The regional cycle network of Sardinia: upgrading the accessibility of rural areas through a comprehensive island-wide cycle network

Italo Meloni; Francesco Piras; Veronica Zucca
European Transport Research Review


Cycling is a climate-friendly means of transport that enables people to reduce their use of motorized transport and makes human settlements more inclusive and resilient. In Italy, the development of cycling has recently been boosted by the approval of Law no. 2/2018, which makes it compulsory for all Italian regions to draw up a regional cycling mobility plan.


To meet this regulatory provision, the Region of Sardinia approved the Regional Plan for Cycling Mobility in December 2018. Drawn up by the Sardinian Regional Transport Agency and the transportation research group of the University of Cagliari, the plan aims to lay out a regional cycle network to promote the use of the bicycle as a means of transport for both every day and tourist–recreational needs. One of the main objectives of the plan is to make the inland areas of the island more accessible, as the development of such areas tends to have been neglected compared to the coastal areas linked to seaside tourism. Hence, the plan intends to contribute to the increase of tourist flows into rural areas, which can be a strategic segment of local development.


By analysing the methodology adopted to lay out Sardinia’s regional cycle network, the aim of the current paper is to show how the planning of an integrated cycle network in an island context can improve sustainable mobility and accessibility in the rural areas through which it passes. Furthermore, our analysis indicates that many rural settlements along the routes of the planned cycle network are sufficiently near each other for people to travel between them by bicycle.


Therefore, the cycling infrastructure could prompt a sustainable increase in the accessibility and connectivity of inland areas and stimulate the formation of clusters of small, interconnected towns and villages.