Integrated cycle network development. Public realm strategies.

Development scenario modelling
Option testing, optimisation and design development. Scenario impact forecast modelling.

Planning support
Attendance at stakeholder meetings. Contribution to policy documents. Contribution to planning submissions.

Further information

Space Syntax Research page
Details of our research into the future of buildings & urban places.

Space Syntax Consulting page
Details of our services supporting public & private sector clients in the creation of urban planning strategies.


SkyCycle is a new approach to transform cycling in London. Following existing suburban railway corridors, a wide, secure deck would be constructed above the trains to create new cycle routes throughout London. Image courtesy of Foster + Partners.