Empowering urban cyclists through citizen science

We are a team of urban planners, geographers, engineers and computer scientists that aim to learn about urban mobility, public engagement and cycling through a citizen science platform that empowers urban cyclists with relevant travel information and supports cities in their transition to a low-carbon mobility future. We propose developing an intuitive crowdsourcing tool for cyclists, local and regional governance and researchers, that may improve the cycling experience, inform mobility policy and design, and generate valuable data for researchers studying cycling policy, active travel behavior, public engagement, and computer science. The platform would allow cyclists to share geo-located commentary, experiences, photos, and data about cycling infrastructure, with particular attention to cycle path infrastructure, maintenance, bike parking and theft.

We will promote our pilot in four cities: Aveiro (Portugal), Barcelona (Catalonia), Tampere (Finland) and Enschede (Netherlands), however the platform will be global in scope and available in multiple languages, allowing for the circulation of results across Europe cycling networks, associations and related stakeholders. Our project will mobilise the European cycling community to uncover new insights and patterns on bike movements, road conditions, bike parking, and bike theft. 

We do not propose collecting the cycle tracks of cyclists movement through the city, we aim to be a platform for cyclists to report information on cycling infrastructure, road space and conditions, bicycle parking availability and bike theft. Often urban interventions promoted by local authorities are perceived as inadequate by the cyclists communities. This project could help link the stakeholders with governance structures to address real challenges. Our team is committed to integrating a gender perspective in our work, and acknowledging gender differences in mobility patterns, use and needs.

Current situation

The teams of Barcelona and Dublin are working on the design and implementation of the citizen science platforms. It’s release is expected to be in October-November. Tampere teams is working on stakeholder engangement in the southtern Finland, having contact with the transport, sustainability and democratization and citizen science departments. The team from Twente recently developed a survey that will be spread out in FInland and Netherlands.

Feb, 3

ECIU SMART-ER Citizen Science Co-creation Workshop. This is when the project started.

Feb, 15

FIRST TEAM MEETING!

feb, 25

First draft of the project and start of the co-creation process

Mar, 17

Presentation of the pilots to the SMART-ER external advisory board

Mar, 25

Co-creation process end and funding won

May, 13

Stakeholder workshop in Barcelona (More information here.)

Jun, 15 - Aug, 14 Start of the platform design

We evaluated the pros and cons of developing in-house or outsourcing the project, reaching the conclusion that it would be better to outsource it.

Aug, 15 - Oct, 14 Development period

The platform has been outsourced, and the team is in contact with the company, to get sure that what is being produced, is what we want.

2022, Oct, 15 - 2023, Oct, 1

Application active dissemination. Period in which the application will be actively disseminated.

Near future

We expect to release the application to the official stores around October-November. The initial version will only include the data from the following four cities: Aveiro, Barcelona, Enschede and Tampere. Nonetheless, we expect to progressively add data from other near cities. In the initial four cities, we already have contact with local cycling organizations and with the municipal agencies, who may help with the promotion of the application.  Even so, we are interested in hiring a master student from the UAB, to help us with the promotion of the app. More information here.

The data recollected thought the app, will be available from the project website (not yet available), and will be downloadable thought a OpenDatabase License ODbL 1.0. Thought this project, we aim to explore the use of mobile applications to interact with the urban cyclists from different European regions. The academical expected publications are the following:

  • Lessons for computer scientists when developing a crowdsourced platform for urban cyclists
  • Ranking of interventions to promote a safety and comfortable daily use of bicycling through the analytical hierarchical process
  • Spatial patterns in bike parking and bicycle theft in four European regions
  • Co-creating a participatory spatial planning tool to design contested road space, experiences from the Netherlands and Finland.
  • Contribute to studying bicycle theft