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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article5 January 20211 min read

33% increase in cycling in Hamburg captured by the new thermal imaging cameras

Thanks to Hamburg’s new bicycle counting network launched earlier this year, the city has concluded that cycling has skyrocketed by 33% in 2020 compared to the previous year.

The coronavirus pandemic forced many people to rethink the way they move. In Europe, many chose to hop on their bikes in order both to get where they need to be and to exercise. This was reflected in Hamburg when local authorities unveiled the data from HaRaZäN, their latest tech upgrade initiative to improve urban cycling. This is a network of 55 thermal imaging cameras located at a number of key points across the city that anonymously record the number of cyclists.

During the course of 2020, the cameras has recorded a significant increase in cycling compared to previous years. This underlines the importance of the local government’s focus on bolstering bicycle infrastructure and promoting it as an adequate and viable mobility alternative.

Anjes Tjarks, Senator for Transport and Mobility Transition, stated that "A 33% increase in bicycle traffic over 2019 is an extremely motivating figure. It confirms that we are on the right course in terms of the mobility transition. But we want a more precise picture and we need constant counts throughout Hamburg for this."

The bicycle counting network has received over €690,000 in funds from the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) as part of its Digitalisation of Urban Transport Systems guidelines.

The city’s plan envisions the spread of the cameras to several other locations. By the end of the project, over 100 thermal imaging cameras should be placed around Hamburg, allowing to better monitor cycling behaviour in the city. The data collected will be made available to the public so it can be used to develop new tools and apps for cyclists, help traffic regions adapt to the changing needs of transport and make cycling improvements.

Original article published by Cities Today on 16 December 2020



Publication date
5 January 2021
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Germany