December 22, 2021 11 min read
To learn more about products and customers, read our product 2021 Roundup Blog here.
SEE.SENSE CITY PROJECTS
We have continued our work with cities, councils and local authorities throughout 2021, as we strive to make cycling safer and smarter. This year has seen us take part in some particularly exciting projects. Working with RoSPA and Transport for West Midlands in Birmingham, 200 of our lights were used to gather data around close passes as part of the Cycle Smart Brum project. The data collected from this study was consequently used to conduct awareness campaigns by West Midlands police and fire departments in areas identified as close pass hotspots. We are currently conducting a similar Smart Cycling project with TfWM in Coventry, in which 200 cyclists will collect data insights to inform the design of new cycle infrastructure.
This December we were also pleased to see the LIT trial launch in Victoria, Australia. By utilising data insights gathered from See.Sense lights, iMove Australia, the Transport Accident Commission and Deakin University are conducting a study into cyclist behaviour and cycle safety. We’re excited to see how this twelve month trial unfolds into 2022!
2021 has been a busy year for us on a number of fronts. As See.Sense has grown and expanded, we have taken on a number of exciting new projects over the course of the year. With 2021 coming to a close, we’ve put together an overview of the projects, events and recognitions that See.Sense has participated in throughout the year.
Cycle Smart Brum
One of our most successful projects of 2021 was the Cycle Smart Brum study. This DfT funded project carried out in partnership with RoSPA saw 200 Birmingham cyclists equipped with See.Sense lights in order to pinpoint local collison blackspots. Over a six-month period, these cyclists covered over 26,000 miles, providing an abundance of valuable data. The project was covered by both Cycling Industry News and Transportxtra, with the latter stating that the research would ‘prove invaluable in greatly enhancing cyclist safety.’
The Cycle Smart Brum study achieved several positive results. By cross referencing See.Sense data with historical STATS-19 accident reports, it was found that cyclists are 2.4 times more likely to experience a brake or swerve event in the immediate vicinity of officially recorded collision locations. This correlation highlighted that See.Sense data can successfully act as a key indicator of problematic areas for cyclists in cities.
This data on close passes and near-miss events was consequently used to enact positive, real-world change. Routes identified through the data to be close pass blackspots, such as the Birmingham A-45, were selected for safety awareness courses. These courses were conducted by West Midlands Police and Fire departments along a total of 23 locations that had been highlighted by See.Sense data. You can read about this project in full here.
On the back of this project, together with our partner RoSPA, we are now a proud winner of Stage 1 of Rees Jeffreys Road Fund Grant.
Light Insights Trial Victoria
In December we commenced our largest smart cycling project to date, in Australia, launched by the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Ben Carroll. Our “Lights Insight Trial’ project with Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Deakin University and iMove, involves 1000 cyclists collecting data. This twelve-month study will provide Deakin University and TAC with a greater understanding of how cyclists move in their city. As explained by David Young from the TAC, “with this particular road use group we’ve looked at technology to get more information because we’re not getting it via traditional means.” As a result, local authorities will be able to improve cycle safety and implement new infrastructure through an evidence based, data-driven approach. You can read more about the project here and also view coverage of the project through this clip on Channel 7 news.
One of our most unique projects of 2021 was our work with mobility firm Dott, during which we aimed to collect road surface data in London. Our sensors were equipped to Dott rental E-scooters across the city, with a particular focus placed on detecting potholes and road surfaces in poor condition. Data was collected across 1,800 rides covering over 2000 miles, enabling Dott to gain a much greater understanding of E-scooter behaviour and safety. As a result of the project, roads flagged as problem areas were shared with the local authorities. The project received national coverage in The Independent.
An exciting first step for See.Sense this year was our first US-based project in Denver, Colorado. 300 cyclists in the city have been provided with See.Sense lights in order to gather data to understand how cyclists are moving through the city. The project runs until April 2022, and the data will be used to inform infrastructure design and influence future bike projects in Denver. Speaking on the project, Andrew Iltis of the Downtown Denver Partnership stated, “the most exciting thing is we’ll actually understand how different cyclists are using the roads so we’ll understand the difference between how men and women are using the roadway." The project has received plenty of local news coverage, such as this piece by CBS Denver. You can read more about the project here.
Towards the end of 2021 we launched a new Smart Cycling project in Coventry with Transport for West Midlands. Through the Coventry Smart Cycling project 200 local cyclists have been provided with a subsidised See.Sense light to gather aggregated data insights. The insights gained from this data will enable TfWM and the local council to provide targeted investment into cycling infrastructure in Coventry. The braking and swerving data collected from See.Sense lights will also enable local authorities to spot problematic and unsafe routes for cyclists that ordinarily would not be visible. For further information on this project, read here.
In April we provided an update on our long-running Oxford Smart Cycling project. Through data gathered from over 500 participating cyclists between December 2019 and April 2021, we were able to provide some interesting results on cycling in the city. After mapping our data, the effects of the first Coronavirus UK lockdown could be visualised, with traffic mostly decreasing throughout the city after March 2020, while some rural routes witnessed an increase in cycling traffic. The data once again enabled us to view problematic areas, as three roads in particular stood out for their high levels of braking.
For further details of these findings, read our Smart Cycling Project Update.
In 2021 we also launched the Cycling Ireland Ride Insights dashboard. This interactive dashboard allows users to view the aggregated ride data of Cycling Ireland members, including route popularity, average speed and dwell time. By using the data available through the dashboard, we also provided Cycling Ireland members with ride insight blogs, such as Top 5 Interesting Dublin Routes and Top 10 Coffee Stops Visited by Cycling Ireland Members.
East Riding Bike Library
This year we were delighted to be awarded the contract for the provision of data collection and ITS services for East Riding of Yorkshire’s bike library scheme. The council’s bike library has 50 bicycles fitted with both the See.Sense sensor data platform and a See.Sense light in order to provide near real-time data insights. Helena Moss, Local Growth Programme & Policy Manager for East Riding of Yorkshire Council, highlighted the potential of this project, stating, “we are delighted to partner with See.Sense on this project to help us gather data which will give us the data insights needed to effectively monitor the success of the programme, as well as helping us enhance our cycle services and deliver the changes in travel behaviour.“ To learn more about our work in East Riding, read here.
This project is unique in that it is part of a larger, EU-funded project called "Bicycle Intelligent Transport Systems (BITS). Under this project, ten partners from top cycling countries (NL, DK, BE) and those about to become a top cycling country (UK, DE) came together in a consortium to raise awareness of best practices of “Smart Cycling”, and to provide implementers with ready-to-use information and evidence from different regions. Representation in this BITS project is particularly exciting for See.Sense, given that we have been selected for the only UK project.
Cycle Active City
In August, we spoke at Cycle Active City (which was a virtual conference this year) in order to present our ground-breaking research study based on work conducted in the Cycle Smart Brum project. This study, conducted over thousands of ridden miles, reveals the untapped potential for pre-emptive identification of collision risk areas for cyclists. We were also joined by Christopher Kerrigan (Senior Performance Analyst at Transport for West Midlands) who spoke about the aims of the Coventry smart cycling project with See.Sense. To watch the full recording of this interesting conference, view here.
ITS World Congress
We were delighted to present at the ITS World Congress in Hamburg on 11th October, in the session "Bicycles on the move", which covered the latest developments in ITS for cycling.
Smart City Expo World Conference
We had the pleasure of attending the Smart City Expo in Barcelona this November. The conference is the world's leading event for cities (120 countries were represented) and places a strong focus on how people get around our towns and cities with urban innovation in mind. This event was full of exciting cycling innovations, and you can read our blog detailing our top picks from the conference here.
In September the See.Sense team travelled to Velo-City, the largest cycling conference in the world, which this year was hosted in Lisbon. One of the key highlights of this conference was the Women in Cycling network session. Here, Irene joined a panel with 9 other leading women in the cycling sector to discuss how women can have more visibility and impact on the sector. We put together a blog of our key takeaways from this conference, which you can view here.
Cycling & Walking Innovation Conference
At the beginning of December we also attended the CWI Conference in Manchester. Our CEO Phillip McAleese was one of five key speakers at the opening plenary, and he detailed See.Sense’s data-insights work, with a particular focus on the differences between male and female cyclists as highlighted by See.Sense data. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Hannah Dayan, Cycling & Walking Development Officer from TfWM, who presented an 'Innovation Showcase' at the See.Sense stand about our joint Smart Cycling project in Coventry. You can read our round up of the CEW Conference here.
At POLIS, our co-founder Irene McAleese presented the exciting findings of our research project on data insights for e-scooter safety along with Sebastian Schlebusch from Dott. Irene presented in the session ‘’Going beyond crash data' - "New safety data for micro-mobility - Results from London e-scooter trial conducted by Dott and See.Sense." This presentation displayed how See.Sense sensor technology is unlocking new insights into e-scooter safety. Irene outlined how a subset of Dott e-scooters in London were fitted with See.Sense devices in order to collect and analyze data on swerving, braking, road surface condition and more.
This January we will be attending the CES conference in Las Vegas, as the EUeic Trade Fairs Programme 2.0 has selected us as one of the top 20 most innovative startups in the EU. We are excited to join the EU Pavillion and we are looking forward to attending CES in 2022!.
Gold Level Innovator Award
We were delighted to receive the 'Gold Level Innovator' Award from the Department for the Economy and InnovateNI this year. This award recognises Northern Irish companies whose innovative idea has been commercially launched or is fully operational within the business..
Inclusion in UK Smart Cities Directory
We were included in the new UK Smart Cities Directory, produced by the Department of International Trade, alongside some other amazing solutions. You can view the full directory here.
Featured in Aarhus University IoT Case Study
It was an honour to be featured as a case study in the successful application of IoT by Aarhus University, written by Emilie Mathilde Jakobsen. This report provided a deep-dive into See.Sense’s IoT technology, and is a fantastic read detailing See.Sense’s journey so far. Read the report in full here.
UK-Australia Trade Deal Recognition
We recently were included in the Department for International Trade’s Northern Ireland factsheet as a beneficiary of the recent UK-Australia trade deal. The factsheet states, “Northern Ireland is home to one of the UK’s most dynamic manufacturing sectors, exporting over £100 million of goods to Australia in 2020. Manufacturers will benefit from tariffs on all goods being cut to 0%. This will support companies like See.Sense in Newtownards, who will be able to export their innovative cycling technology products more competitively.” We’ve written a blog highlighting our strong ties to Australia here.
Goldman Sachs Impact Report Feature
Earlier this year we also had the privilege of being featured in the Goldman Sachs ‘Engines of Growth’ Impact Report. Our co-founder Irene McAleese features prominently in the report, which describes how See.Sense is ‘improving road safety for thousands of cyclists.’
Joined UK Pavilion at Expo 2020
See.Sense gained further recognition in October by being included in the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai. See.Sense was highlighted as an example of an innovative Northern Irish company by NI Economy Minister Gordon Lyons, and consequently received coverage here.
Selected for NI Business and Innovation Showcase in London
In September 2021, See.Sense was proud to be selected by The Northern Ireland Office to showcase our expertise and products to a national and international audience of business and political leaders, banks, investors, and international trade representatives at the 'NI Business and Innovation Showcase' in London. We were showcased by the Northern Ireland Office in this excellent video, which displays the traction and opportunities gained by See.Sense at the event.
Podcast with Stanley Street Social
Our co-founders Phillip and Irene McAleese joined the Stanley Street podcast this August. They discussed our journey so far, how we use data to make cycling safer, and talked about See.Sense’s collaboration with TAC to work towards improving road safety for cyclists in Victoria. Make sure to listen to the full podcast here.
Listed in DIT UK Sports Economy Digital Directory
Recognised as a Top 100 Tech Company in Northern Ireland
We were also delighted to have been listed as one of the 'Top 100 Tech Companies' of Northern Ireland. Read the full list of companies here.
Featured in Manchester Science and Industry Museum
See.Sense was featured in this Cycling in Manchester blog by Alison Crook, associate curator at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester. The blog provides See.Sense as an example of future cycling innovations, stating, “cycling innovations in Manchester haven’t stopped. In 2017–18 the See.Sense bike light was trialled by cyclists in Greater Manchester. This smart light, which looks just like a standard bike light, gathers information about every journey the cyclist takes. This data can be used to plot the safest, most cycle-friendly routes. It can even react to obstacles like roundabouts and flash brighter. Smart technology can be used to help to make safer, healthier cities for all its users.”
Women in Cycling Ambassador
In 2021 our Co-founder Irene McAleese was proud to be an Ambassador for the new Women in Cycling network. This network represents all women affiliated with the cycling sector - women working in the industry, NGOs, planning, journalists, bloggers and cycling athletes - and has a vision of a diverse, inclusive cycling sector that provides equal opportunities and contributes to achieving cycling's full potential. The WIC network seeks to encourage organisations in the sector to adopt targets and policies that improve diversity and gender balance and increase representation of women in leadership roles.
BikeBiz Women of the Year Awards
We were delighted to see our co-founder Irene McAleese nominated as a finalist in the 2021 BikeBiz Woman of the Year Award. These awards recognise the brightest and best talent in the cycling industry across the UK.
International Women's Day
To mark International Women's Day this year we challenged the gender gap in cycling.
We analysed disaggregated gender data in London and found women are choosing designated cycle routes, even when it appears to make their journey longer. Perhaps as a consequence, they also experience less swerving, braking, and smoother road surfaces than men as they are choosing safer routes. You can find out more here.
We’ve also been busy on the consumer product side of our business this year, with the launch of our award-winning BEAM front bike light, and ICON3 Rear Light. Take a look at our consumer blog over here for more information on this.
It’s been a fantastic and busy year that has laid a strong foundation for growth in 2022. With the challenges of climate change, covid and more, we firmly believe that cycling is a solution to help cities solve many of these issues. Data led insights are what are needed to help accelerate this transition and we are excited to continue to innovate in this regard, helping to deliver practical tools to our cities and towns that will help speed up the transformation for more cycling and other sustainable modes.
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