Ping if you care!


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.