The See.Sense pilot project in Denver, from April 2021 to April 2022, distributed 200 See.Sense ACE rear bicycle lights to local cyclists.
See.Sense lights, equipped with advanced sensors, collected granular data on safety metrics, such as swerving, braking and perception reports.
The results produced successful findings related to safer intersections, micromobility trends, route enhancements, and fresh insights into route popularity.
The data was recognised as valuable for identifying new infrastructure routes, evaluating the success of existing infrastructure and future improvements, and ensuring all infrastructure is accessible to a wide range of demographics.
"Since the conclusion of the See.Sense study, a new protected bike lane was installed on Blake Street that aims to reduce the safety issues previously identified at this intersection."
Denver, like many cities across the world, is working towards reducing car dependency by encouraging the uptake of cycling and active travel.
The city is pushing to add 125 miles of bikeways to its cycling network, and is seeking to achieve its Vision Zero objective by 2030. To do this effectively the city is seeking to understand how everyday cyclists are using the streets.
The Denver Smart Cycling project ran over the course of 12 months from April 2021 to April 2022, and was facilitated by the Downtown Denver Partnership with support from the City & County of Denver, the Gates Corporation and Bicycle Colorado.
The Denver Smart Cycling Project is the first-ever cycling safety data project to use See.Sense technology in the United States.
I200 local cyclists collected data using subsidised See.Sense lights, which are equipped with AI-enabled sensors that monitor the user’s riding environment. Our lights gathered detailed, anonymous insights on braking, swerving, collisions, and road conditions. This data is passively collected, removing user perception bias, however users could also manually report issues via the See.Sense app.
See.Sense AI profiles each individual rider to determine a normal range of values for that rider. The data then records instances where rider behaviour deviates from normal riding behaviour, making it possible to identify patterns in the way people use the bicycle network.
The data fed into an accessible online dashboard to analyse safety metrics. The focus was on pinpointing unexpected occurrences, which often revealed underlying cycling network safety issues, making it a valuable source of insights.
Results and Impact
The pilot produced 960 million sensor readings over the 12 month period, providing a wealth of data and “endless opportunities to research Denver’s existing road network and learn about cyclists' experiences.”
“Gathering ridership data through See.Sense bike lights gave the Partnership a unique mechanism to analyse Denver’s cycling infrastructure in an efficient, and yet holistic, way.
By collecting qualitative and quantitative data from participating cyclists in the See.Sense pilot project, a more comprehensive picture of Denver’s cycling network is available and it’s easier to quickly identify areas of the city that would benefit from infrastructure improvements the most.” - Denver Smart Cycling Study
To maximise project impact, the Denver Downtown Partnership focused its efforts on understanding why certain routes were more popular than others, and examined how cycling patterns change before and after infrastructure improvements. Below is a selection of practical findings:
20th and Blake Streets: A Safer Intersection
Between June 2020 and July 2021, three bicycle collisions occurred at or near the intersection of 20th and Blake Streets. The See.Sense data confirmed the danger of this corridor, displaying much higher rates of swerving and braking among cyclists than on adjacent downtown streets.
Our data also highlighted that this lack of infrastructure forces cyclists who travel along 20th Street to either cycle on the separated pedestrian path or alongside heavy vehicular traffic on the street level, which becomes increasingly congested near the intersection of 20th and Blake Streets.
Since the conclusion of the See.Sense study, a new protected bike lane was installed on Blake Street that aims to reduce the safety issues previously identified at this intersection.
13th and Arapahoe Streets: Improving Routes
“See.Sense data helps to more effectively evaluate facilities that are already installed and see how they perform within the network.”
The Arapahoe Street protected bike lane is a key route in Denver that sees a lot of activity, however with See.Sense data it was found that many cyclists turn off Arapahoe Street at 14th or 15th Streets, before reaching Speer Boulevard.
Upon further investigation, it was found that several parking lots and garages, as well as a vehicular turn lane that crosses the bike lane at Speer Boulevard, may lend to some cyclist discomfort on the Arapahoe Street protected bike lane.
Higher levels of braking and swerving at 13th and Arapahoe Streets than at surrounding junctions were also found, which helped to explain why it was that more cyclists prefer to travel along Lawrence Street.
11th and 12th Avenues: Infrastructure vs. Popularity
While some streets have more bicycle infrastructure than others, the See.Sense data reveals that this doesn’t necessarily affect route popularity.
Currently, 11th Avenue has a designated cycle lane from Speer Boulevard to Emerson Street, while 12th Avenue has a much shorter shared lane with vehicular traffic from Speer Boulevard to Lincoln Street.
Despite the differences in bicycle infrastructure, See.Sense route popularity data highlighted that usage remains consistent between 11th and 12th Avenue.
This collaborative project demonstrates power of See.Sense data for data-driven insights to enhance urban cycling safety.
By collecting and analysing our powerful cycling data, we have identified areas for improvement, informed infrastructure decisions, and engaged the community.
The next steps include further research, community involvement, and innovative solutions that will make urban cycling in Denver safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
We wish to extend our thanks to our innovative partners at Downtown Denver, and the team at City and County of Denver for their collaboration on this project. We’d also like to thank Gates for their support of the project, which aligned with their own aim of supporting cycling as a healthy and environment way form of travel. Finally, our massive thanks to the cyclists in Denver for their participation - without which the insights would not be possible.
To find out how See.Sense technology and data services can help with your net zero and and network usage insights please email email@example.com and a member of our team will be in touch.
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