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Smart cities and towns

PING helps cities and towns to improve local cycling conditions in a targeted way. All thanks to real-time data and insights collected by local cyclists through the easy-to-use PING application.

For better cycling cities and towns

In recent years, local authorities are investing heavily in cycling infrastructure. With success, as the increasing number of cyclists shows. Yet, cities and towns do not always know how cyclists experience these investments in cycling infrastructure. Has it really become safer to cycle? Are there still bottlenecks in the cycling network? Have certain cycling routes been overlooked? How can cycling policy be made more efficient? For local policymakers, finding an answer to these questions is not always straightforward.

PING: all cyclists are experts

Who does have an answer to these questions? Cyclists. They travel by bike every day and are therefore perfectly positioned to evaluate cycling conditions based on their own cycling experience.

Through PING, cyclists have access to an innovative evaluation tool. Developed by Mobiel 21 and Bike Citizens, the user-friendly PING application turns cyclists into true citizen scientists who collect data about their cycling journeys. In turn, that data helps local policymakers to make cycling in their city or town even more enjoyable.

Subjective input for objective improvement

PING enables cyclists to collect data about the bottlenecks they encounter, unsafe situations, conflicts with other road users, and so on. They do so in real time, while they pedal. Citizen science at its best.

Local policymakers receive an online overview of all that data, allowing them to map the wishes and needs of local cyclists, identify quick wins, allocate budgets, and implement targeted measures that directly benefit cyclists. All without having to engage an expensive consultancy firm or having to roll out a time-consuming participation process.

Did you know...

Collecting local, high-quality cycling data is one of the recommendations in the European Cycling Declaration recently approved by the EU Commission?

PING in practice

A bicycle, a small button on their bicycle handlebar and an app on their smartphone. That's all cyclists need to collect data via PING. It goes like this:

  • Along the way, cyclists encounter bottlenecks or conflicts in traffic. When that happens, they press the Bluetooth button on their handlebar.
  • This click on the button, or ping, is wirelessly transmitted to the app on their smartphone. The app stores the ping and the associated location.
  • Once at their destination, cyclists can use the app to explain each ping in more detail by assigning it to a specific category.
  • Finally, the app bundles all pings into a detailed map. This handy heatmap of routes, bottlenecks and categories forms a solid basis for local policymakers to finetune their cycling policy.

In recent years, cyclists in Brussels (2017), Amsterdam (2018), Munich (2019) and Osnabrück (2022) collected PING data. Sometimes very broad, sometimes with a focus on a specific neighborhood or a specific target group.

PING started in 2017 as a pilot project in Brussels. There, more than 1,000 cyclists collected data and helped the city to improve its cycling policy. That successful approach was quickly picked up abroad.

Elke Franchois
Project Lead Citizen Science at Mobiel 21

PING in your city or town

And now it's your turn to make cycling in your city or town even more enjoyable. With our support.

Specifically, we support local authorities in setting up the PING campaign, in analyzing the collected data and in formulating policy recommendations. This way, as a local policymaker, you can be sure that PING leads to future-oriented policy decisions, based on reliable data.

Interested? Contact us for more info, and make sure to check out our webinar to discover how the city of Leuven used the tool to improve the local cycling experience.

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Elke Franchois

For more info about the tool, contact Elke or check the PING website.

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