See.Sense continues to be a major force behind Smart Cities development, and the company is now showcasing its cutting-edge technology in two major projects in the UK and Ireland. Our ICON lights are being used in Milton Keynes and Dublin, with cyclists being encouraged to get on their bikes to help shape their urban environments.
In part one of this blog we looked at how cycling accident statistics were skewed as many minor incidents usually went unreported. In part two we looked at how the gathering of crowdsourced data could improve city infrastructures, making them both safer and less polluted for every road user - including cyclists.
Now See.Sense is getting the opportunity to adopt its technology in these groundbreaking projects in Milton Keynes and Dublin. And we hope the trials encourage a better cycling experience, and also help city planners develop their urban hubs.
The Milton Keynes project progressed when See.Sense won the ‘BT Infinity Lab SME Awards 2016: Connected Cities’ for its ICON intelligent and connected cycle light. The awards were run in partnership with the Cabinet Office, the MK:Smart Project and TechHub, and invited SMEs to showcase their big ideas for future digital products and services. See.Sense walked away with £15,000 prize money plus six months’ membership of TechHub, a global community set up to help technological entrepreneurs and start-ups.
The secret to See.Sense’s success was in its innovative ICON lights. The cycle lights contain sensors which collect high-quality data about any crashes, near miss-events, road surfaces, light levels and more. This information can then be used by city planners to create better cycling infrastructure and smart cities. The awards were fiercely contested and See.Sense won the Smart City prize as well as being judged the overall winner.
The Milton Keynes project will use crowdsourced data from cyclists to help get more people on their bikes. Participants are being given an intelligent and connected See.Sense ICON cycle light to use regularly when cycling. The project will map the city’s cycle paths - known as Redways - in ways never before seen, generating data that can be used to encourage more people to use them. The project will initially focus on the 200 miles of Redways that filter through the city, identifying popular routes taken and the speed of the cyclist.
Later stages of the scheme will record crucial information including accident and near miss blackspot areas, the surface condition of the paths as well as other factors such as surrounding light levels. The trial involves Milton Keynes Council transport planners, BT Smart Hub and the Open University on the programme, and will run for at least a year. The use of this information will help improve conditions for cyclists, through understanding and maintenance of the existing cycle paths and also pointing to ways that future investments in cycling infrastructure and policies can be made.
See.Sense is also gearing up to deploy its technology in Dublin to gauge cyclist behaviour in the Irish capital. Real-time data will be generated using new technologies including Sigfox and Lora, with cyclists using a tracking device similar to ‘find my iPhone’ to gather the information. The data collected can be integrated with existing data sources to help shape a robust strategy for Dublin to become more cyclist friendly. The project is part of the Smart Dublin initiative backed by the four Dublin local authorities and Enterprise Ireland. Back in March it launched a €100,000 Small Business Innovation Research Challenge (SBIR) to try and find smart, innovative and low-cost solutions to increase the number of people cycling in Dublin.
Our long-term vision is to help make cities safer and smarter for everyone.
By using crowdsourced data from our devices city planners will be able to improve cycling infrastructure and policies. Cyclists deserve a voice in helping shape the urban landscapes they journey through on a daily basis, and by using insights from data we can help transform busy, congested cities into user-friendly environments.
Our technology can inform cities about ‘hot-spot’ areas where there is a high frequency of crashes and near misses. This can pinpoint priority areas for cycling infrastructure provision. We are also able to detect potholes before they have fully formed, allowing cities to repair the damaged road surface before they become hazards. Our data can also be used to identify where gritter trucks should be deployed, and monitor the condition of off-road cycle routes.
There is also the ability to track temperature and light levels, and produce heat maps to highlight cyclist routes, speed and behaviours, while we are continuing to work towards introducing real-time air quality monitoring in major cities. The trials in Milton Keynes and Dublin will gather the necessary data to improve and develop the transport infrastructure in those areas.
We are also in talks with other city councils to have See.Sense technology used in their urban hubs. At the moment, the ability to contribute data is only possible for participants in the trials, using a special version of the app. Eventually, we hope to make this possible for all customers, while always respecting your privacy. The ability to provide anonymous, aggregated data will only be given through the cyclist granting permission.
We believe our technology can transform towns and cities across the world, not just in the UK and Ireland. If you are a city looking at ways of improving your infrastructure, or you would just like more information on See.Sense, please get in touch with the team.