Radschnellweg Ruhr – RS1: The climate-friendly bike highway

Radschnellweg Ruhr (Ruhr Bike Highway), RS1 for short, will be the new high-speed link for climate-friendly transportation – spanning 100 kilometres right through the Ruhr metropolitan area. Thus, 1.7 million people in the immediate catchment area will be able to enjoy new options for health-promoting and congestion-free transportation on well-networked routes.

Bike highways bring numerous benefits, as the neighbouring country across the border demonstrated. Now, Germany’s first bike highway is being built – in a conurbation. At 101 kilometres, the longest route in Germany is planned for the area of the Ruhr metropolitan area between Duisburg and Hamm – and initial sections of the route are already cyclable. A first section of the RS1, part of the Rheinische Bahn cycle path, was opened between Essen and Mülheim a. d. Ruhr in November 2015.

Engine for progress:

  • first bike highway in a conurbation
  • over 100 kilometres of new transportation options
  • 11 cities and districts working together
  • easily accessible to about 1.7 million people

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Photo: AGFS/P.3 Agentur

Straight, even, wide: the RS1 significantly eases bike traffic between one city and the other.

Cycle path representative of the Ruhr region

High standards, such as a course with hardly any intersections, sufficiently wide cycle lanes, lighting and winter services make this cycle path exemplary for other bike highway projects in Germany.
The Ruhr Bike Highway utilises the existing infrastructure, some of which had been lying idle, to keep the required new surfaces to a minimum. Old railway tracks are being brought back to life, canal bank walkways put to use.

High potential: route serves a metropolitan area

A feasibility study concluded in 2014 showing the social benefits formed the planning basis for the RS1. The figures are impressive: the immediate catchment area of the Ruhr Bike Highway is currently home to 1.7 million inhabitants, 430,000 jobs and four universities with about 150,000 students.

Benefits in all areas

Transferring a proportion of the road vehicles currently in circulation to the bike highway carries numerous benefits: some pressure is taken off the road infrastructure, health is promoted through cycling, road safety is increased, harmful emissions are reduced in the local area, and last but not least, it contributes significantly to climate protection: on completion of the RS1, it is estimated that 50,000 fewer car journeys per day will be made, thus reducing CO2 emissions by 16,600 tonnes per year. The economic gain resulting from all the benefits is several times higher than the costs of the bike highway.

Photo: RVR/Wiciok

“Through Radschnellweg Ruhr – RS1, the Ruhr metropolitan area is paving the way for modern, eco-friendly, healthy and sustainable transportation. The planned route, which extends for 101 kilometres through the heart of the region’s conurbation, is already attracting attention from around the globe.”

Martin Tönnes, Regionalverband Ruhr (Ruhr Regional Association), Divisional Head of Planning

Partners and sponsors

  • Regionalverband Ruhr
  • Stadt Duisburg
  • Stadt Mülheim a.d. Ruhr
  • Stadt Essen
  • Stadt Gelsenkirchen
  • Stadt Bochum
  • Stadt Dortmund
  • Stadt Unna
  • Stadt Kamen
  • Stadt Bergkamen
  • Stadt Hamm
  • Kreis Unna
  • Landesbetrieb Straßenbau NRW
  • Ministerium für Bauen, Wohnen, Stadtentwicklung und Verkehr NRW
  • Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur (BMVI)