Improving regional accessibility through planning a comprehensive cycle network: the case of Sardinia (Italy)
Investments in cycle tourism can generate generalis ed benefits, especially in those marginal areas untouched by mass tourism. Cycling infrastructures can promote development, passing from the mere design of the transport infrastructure to what can be defined as a “territorial project”. The aim of the present paper is to show how the planning of an integrated cycling mobility system can create opportunities for growth and development in areas along the routes, by describing the regional cycling mobility plan of Sardinia. The plan is based on a systemic approach that involved identifying a complex of both physical and social infrastructuring. The physical infrastructure included the network of routes, facilities for cyclists, intermodal hubs, specialised signs and cycle parks. Social infrastructure consisted of putting in place measures for the governance of the system’s implementation and operation. The methodology adopted here allowed us to outline a regional cycle network that will reach 231 municipal territories and over 700 places of interest scattered throughout the island and covering an overall length of 2,000 km. Minor routes of local significance can be linked up with the primary routes to expand the network. The plan analysed the features of the system and its potential socio-economic impact on the island. This model will be able to extend the tourist season by developing year round activities and distributing tourist flows island-wide. It can also produce a positive impact both directly, through direct tourist expenditure, and indirectly by boosting the local economy through the creation of facilities for cyclists.