In recent weeks, the Municipality of Budapest, the Budapest Transport Centre (BKK) and the Budapest Public Roads (Budapest Közút Zrt.) have continuously monitored the traffic in the city. The drastic decrease in movement fundamentally changed the traffic in Budapest. The number of passengers on some buses decreased by almost 90%, while vehicle traffic decreased by approximately 50%. Due to the pandemic emergency, many are temporarily looking for modes of transportation where they could minimize contact with others. Due to this and the drastic reduction of the price of the bike-sharing system, bicycle traffic in Budapest has increased recently.
Decrease in traffic provides an opportunity to improve Budapest’s bicycle transport network with rapid intervention. Cycling is a suitable form of transport even during the pandemic. Mayor Gergely Karácsony, with the involvement of the decision-makers and transport experts of the capital, decided to rapidly improve the conditions for cycling, thus providing a sustainable alternative for road users and catering to the growing trend. The Municipality will help people get to work and improve access to strategically important health care institutions by immediately increasing the number of bicycle paths.
In the first phase, we will create the city center network:
The experts of BKK and Budapest Public Roads have already prepared the network development plans: bicycle lanes will be created at the edges of multi-lane roads in each direction. The introduction of these measures has been adjusted to the weather, setting the start date for constructions for the beginning of April. The Municipality of Budapest will announce subsequent sections after observing the pace of the implementation and analysing the lessons learned from the opening sections.
As a result of decreased road traffic, a main bike network can be established in certain parts of the city without any significant restrictions on car traffic. This will also ensure safer conditions on roads where so far few have dared to cycle. The temporary traffic condition is expected to last until September, but professionals will continuously analyse information related to it. If subsequent experience proves favourable, some of the temporarily established paths may even become permanent after the end of the pandemic.