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What we have done

About Odense

The city of Odense

The City of Odense is the 3rd largest city in Denmark with 187,000 inhabitants of which 22,000 are aged 60 or older. Odense is also the largest city in the South Denmark Region and is the capital on the Island of Funen. Odense is a very old city with roots back to the Iron and Viking Ages. Odense is the birth place of the world famous story teller Hans Christian Andersen and the composer Carl Nielsen. Odense has a strong focus on culture, business, a vibrant student life and many parks and green areas which bring a pleasant atmosphere to the city.

We also have a strong focus on cycling. From 1999-2002 Odense was a national cycle city and we are still working very hard to promote cycling to create an atmospheric, healthy and environmentally city centre.

The general transport situation in Odense

With an almost complete cycle path network of more than 550 km’s and hundreds of speed bumps, Odense provides a unique infrastructure for walking and cycling for all ages.

Since 1995 cycle trips have increased considerably, while car trips have declined on shorter trips. On longer trips, both cycle and car trips are increasing. However, cars drive longer trips than cycles, and the car is dominating when looking at the total number of driving km in the municipality. In relation to public transport the tendency is that both short and longer trips are decreasing.

In 2006, cycling covered 24% of all trips in the municipality and in central areas it exceeded 50%. In comparison, public transport and cars constituted respectively 6% and 47% of all trips in the municipality.

The Future Transport Situation in Odense

Odense parking zones
The four parking zones

In June 2009 a traffic and mobility plan for the City of Odense was enacted. The plan contains different suggestions as to how the future transport situation should look and works with a time horizon until 2020. The plan aims at promoting sustainable transportation modes like public transport, cycling and walking, and shows how the different modes can be combined – such as park and ride. The aim is to increase cycling trips with 35%, trips by public transport with 33% and reduce the share of car trips with 16%. As a result of the traffic and mobility plan a number of primary roads will be closed, including

Odense parking zones
The ring roads

Thomas B. Thriges Gade, where 35,000 cars drive each day. In addition, the city centre will be divided into four traffic zones. It will not be possible to drive from one zone to another. Instead, drivers have to use the ring road. Several underground parking facilities will be established along a parking route. Finally, the speed limit will be reduced to 40 km/h on and inside the parking route and it is the plan to implement a 30 km/h zone in residential areas within the parking route.

The two maps show respectively the four traffic zones and the parking route and ring road (the reed line illustrates the ring road, while the yellow line illustrates the parking route)

Older people’s mobility in Odense

Lady on bike
A pleasant bike ride in Odense

In 2007 Odense adopted two new policies relating to older people and mobility. In February 2007, Odense City Council adopted a new Policy for the Life of Senior Citizens. In practice the new policy means that – amongst other things – the City of Odense will:

  • Give priority to cycle and footpath connections and routes as well as the quality of the surroundings and green areas

  • Ensure that public areas, squares and streets are accessible for senior citizens, who are weak or handicapped

  • Ensure that cycle and footpaths are safe and well-lit 24 hours a day

The Health Policy takes mobility and older people into account in the following specific areas:

  • The number of citizens, who are physically active must be increased

  • The opportunities for physical activity must be easily accessible for everyone, regardless of age and physical capability

  • Citizens’ responsibility for and desire to make healthy choices must be increased

The negative effects of health must be avoided and a high degree of environmental protection should be maintained.

In addition, the service busses in Odense are targeted at people over 65 years. The service busses drive on five local routes, and the time schedule is organised so passengers have the time to enter and leave the busses. In this way, the focus is on safety compared to shorter travel times and, furthermore, the drivers focus more on passengers compared to the other busses.

Odense activities in AENEAS

The three AENEAS activities in the City of Odense mainly focus on motivating older people to walk and cycle more in their everyday life. Moreover, the activities will be carried out together with older people, different organisations, and local associations.

1st Activity – Walking Campaign
In September and October 2009, a four week walking campaign was carried out in the City of Odense with the aim to encourage older people to walk more by arousing their awareness on how much or little they are walking every day. This was done by offering a pedometer to older people and arranging walking trips different places in Odense.

A pedometer counts the number of steps a person is taking. Thus, it becomes visible how much or little a person is walking every day and this awareness often results in an increase in the number of steps. In this way, the idea was that the participants would increase their daily number of steps through the four weeks the campaign lasted.

In order to see if the participants increased their number of steps we asked them to register their steps each week. Here, each registration gave a draw in a weekly competition.

Approx. 500 older people participated in the campaign. The participants were between 55 and 93 years old –average age was 67 years old. Respectively 40% men and 60% women participated in the campaign.

Furthermore, approx. 220 participants registered their steps each week. This registration showed an increase in the average weakly number of steps during the four weeks – though with a small reduction in the number of steps between the second and third week.
A second walking campaign will take place in 2010.

2nd Activity – Mobility in Urban Area

The map shows the two walking routes of 1.6 and 3.4 km's. (Click to enlarge.)

In spring 2009 older citizens in Odense were invited to two workshops. At the first workshop the participants were asked to point out places where the accessibility was poor and to write a short comment on the problems they had identified. Based on this workshop, two walking routes were prepared. The two routes goes through the inner city and connect most of the identified places in addition to important places like the main station, a pedestrian area, doctors and dentists, shops, public offices and green areas. Afterwards, every obstacle on the two walking routes and possible solutions to improve the accessibility were identified. At the second workshop, the two walking routes and their problems and potential solutions were presented and discussed with the participants.

Now the City of Odense is in the process of carrying out the physical interventions and when they are finished, the participants of the two workshops will be invited to have a walk along the routes to access the improvements.

3rd Activity – Guided Cycling Tours
In a corporation the City of Odense and eight volunteers cycle captains have planned and carried out 24 cycle trips in 2009. The trips have had different lengths, destinations and starting points. There has been up to 15 participants besides two cycle captains on each trip. On several trips, the participants have met with a person from the municipality who has told about the areas they were cycling in.

The cycle captains were found through adverts in the local newspaper and a magazine distributed to older citizens in Odense. Six men and two women volunteered as cycle captains. They are between 58 and 71 years old and all experienced cyclists. In the planning phase the cycle captains have among other things participated on a first aid course, learned about cycling in larger groups and participated in an information meeting about cycle planning in the City of Odense.

There have been approx. 240 participants on the cycle trips. Average age was 66 years where the oldest participant was 84 years old. 57% of the participants were women and 43% men. The majority cycle each day or several times per week, while only a few almost never cycle.

The evaluation showed that 40% of the participants intend to cycle more in the future, while 23% want to drive less as a driver. However, the majority have answered that they intend to have the same transport habits in the future.

The cycle trips have been very popular both among the participants and the cycle captains. For instance, the eight cycle captains want to continue in 2010. In addition, the participants have given the trips an average grade on 4.9 on a scale from 1 to 5. This has resulted in that it is decided to continue the trips in 2010 under Cycle City Odense.

Further information and contact

For further information please see or contact the City of Odense, Department of Culture and Urban Development, Nørregade 36-38, 5100 Odense C, Denmark

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