Graz’s Cycling Strategy analysed from an Integral Perspective

Essay, 2012

14 Pages, Grade: A


Transport and Sustainability

Lund University International Master’s Programme in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science


This article aims to demonstrate how a sustainable transport strategy can be analysed from an holistic perspective. It utilises the Integral approach to analyse the city of Graz’s cycling strategy paper. The Integral approach aims to ensure that no dimension - mind, behaviour, culture and systems - important to solve sustainability problems is neglected. The analysis of Graz’s cycling SWOT analysis and the 13 targets of the cycling strategy shows that every dimension is addressed. However, the main activities can clearly be found in the system’s dimension although the strategy aims to change the behavioural and the cultural dimension.

Key words: Sustainable transportation, cycling, Integral Theory, behavioural and cultural change

1 Introduction

Graz, the second biggest city of Austria (270.000 inhabitants), calculated that its potential of the total amount of cyclists in the daily traffc could be 39% if the car rides under 5 km are re- placed by cycling (see Figure 1). Looking at Graz’s roads today, only 16% of the daily routes are covered by bicycles, despite its relatively high density (2.000 people per km2) and there- fore short distances, its perfect cycling topography (flat surface), and its few days of rain and snow. Whereas other cities of similar size like Malmo¨ in southern Sweden with around 30%

and Freiburg in southern Germany with 27% cyclists completely outcompete Graz. Becom- ing member of the BICY project - an EU-financed project for cities and regions for cycling1

- encouraged and financed Graz to develop a cycling strategy. The strategy includes a SWOT (strengths / weaknesses and opportunities / threats) analysis of its current cycling system, de- scribes the 13 targets of the bicycle strategy as well as gives a short overview on the transport political guidelines of the city of Graz2. The 13 targets are

1. anchoring of bicycle traffc within the city policy of Graz,
2. finances and personnel,
3. infrastructure for moving bicycle traffc,
4. road maintenance, winter service and management of road works,
5. stationary bicycle traffc and theft prevention,
6. mobility education and socialisation,
7. information and campaigns,
8. increase of traffc safety,
9. communication, partnerships and work with target groups,
10. space for motor vehicles versus living space (reduce privileges for motorised traffc),
11. bicycle logistics,
12. participation of cyclists and
13. monitoring and evaluation (Wrighton 2011).

The numerous advantages of cycling makes explicit why there is an upcoming urge of Euro- pean cities to increase their bicycle numbers: Cycling contributes to sustainable development from an environmental (less non-renewable resources, no air pollution, less use of space) but also from a public health (energy provided directly by the traveler, the more users the more secure / less accidents), an economic (less costs for the health care system, more cost-effcient for municipalities and cheaper for the direct users) as well as a social perspective (equitable

illustration not visible in this excerpt

because affordable to everyone, in developing countries cycling contributes to employment and empowerment). In general, cities with more cycling and walking are considered to be more liveable cities. (Buhler et al. 2010, 36; Reiter et al. 2011; Arnold 2011, 995)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Modes of transportation and the bicycle’s potential in Graz taken from Wrighton (2011)

Several strategies or policies on the implementation of sustainable solutions have not reached the wished outcome. According to Integral Theory, the reason is that they have fallen short of an approach which is comprehensive and includes all realities (Esbj¨orn-Hargens 2005,5). The aim to increase cycling and to put it forward as prevailing regime can only truly be reached when there are also changes in our mind and experiences as well as in our cultural norms. Hence, to reach the desired outcome of Graz as one of the leading cycling cities, its cycling strategy has to equally address all four dimensions or realities Integral Theory proposes:mind, behaviour, culture and system. But does Graz’s cycling strategy equally address these four dimensions? Or where does the strategy focus most of its attention? To answer that, this article analyses the cycling strategy of the city of Graz from an Integral perspective.As this is - according to a literature and internet research - the first attempt to analyse a transportation strategy from an Integral perspective, this article gives a basic understanding of how the Integral framework can be used to categorise a transportation strategy. It thereby contributes to sustainability science with a first try to combine Integral Theory with sustainable transportation. Furthermore, the results might be useful for the development of other strategies on cycling as it shows which weight was given to each dimension.

This article breaks down the SWOT analysis and the 13 targets of the strategy from an Integral perspective. My method was to cluster every identified strength, weakness, opportunity and threat and every sentence in the targets to a dimension by determining whether they focus on the interior or exterior dimension as well as whether they focus on the individual or the collective dimension. In addition, Owens’ (2005) attempt to cluster barriers on waste reduction in the Integral model and other literature on Integral Theory guided my analysis.


1The EU-project BICY with the cities Graz (Austria), Ferrara, Bologna and Ravenna (northern Italy), Ve- lenje and Koper (Slovenia), Budao¨rs (Hungary), Kosice (Slovakia), Prague (Czech Republic), and Erfurt (east- ern Germany) aims to achieve a modal shift towards cycling and walking to improve the quality of life and re- duce pollution by designing and implementing trans-national, cross-border and national strategies (Bicy 2012).

2The German version includes additionally the cycling strategy from the perspective of the city planners.

Excerpt out of 14 pages


Graz’s Cycling Strategy analysed from an Integral Perspective
Lund University  (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Transport and Sustainability
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
574 KB
Sustainable Transportation, Cycling Strategy, Integral Theory, Behavioural Change, Cultural Change, Mobility
Quote paper
MSc Teresa Rauscher (Author), 2012, Graz’s Cycling Strategy analysed from an Integral Perspective, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Graz’s Cycling Strategy analysed from an Integral Perspective

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free