For almost half a century, Europe was forcibly divided into East and West by the “Iron Curtain”, a border stretching from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea. The Iron Curtain Trail (ICT) is a European cycle route which invites people to retrace and experience this important part of the continent’s history.
The Iron Curtain Trail thereby contributes in a lively and very practical way to the creation of a genuine European identity. In 2005, following the initiative of MEP Michael Cramer, the European Parliament recognised the Iron Curtain Trail as a model project for sustainable tourism and called upon member states for support.
Thanks to successful preparatory actions, the European Cyclists Federation (ECF) inaugurated the Iron Curtain Trail as EuroVelo route nr. 13, in September 2011 with national cycling NGOs and regional development bodies starting work on the realization of the project. ICT project activities are based on a Transnational Action Plan supported previously by the European Parliament.
The Iron Curtain Trail connects most of the Southeast European (SEE) countries, provides opportunities to learn, to find and to share good solutions for local and regional mobility challenges and to promote sustainable transport (to improve the image of cycling and public transport).The situation is very different in each of the Southeast European countries in terms of the availability of combined public transport (public transport and cycling), long distance cycle routes, daily cycling and cycling tourism.
Programme: South East Europe – Transnational Cooperation Programme
Priority Axis: Improvement of the accessibility
Area of intervention: Improve co-ordination in promoting, planning and operation for primary & secondary transportation networks
Lead Partner/ PP1: West Pannon Regional and Economic Development Nonprofit Ltd – Hungary
Project Partner / IPA PP6: Center for development and promotion Promo Idea – Strumica, Macedonia
Number of project partners: 16 (The project involves partners form all South East European countries along the trail)
Duration: 24 months
Total budget: 1,103,190.392 Euro
- Improve the accessibility of the SEE regions by bicycle. The Iron Curtain Trail leads through border regions which were separated during the cold war period and the connections (for cyclists as well) were interrupted. Significant improvements have been made in the (motorized) road and railway infrastructure but at the same time new challenges have appeared.
- Connect cycling and public transport opportunities. Cycling can help to improve traffic by increasing the catchment / gravitation area of the public transport lines in making them more quickly and easily accessible. The ICT project collects best practices and implements pilot actions to improve the bike storage and transportation possibilities connected to public transport. These solutions can help remove obstacles from public transport use!
- To connect SEE regions by a European long distance cycle route. The EuroVelo Network connects European countries; the Iron Curtain Trail, as part of this network – EuroVelo 13 – provides a visible and tangible connection between SEE countries and regions. The ICT project will single out critical deficiencies in infrastructure along the route and will investigate solutions that can be implemented.
- Promote cycling and combined sustainable transportation as a means of sustainable mobility. To increase the share of cycling and public transport, offers have to be drawn up and communicated for cyclists that answer their needs. These offers will improve the public image of cycling (particularly in those countries where the share of cycling is low) and motivate end-users, the local population.
- The ICT project will significantly improve knowledge, experiences of the leading regional development bodies and the relevant NGOs in the program area and will lay down the basics of future cooperation.
- Potential Daily Cyclists
- Cycling Tourists
- Public Transport Service Providers
- Cycling Related Tourism Service Providers
- Tourism Promotion Bodies
- Regional Development Bodies
- Local Authorities
Work Package 1: Transnational project and financial management
Work Package 2: Work Package 2 Communication activities
Work Package 3: Analysis and planning
Work Package 4: Sustainable mobility offers
Work Package 5: Promotion and external communication
Work Package 6: Organizational development, evaluation of the results and follow up activities
The work package 1 will provide the following outputs: subsidy contract (1), project action plan (1), minutes of the kick-off meeting (1), minutes of the project meetings (6), progress and final reports (4). This will provide the framework for implementing the project and cooperating on the transnational level. The partners will benefit from this experience after the closing of the project as well.
The planning and implementation of the project communication activities will result the following outputs: communication and dissemination plan (1), half time conference (1), final conference (1), project website (1), project subsites/pages on the partners websites (13), presentations on conferences (28), e-newsletter (4) sent to 100 address, published press release (23), project brochure (1000), project leaflets (12.200), dissemination event or workshop (14). It will also significantly contribute to reaching 100% of the inner circle of the professional target group and 10% of the outer circle of the professional target group. To reach them not only means to communicate unilaterally, but interactivity and convincing them. After the project finishes, the project website will remain live and will be used as communication platform for the stakeholders (in both circles).
The analysis of the current situation and the planning of the development activities will provide the following outputs: common methodology for analysis and planning (1), good practice factsheets (35), best practice catalogue (1), national survey reports for the ICT (3.5 new report), transnational survey report for the ICT (in the SEE section), national action plans the ICT (in the SEE section 4,6 new action plan), transnational action plan for the ICT (in the SEE section), feasibility studies to improve route infrastructure (10), feasibility studies to improve combined services (10), pilot works for B+R in railway stations (3). The partners clear understanding and good knowledge of the necessary actions and solutions will be a direct result of the project. This will help to implement the majority of the planned actions in time and to the right standard after the project has ended.
The development of sustainable mobility offers will result the following outputs: methodology for sustainable mobility offers (1), combined sustainable transport offers (26), combined sustainable tourism offers (27), new cycling friendly service networks (7), new signposted sections (7), transnational sustainable tourism offers (3)) and will result 3 new complete sections, which will be maintained based on the sustainable organizational model after the project period.
The external promotion and communication will provide the following outputs: national and regional marketing and communication plans (11) for the ICT zone, trans-national marketing and communication plan (1), connected regional or national web portals (12) with content and design according EuroVelo standards, printed promotion tools according the promotion plan (23.700), electronic promotion tools (TV spot, smart guide, photo) according the promotion plan, organized connected promotional events (11). This will significantly contribute to changing the modal split in the selected areas, but we can not estimate this effect yet (because the pilot areas have not been defined).
The organizational development, evaluation and follow up activities will result the following outputs: management agreement and manual for the ICT (1), organized study tours (6), organized trainings (6), awareness raising WSs (6), European long distance cycle route monitoring standard and manual (1), evaluation reports (3), generated projects (17), lobby strategy (1). This will ensure that cycling is integrated on a proper way to the majority of the relevant policies and strategic development documents. This result is crucial for the future of the project and can significantly improve the realization.