Some of our team members are using the connectivity feature of ICON to gather information on the routes they undertake as they cycle in and around Belfast. Whilst this feature is not yet publicly available, in the not-so-distant future we will be giving all ICON customers the opportunity to gather data such as road surface quality and where the accident hotspots are in your city. By doing so we can work together to provide insights that will help improve not only cycling safety and infrastructure but also the mobility within your city for all citizens. For more information on our data collection and how you will be able to use your ICON light to improve your city click here. To give you a taster of this, here is a sneak peak at one of the journeys Michael and Ryan from our tech team have recently undertaken and some of the analysis we carried out on data they collected.
The Lagan towpath running from the centre of Belfast to Lisburn runs alongside the River Lagan and is perfect for anyone who is keen to get more active. It caters for pedestrians and cyclists alike with ample room for both to enjoy the beautiful scenery it offers. Covering a total distance of 12 miles with no elevation gains it is ideal for family cycles or novice cyclists. For more information on the Lagan towpath take a look at this link.
Here is a map of the route taken by our techies. After joining the towpath from East Bridge Street at Central Station there is very little interaction with vehicular traffic with the exception of a few intersections on the Ormeau Road and the Stranmillis embankment. Upon reaching Lisburn and after 12 miles of almost no cars, Ryan and Michael took to the road once again and cycled along the Belfast Road and onto the Lisburn Road before concluding their ride at the Hollywood arches.
There is a clear distinction between the first leg of the journey and the second in terms of speed. Whilst the average speed of the outward journey is significantly lower than the return leg, there is a lot less variance. This is due to the lack of junctions or intersections along the towpath which would cause the cyclist to slow down. Both the presence of pedestrians and increased numbers of corners means that the speed will be reduced and contributes to the overall lower speed. When on the main roads the cyclist can reach higher speeds but will be stopped more frequently at traffic lights and junctions. Also note the drop in speed just after 10am where our team member decided they deserved a short break :)
Our road surface measurements indicate that the journey along the towpath is smoother than along the road. The heat map shows where the ride was smoothest (the darker colours on the map) and where it was roughest (the brighter sections). There is a noticeable difference in terms of surface roughness between the outward and return legs of the journey. The Lagan towpath is significantly smoother than the Lisburn road, evidenced by the lack of bright spots along the towpath. A white dotted line indicates the roughest stretch of road on the return leg. In order to pinpoint the conditions of the road where this maximum value occurred, we looked to Google street view. The included screenshot of this area details the uneven road surface, typical of the conditions in this area. Journey rating: 3.5/5 - Smooth and scenic on the outward journey with the return leg quicker but significantly rougher and less enjoyable!