How to better understand cyclists in Munich

In order to create meaningful solutions for people, you first need to understand their fears, desires, wishes and deeply rooted feelings about their situation. Hence, you have to listen to them to generate a basic foundation of knowledge and build empathy for the users. In this case, the “users” are the citizens cycling in Munich.

The importance of cycling is increasing in many European municipalities as it can be seen as a relevant building block in the discussion around sustainable, efficient and people friendly transport. For instance, looking at the modal split in Munich the share of cycling grew by 80% since 2002. On the other hand, there are many problems cyclists have to face every day on the streets and cycling lanes. The following process of user research was used to better understand and identify the pains and derive insights from that knowledge.

Image for post
Image for post


User interviews

Image for post
Image for post


Image for post
Image for post
Personas of cyclists

Desk research

Expert interview

  • “60% Interested, but concerned”
    This majority of the population is basically interested in cycling, but is often prevented from doing so by the lack of a dedicated cycling infrastructure. These people enjoy cycling, but only on routes with little stress. 60 percent of this group are women, children (and their parents) and older people.
  • “0.5 % Strong and fearless”
    This group of cyclists rides their bicycles with confidence and without fear. They do not need dedicated cycling lanes, and in some cases even reject it outright. 85 percent of the group are men, 90 percent of whom are between 18 and 40 years old.
  • “6.5 % Enthusiastic and convinced”
    These cyclists ride with little fear, but not under all circumstances. If available, they also like to use a well-developed cycling infrastructure. 75 percent of this group are men, 80 percent are between the age of 18 and 54.
  • “33% Absolutely not!”
    This group is not interested in cycling. They are not able to do so for health reasons or they have to cover too long a distance.
Image for post
Image for post
Four Types of Cyclists (Source: ADFC, 2019)

This typology has since been scientifically confirmed by several studies. The fact that the “Four Types of Cyclists” are (more or less) likely to apply to Germany is illustrated by the results of the surveys stated above. The majority of people in Germany would also like to ride a bicycle, but they do not feel safe enough on the roads. Looking at these types of cyclists we saw the intersection with the personas that we created.

Empathy map

Image for post
Image for post
Empathy Map (in German)

User journey map

Image for post
Image for post
User Journey Map (in German)


Please let us know if you have any comments.
We are happy to share the findings.


The objective of this experiment was to build a foundation of knowledge to initiate first improvements for cycling in Munich. Building empathy with the users — the citizens of Munich — was one epic of this meta sprint. The further epics were: creating an overview of data sources, mapping out dangerous places of conflict or accidents, analyzing and visualizing O/D data, evaluating the LoRa network in Munich;

For more information about citizen mobility, the new agile collaboration platform focusing on urban mobility, visit

citizen mobility

Insights from citizen mobility

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store