KAA Gent football club in Belgium have tackled the issue of getting to their Ghelamco Arena in a novel way – by persuading thousands of fans to get on their bikes.
A lack of parking facilities around the stadium and poor public transport access in the area posed a problem for fans trying to get to matches.
But KAA Gent used the cycling culture of the city to persuade fans to use pedal power to get to the stadium.
Now an average of 2,000 people use their bikes to get to homes games.
Wim Beelaert, community manager for KAA Gent Football in the Community told the European Healthy Stadia Conference in London that the scheme has been such a success that there are now 2,838 permanent bike racks where fans can safely leave their bicycles during matches, as well as 600 mobile stands.
An average of 2,000 KAA Gent supporters use bicycles each match over the course of the season.
With an average attendance of 18,500 people per game at the 20,000 seater stadium, this means more than 15 % of KAA Gent supporters go by bicycle to matches, resulting in an almost congestion-free football stadium.
A facebook group – Velo Buffalo – has also been set up for fans to interact and exchange information on the best routes to use to access the stadium.
KAA Gent were Jupiler Pro League Champions for the 2014-15 season after moving to the Ghelamco Arena in 2013.
The club has a serious commitment to active travel, and has developed a major mobility programme for supporters over the last three years, promoting walking and cycling.
It also promotes the use of shuttle busses, regional bus routes for supporters and carpool parking spaces near to the stadium.
Image: Wim Beelaert speaking at the European Healthy Stadia Conference