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May 05, 2020 3 min read

The report ‘Traffic In The City’ 2018 reveals that the number of cyclists counted during 08:00-09:00 am has more than doubled since 2007, making it the single largest mode of transport counted on City streets during the morning peak.

But what does an overall increase in numbers of people cycling means for cycling safety and the overall experience of the cyclist? It’s this experience that is important to understand, because if we want to continue to get more people cycling, we need to know how we can make cycling safer, more convenient and more attractive.

For these reasons, we were excited to partner with the Active City Network, a City of London based employer network, represented by over 20 employers in the Square Mile. Employees were given access to discounted lights and opted in to share anonymised ride insights that could be shared back with the Network to help understand the experience of employees during the period April - June 2019.

“We at the ACN look forward to receiving insights from the London Cycling Project and using that information to promote an environment that encourages safer streets and active lifestyles.”

Ian Edwards
ACN Partner –Nuffield Health

See.Sense data is unique, and is much different to data collected by an app alone. Using Patented sensor technology, the light captures data at a much more granular level, which means we can look at things like the quality of the road surface the cyclists are travelling over, as well as swerving, heavy braking, collisions, speed, dwell time and journey mapping. The combination of hardware from the sensors in the light, combined with the app is what makes it so powerful.

Below we outline some of the key highlights that uncovered in the project.

This image highlights popular routes. The top label shows the A1 Aldersgate Street/London Wall primary route into the City of London from the North. The lowest label shows travel from the South, crossing Southwark and London Bridges. The CS3 cycleway along the river is also a popular route, as is CS6 (no 4). Finally, King William St is one of the busiest junctions in The City of London.

In this image we examine bridge crossings in more detail. Blackfriars Bridge, on the left, sees slower speeds recorded at each end of the bridge with northbound traffic light tailback evident in the data. Southwark Bridge, in the middle, records slower speeds potentially due to relatively narrow segregated lanes. London Bridge, on the right, has clear distinction between speed of northbound cycle traffic compared to southbound - potentially due to AM congestion.

See.Sense data also picks up swerving. Southwark bridge, with its dedicated cycle lane on the left, shows lower rates of swerving. Compared to London Bridge, on the right, where cyclists travel in shared bus lanes.

Elsewhere, we investigated what was happening on King William Street between Bank Junction and Monument. While interactions between cars and cyclists have been limited by new road restrictions, cyclists are still swerving and braking suddenly at higher rates and experiencing rougher road surface conditions than experienced on other nearby streets. This could be due to pedestrians feeling more confident in crossing the street outside of zebra crossings, causing cyclists to swerve more.

Next Steps

Information from the project has been shared with the Active Travel Network and with the City of London and we hope to continue to work together on future collaborations to create powerful insights for evidence-based planning. With the help of cyclists in our community, we are mapping cities like never before and helping to make cycling better - thank you!

Meanwhile, please continue to share your ride insights to help us have continuous data over a longer period to refer to. And keep an eye out for a special feature of this project on BBC Click, coming soon!