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Ankara Cycling Strategy and Masterplan, Ankara

Wheels on: helping Ankara to become a cycle-friendly city

With the total number of residents in Ankara forecast to reach approximately eight million by 2040, Türkiye's capital city is seeking ways to enhance mobility for its growing population. A rise in car dependency is hampering the city’s functionality. Providing a safe, sustainable and convenient alternative transport mode is essential to enable Ankara to thrive.

As part of the UK FCDO’s Global Future Cities Programme, Arup is working with Ankara Metropolitan Municipality (AMM) to create a citywide integrated cycle network that connects with public transport modes. The Global Future Cities Programme involves targeted interventions focused on transport, urban planning and resilience over a 24-month period across Ankara, Istanbul and Bursa.

Our team of transport planners and traffic engineers worked with AMM to design a coherent network of bicycle routes for the masterplan, while our change management consultants advised on engagement and behavioural change. Designed with an inclusive lens to promote the bicycle as an accessible transport mode for everyone, the plan reflects the needs of different groups including the elderly, people with disabilities, women and children.

Sustainability and resilience underpin the new cycle masterplan. We worked with the programme’s strategic partner UN-Habitat and AMM to align performance criteria with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopting a partnership approach to create a more inclusive urban realm.

Project Summary

5,6 million residents

>200kmof new cycling infrastructure


This project provides Ankara with a holistic bicycle masterplan to support its journey towards sustainable transportation. Thanks to Arup and all stakeholders involved, it has been an exemplary study with an inclusive, multidisciplinary approach and aligned with Sustainable Development Goals. I hope that this project becomes a significant milestone to accelerate cycling initiatives among local governments and communities. ” Zeynep Karamanlı Trade Manager, British Consulate-General Istanbul

Cycling city: a data-driven, people-first approach

Ankara’s new cycle masterplan provides a framework for the creation of a cycling culture in the city, in an approach driven by data but focused first and foremost on residents. Designing safe cycling infrastructure, increasing the availability of bicycles to all residents and improving people’s awareness and skills are all essential to encourage people to switch from personal car use to adopt this more sustainable transport mode, regardless of their age or social status.

To shape the cycle masterplan, we surveyed approximately 10,000 residents on their transport habits and held focus groups with representatives from Ankara’s district municipalities, academics, non-governmental organisations and cycling groups. Our transport planners used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to create web maps of the proposed cycle routes, enabling analysis of plans at a citywide scale as well as more detailed representations of neighbourhood cycle paths. Using web maps during meetings and workshops with AMM established a dialogue and ensured that neighbourhood connections and local access to services would be enhanced by the scheme.

Ankara’s streetscapes are dominated by cars, with heavy traffic volume, poor air quality and clogging of residential streets. These car dependent urban environments can exacerbate the social exclusion of low-income households and other at-risk groups, hampering access to jobs and opportunities.

Cycle training activities and bicycle-sharing schemes will allow everyone to play a more active role in the life of Ankara.

Working to enhance resilience, promote gender equality and social inclusion, we prioritised the needs of underrepresented groups when developing the masterplan.

Measures such as providing cycle training activities and bicycle-sharing schemes in affected areas will facilitate access to services, education and job opportunities, allowing everyone to play a more active role in the life of Ankara.

Cycling and resilience: supporting the modal switch

The success of the cycle masterplan hinges on social acceptance and a widespread modal switch towards cycling as a daily mode of transport. Our communications and change management consultants worked closely with AMM, advising on ways to promote cycling and garner public support for the scheme.

Through its many health benefits, emission reduction and the improved air quality derived from active transport modes, cycling can positively impact a city’s quality of life. The new comprehensive cycling network will enhance the city’s resilience by adding an accessible mobility layer that frees the streets from gridlock and enables the seamless movement of people and goods. 

To ensure the success of a cycle masterplan, cycle paths have to be integrated into a city’s overall mobility network. Our transport planners worked with AMM to develop a plan that integrates the proposed cycling infrastructure with public transport. Providing easy access to stations and stops and ample bicycle parking facilities at transfer centres will enable cycling to become part of a multimodal public transport system. The switch from cars towards cycling for journeys to and from stations should help improve the overall network, with reduced traffic volumes improving the speed and reliability of public transport.

The cycle masterplan will guide AMM and the district municipalities as they roll out a number of cycling initiatives, starting with the design of a pilot scheme. During its 20-year lifespan, the cycle masterplan is intended to complement other planning efforts in Ankara, including other development plans and masterplans, creating a more sustainable, resilient urban environment that offers greater quality of life for all residents. 

Following the sign-off of the masterplan and pilot scheme design, the local authority is now engaged in the phased implementation of the network.