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March 16, 2022 3 min read

Cycling and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

The mobility sector is full of ICT-developments that are having a major impact on how we travel and how we use our public spaces. While these developments, often referred to as ‘Intelligent Transport Systems’ (ITS), receive a lot of attention when it comes to motorised transport, this is certainly not the case for ITS applications in cycling. Given the fact that cycling, as a healthy and sustainable mode of transport, is being increasingly promoted, we should ask ourselves what role ITS could play in promoting cycling.

The challenge is that the ordinary bike leaves no digital trace of its use, and has no connected link for information. But with See.Sense technology, whether by use of our intelligent and connected bike lights on user’s bikes, or whether integrated into bike or e-scooter fleets, we unlock the opportunity for cities to use near-real-time data to to highlight deficiencies in infrastructure, areas of congestion for cyclists, long waiting times for cyclists, and origin and destination information on cycling. 

As outlined in this piece by Mobycon, ITS could have a large positive effect on cycling and that ITS certainly deserves a place in the bicycle-toolkit, just like the ‘traditional’ measures like infrastructure, bicycle parking, education and promotion. An additional benefit of using ITS applications in cycling is that they often generate valuable data that can be used to gain new insights and improve policies, as visualised in this image.

Bike to infrastructure communication

An excellent use case here is the ‘Green wave’. Using the near-real time API feed, bike fleets can ‘talk’ to traffic control systems, to detect, protect and guide cyclists through the main areas of potential conflict in a city, namely the signalised intersections. All red extensions for cyclists, reduced waiting time for cyclists at traffic signals during rainfall or other weather conditions, the advantages or disadvantages of early starts for cyclists. 

Mobility as a Service 

The future of mass transit of people and products often raise the issue of mobility as a service. The role of the bicycle needs to be explored in relation to this new future, but without data it is very difficult. With our real-time sensor data, cycling can fit in as part of a door to door multi modal mobility chain, making it integrated into mobility as a service. This really can help cycling be the answer to the “last kilometre”  for mass transit and commercial deliveries. 

As technology has expanded cycle share schemes, both station and stationless bikes have developed in most major cities. As part of this changing environment the issue of how cycling will work and combine with mass transit needs to be explored to enable it to operate in a seamless fashion with other modes. Using See.Sense technology, these cycle sharing schemes can also become an excellent source of cycle usage and sensor data that can be shared with local authorities to enhance and further improve infrastructure where needed. 

See.Sense is helping to lead best practice in Cycling ITS

At See.Sense we believe that technology has the potential to improve our mobility system and our living environment, but only when applied correctly and in the right situation. Data can be highly valuable, but only when properly being dealt with. This is why See.Sense is a member of Cycling Industries Europe Expert Member Group on Cycling and ITS, which stays at the forefront of thinking in this area. We are also a participant in the BITS (Bicycle ITS) project, which aims to learn and showcase best practices in this area. Our project with East Riding of Yorkshire County Council is featured in this showcase, and from this project, we are sharing data with the Cycle Hub data base. 

Irene McAleese
Irene McAleese