Since its invention 200 years ago, the bicycle has become more and more popular. One reason for this is, among other things, the constant further development with a view to design, material, aerodynamics and comfort. But the greatest revolution may yet be ahead. Like hardly any other trend, digitalisation could change our understanding of cycling in the long term. Both digitalisation and citizen participation are spreading to the bicycle industry. Gradually turning two-wheelers into intelligent mobility companions. With PING if you care! an innovative tool to create a detailed cycling map with the most important bottlenecks for cyclists has been developed.
Digitalisation of cycling
Big Data is a hot topic in most digitalisation discussions. The use of data is of great importance and interest for many applications, for example, in the Smart City area. A large additional benefit is created in the area of cycling. Conventional planning tools are either hardly noticeable for citizens or do not provide direct added value. In the long term, the use of data that derives from the active inclusion of cyclists provide an important increase in value. Even less knowledgeable citizens can participate in this way.
The digitalisation of transport is not a question of ‚if‘, but of when and how. In the long term, all existing transport systems will be completely digitalised. In addition, almost all traffic planners have so far only received insufficient figures for local bicycle traffic. Of all the survey methods, smartphone recordings deliver the highest Information density. GPS points are recorded every second and provide, in addition to the position also coherent information like, for example, velocity, standing times and start-finish matrices based on street segments. Hence, this data can be used to provide information about route selection and it can even be a source for setting cycle infrastructure measures.
Crowdsourcing for more cycle friendly cities
This crowdsourcing campaign enables a direct and transparent way of communication and cooperation between the city administration and the cyclist. PING if you care! offers a platform connected to an app with which citizens can actively participate in the improvement of their city. During the campaign period, registered cyclists track their journeys, mark spots during the ride by pressing the PING button and leave comments on the marked points from a selection of ready-made answers via the Bike Citizens app. This feedback covers a broad spectrum of impressions in order to present as detailed a picture as possible of the subjectively perceived cycling experience. PING if you care! is therefore a clear sign in the direction of digitalisation and user-oriented survey, which can become an innovative showcase of the digital agenda of any city.
A platform to actively engage in the improvement of urban cycling
The PING button is available for all participants, and is attached to the handlebar or clothing. Via a Bluetooth connection it communicates with the Bike Citizens app. This app acts as a platform for the PING button, providing participants with guidance, information and digital functions, all free of charge.
Cyclists can use the button to ‚ping‘ certain spots. These are then automatically marked on a digital map in the app. A short instruction explains participants in which situations ‚pinging‘ makes sense. Cyclists can immediately or later categorise the pings recorded on their journey via their smartphone. The wide range of possible feedback does not only cover infrastructural deficiencies but also emotions.
Finally, the campaign informs the city on route data (tracks, speed, distance, etc.), about PING data (location of the ping and category of the ping) and about data of the users. At the end of the campaign, all the data is analysed together with the city administration. That way PING if you care! provides the city with information and insights into daily traffic situations. However, a ping does not mean the city administration has to remedy any negative experiences immediately. In contrary. The gathered information and data helps the city administration to update their cycling plans, strategies and even infrastructure with a longterm view.