Conference programme 

Download the VC17 programme book! (NEW)

Please note: rectification page 30 programme book (in printed version)

Velo-city 2017 is the annual global cycling summit – and this year it comes to Arnhem and Nijmegen, the Netherlands. For four days, immerse yourself in the “Freedom of Cycling” through international speakers and delegates, innovative ideas and research, excursions and workshops.

Cycling is the centrepiece of this conference and at its core are the people. The roles and needs of people will be discussed from the human factors of cycling to societal factors of gender, race, class, and age. The importance of coherent, safe and connected infrastructure comes next – with discussions on what this means for the people cycling. Infrastructure leads us to urban planning for cycling in different contexts, a core component to achieving the livable and economically vibrant cities and regions we all want. These economic benefits and cycling go hand-in-hand: bikenomics is an essential tool to show decision-makers and citizens the benefits generated through health and sustainable economic growth. Finally, the role of governance in cycling development will be explored through the eyes of all levels of decision-makers: local, regional, national and international governments. They will be there – will you?

Through good governance, safe and resilient infrastructure, livable urban planning, a cycling economy and people at its core, the Velo-city 2017 Arnhem-Nijmegen programme will ensure you experience the Freedom of Cycling.

Feel the freedom of choice with what we offer:

  • Be inspired: 5 plenary sessions with new, innovative and inspiring keynote speakers.
  • Go in-depth: 60 parallel sessions to explore content in-depth.
  • Get outside: outdoor and technical visits for an up-close experience.
  • Find solutions: join a design workshop by CROW – world renowned design experts from the Netherlands – or discover the world of traffic safety with VVN - the Dutch Traffic Safety Association.
  • Share your expertise: and learn from others. Technicians to politicians, urban planners to advocates – all those working in the field of cycling will be in Arnhem-Nijmegen.
  • Meet the next big thing: network and explore in the exhibition where the latest and greatest of the cycling industry and cycling promoters will be.
  • Be there: teach the Dutch, learn from the Dutch and don’t miss this opportunity to share your expertise, ideas, research and…

…experience the Freedom of Cycling!  

Download the VC17 programme book! (NEW)

  Please note: rectification page 30 programme book (in printed version)

Check out the online programme schedule

Download the preliminary programme grid

Note: all content is subject to changes (* this includes session titles, session timing/day, and speakers). 

Below you will find more information on the conference formats and themes


velo-city2017-call-for-abstracts-format-lectureLectures feature three to five presentations (10–15 minutes each). The presentations cover a wide range of topics and are combined with questions and discussion. Lectures are the most traditional session format. 



Estimated audience 50-900
Interaction between speaker and audience Low
Possibilities to go 'in-depth' into subject Medium
Dynamics Low
Number of possible speakers 3-5



Round table discussions consist of in-depth discussions led at each table by a different speaker. The speaker hosting the table will give a short presentation and take the participants at their table on an in-depth discussion of the topic at hand.  After 30 minutes participants will change tables. 



Estimated audience Max 8 per table
Interaction between speaker and audience High
Possibilities to go 'in-depth' into subject High
Dynamics Medium, After 30 minutes shuffle of tables
Number of possible speakers Up to 10-15, depending on room size and nr of tables available


Velo-city2017 - call-for-abstracts - Format Panel discussionPanel Discussion allows for extended discussion among a small cohort of colleagues in an interactive manner. Each panelist can give an opening remark up to three minutes with a maximum of two slides (optional).



Estimated audience 80-900
Interaction between speaker and audience Low/medium
Possibilities to go 'in-depth' into subject Medium
Dynamics Low (public), high (on stage)
Number of possible speakers/participants Up to 6 (max)


velo-city2017-call-for-abstracts-format-speed-datingSpeed Dating sessions are with a large number of speakers who simultaneously present their experiences or innovations, and exchange with participants that have similar projects, or are just curious to know more. Participants have a limited time to visit as many contributors as possible.



Estimated audience Up to 100 people
Interaction between speaker and audience High
Possibilities to go 'in-depth' into subject Low
Dynamics High
Number of possible speakers Up to 20 tables (high tables)


velo-city2017-call-for-abstracts-format-pecha-kuchaPecha Kucha is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds). This format keeps presentations concise and fast-paced, allowing for a lot of new ideas to be presented in a short period of time.



Estimated audience 50-900
Interaction between speaker and audience Low, maybe questions afterwards?
Possibilities to go 'in-depth' into subject Medium
Dynamics Very high
Number of possible speakers Up to 10 (8mins/speaker)


velo-city2017-call-for-abstracts-format-master-classMaster classes are given by an expert on a particular discipline or subject. The presenter and the audience can go deeper into the subject of their interest on a more personal level.


velo-city2017-call-for-abstracts-format-outdoor-sessionOutdoor sessions show examples to discuss best practices and traffic principles in real life. These are technical visits to specific locations close to the venue location in the region of Arnhem-Nijmegen. The duration of an outdoor session is roughly one and a half hour.


The Netherlands is widely known for its unmatched bicycle infrastructure. The statement ‘build it and they will come’ proves to have worked in the bicycle kingdom. Since the 70s, following the high amount of traffic fatalities, oil crisis and spatial issues, The Netherlands has shifted from car-oriented planning to more cycle-inclusive planning. Dutch infrastructure ranges from street and intersection design to comprehensive network development in order to make cyclists feel safe and cycle even more often or cover longer distances. On the other hand, cycling in The Netherlands keeps growing and we need to continue improving.

The following questions give you an idea of the scope of the subtheme on infrastructure.

  • How do you plan infrastructure in your city, region or country?
  • What is taken into consideration when planning infrastructure?
  • What about cultural differences? Is the planning process participatory?
  • Do you think it should go together with other projects such as behavior change or educational-based projects?
  • Which infrastructure mistakes did you make and want to share with us? What can we learn from them? (Don’t worry: we also keep learning from our mistakes)
  • How does (or doesn’t) the bike fit in your car-centric city?
  • What is the design size of the city? Is the set-up a very dense, with small roads and alleys or is it less dense with spacious avenues and green spaces? And how do you fit cycling (infrastructure) in?
  • Which infrastructure solutions do you have, want to have or applied in your city?
  • By who, why and how is the infrastructure financed? Is the economic impact of infrastructure investments evaluated?
  • Bikes only or intermodal systems? Segregated or shared spaces? Cycle Highways?
  • How do you use traffic modelling for cycling forecasts? What problems/challenges did you encounter and how did you handle these?

People should be the centre of our discussion – and different people, ideas and social realities should be a priority when it comes to freedom, since freedom should be available to all. Cycling gives people the freedom to move around the city; the freedom to travel to new areas and gain access to more jobs. In this sense, cycling plays a crucial role in Dutch society regarding social inclusion and economic activities of the country.
Cycling allows for a cheap and convenient mode of transportation in urban and rural areas offering people access to work, opportunities and communities for everybody. The bicycle can pave the way for a more equitable and inclusive society bringing accessibility to everyone.

The following are some questions to give you an idea of the scope of the subtheme on people.

  • Are the cycling projects in your country people oriented?
  • How do you think of accessibility?
  • How do you stimulate cycling in poorer neighborhoods (in order to create a better access to jobs and services?)
  • Are the differences in population taken into consideration?
  • Educational projects?
  • Behavior change projects?
  • Do you have a segregating spatial planning history? What could be the role of the bicycle to reverse these trends?
  • Does cycling infrastructure in your country consider inclusion of all genders, classes and socio-cultural backgrounds?
  • Cycling culture. Can and how do you move people from only sports cycling to daily (transport) cycling?

People who cycle regularly are healthier, live longer and require less healthcare. Those people also tend to spend more money locally, thus making neighborhoods and cities more lively, pleasant and safer.
On that tone, we are very keen on sharing and exchanging with you the economic benefits of cycling. Bikenomics will be a central point in the development of the Velo-city 2017 program, so show us your best practices and any other project that works on the economic approach of the bicycle.
We would also like to pay special attention to health and economics as these themes go well together when talking about national health budgets – cycling is an easy way to keep you exercising 20 minutes a day and, therefore, keeping the doctor away. The Netherlands used to invest in cycling for reasons of road safety. Nowadays, the Dutch invest in cycling for economic and health reasons. Fiscal systems, local businesses, investments in infrastructure are also central points on the discussions.

The following are some questions to give you an idea of the scope of the subtheme on bikenomics.

  • Do you have examples of successful cooperation with health institutions on (transport) cycling?
  • (How) do you use Cost Benefit Analyses and other tools to determine the value of cycling?
  • How is the discussion in your country between traffic safety and the positive health effects of more cycling?
  • Are there examples of cross-funding? (i.e.: cycling projects funded by the health budget)?
  • Do you have examples and experiences with ‘high street’ shopping (revenues) and cycling?
  • Can (electric) cargobikes complement the digitalization of shopping and distribution of parcels?
  • How does bikesharing affect the local economy? And how to finance these systems?

In lots of places, urban growth is synonymous with urban sprawling. Urban sprawling manifests itself in a lot of different ways: from the high-density growth towns in The Netherlands to low-suburbia in the US and Australia to disorderly urban growth in developing countries. This creates unique challenges to keep cities livable, well-connected and inclusive for all.
However, city planning is crucial everywhere and should be everyone’s concern. As professionals working on cycling we have different tools available to influence the process of spatial planning – bicycles, infrastructure and new technology. Cycling can create a stronger sense of space and place and can contribute to inter-modal transport systems (Bike+train). How can we use these tools in the right way to support developments that could make our cities more human oriented and inclusive cities for all? 
Like many other countries in the world The Netherlands is urbanizing continuously. Regional cities are emerging, connected by dense infrastructure links. In these connected and densely built regional cities, the bicycle plays a vital role to keep cities human-oriented and life-sized. The self-driving car is emerging as well: autonomous transportation independent of space and place. Do these developments complement or exclude each other?

The following are some questions to give you an idea of the scope of the subtheme on urban planning.

  • How can the tools of the cycling professional be used to improve the spatial planning of a city?
  • (Why) is good spatial planning important?
  • The self-driving car: opportunity or threat?
  • Does the surge of cycling mean the end of local public transportation in medium-sized cities and rural regions?
  • Will the pedelec / electrical assisted bike influence regional urban planning?
  • Can you plan a cycling city? What would you need to plan to develop the ideal cycling city?
  • The bicycle is a human-powered vehicle; how do you include this in the urban planning?

Governance can be identified as the question of how to organize cooperation, actions and ideas, between organizations and governments. The range of governance goes from ultra-local to global and from advocates to politicians. Everywhere in the world one question resurfaces time and time again: how do we work together in order to achieve our common and individual goals? In The Netherlands, our cycling culture is based on consensus and cooperation with other means of transport. The challenge is to broaden the cooperation towards other fields like health, economy, cycling industry and other stakeholders. It is clear that around the world there are already many different forms of cooperation between stakeholders in order to reach common goals.
We are interested to learn which forms of cooperation exist and what is the role of each party in that, be it cycling advocacy or politics at regional or state level. At Velo-city 2017 we want to discuss the most recent developments in governance by showcasing good practices, providing insights and solutions to governance issues, and by learning from other countries about good governance.

The following are some questions to give you an idea of the scope of the subtheme on governance.

  • How does your organization cooperate and produce results?
  • Who are the main stakeholders in your country/region/city?
  • How is cooperation on cycling organized in your country/region/city?
  • Which level of government is most effective in implementing cycling policies and cycling projects?
  • Should cycling be organized on a national level or is it best left at the level where the actual ‘action’ takes place: the local and regional level?
  • Cycling is booming in a lot of countries; in some it has even become mainstream. Does that mean that advocacy is no longer a necessity?
  • How did you put cycling in the policy agenda in your city, region or nation? What did you have to do for that?
  • Did you find unexpected partners or new perspectives to cooperate to stimulate cycling? Are there new, refreshing alliances possible for instance with tech companies, health institutes, P&R agencies?

We would like to use three questions as guidelines for our conference program: why, what and how? These questions help us, and you, to get the answers that can help us further in our cycling exploration.

'Why' is the question that is always at the core of everything. Why should we devote ourselves to increase the use of cycling in transport in the world?

We believe that cycling can contribute to solving many major problems. Cycling is not a goal in itself; it is an instrument of achieving improvement on many subjects. We name health, energy, quality of life, equity in society, sustainability, environment, efficient land use, accessibility and so on. If you have a contribution that focuses on a better understanding of cycling in policies, advocacy or civil society in general, you can write an abstract in this category. We are especially interested in cross-cutting fields and/or themes that have been left untouched by the cycling world so far.

As an increase of bicycle use is our main goal, the answers to the 'Why' question are an important part of the first day of the conference.

We would like to use three questions as guidelines for our conference program: why, what and how? These questions help us, and you, to get the answers that can help us further in our cycling exploration.

'What' is the question about offering services and facilities to make everyday cycling possible in a safe and comfortable way.

Which services have the most impact? Which quality should be offered to stimulate people to leave their cars? What should you offer your potential cyclists to leave their cars, or make them aware of the bicycle as an alternative? The Netherlands wants to share their knowledge about cycling infrastructure; we have a lot of experience, after years of much trial and error. However, there is more needed than just infrastructure; how do you create a cycling culture? What about marketing, cycling campaigns or the role of sports and education: what works best, what are your experiences?

We would like to use the whole conference to experience the Dutch reality in sessions that will take place indoors, as well as outdoors, because there is so much to learn in practice.

We would like to use three questions as guidelines for our conference program: why, what and how? These questions help us, and you, to get the answers that can help us further in our cycling exploration.

'How' is the last question, but certainly not the least. Perhaps it is the most difficult one. How can we organise a paradigm shift from planning for cars to planning for people?

We are looking for best and worst practices in cycling governance. We can learn from both: what was a success, what was less of a success – and more importantly, why? Are we able to organize the cycling world and cooperation better with other stakeholders? Think of the connection between policies, programs and people on topics like the self-driving car, health and urban planning. Cycling is probably not the leading policy in these fields, but how do we organize ourselves in so we can maximize the best results and the biggest impact.

There is a big administrative and political side to this: political commitment and a strong sense of urgency to make a fertile combination with the Mayors session on Friday, the primary focus on the 'How' question will be on the last two days of the conference.