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Emerging cycling policy in Moscow, Russia: The role of international policy transfer

Asya Bidordinova

Journal of Transport Geography, 2021, vol. 96, issue C

Abstract: Over the past four decades, commuter cycling has become a planning issue in cities that did not have established cycling cultures. This category includes post-Socialist cities with recent and strong automobility systems and limited cycling planning experiences. This article seeks to demonstrate how transfer of policy ideas from other contexts has contributed to the emergence of cycling policies in the largest post-Socialist city, Moscow, Russia, in the mid 2000s - 2016. Policy transfer means the diverse processes of acquiring policy ideas from other planning contexts and adapting this knowledge to shape local policies. The article is based on the results of a study that combined policy transfer questions with policy ethnography methodology that entailed prolonged field work and interviews with diverse policy actors and beneficiaries. This article aims to answer a question: How did policy learning, transfer and translation contribute to the emergence of Moscow's cycling policy? The article concludes that policy transfer facilitated cycling planning in Moscow by providing fast solutions, informing and legitimizing policy decisions, and temporarily leveraging cyclists' advocacy efforts. However, policy learning and transfer do not guarantee acceptance or successful implementation of policies. Integration of cycling into transport policies depends on an interplay of local institutional, political, and socio-spatial factors that influence decision-making. Constraints to implementing cycling policies include a peculiar car-culture, technocratic planning with a significant role of state actors and other elite groups, and insufficient opportunities for Moscow's cycling community to influence policy-making. These findings contribute to the transport policy and geography literature by exploring the role of policy transfer in cycling planning and by focusing on a less known transport policy context: post-Socialist cities outside the European Union.

Keywords: Cycling policy; Policy transfer; Urban cycling; Moscow (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2021.103195

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