April 25, 2020 4 min read

Through a new series of articles we’re looking at the health of cycling in the UK and the role data and See.Sense are playing in making cycling better for everyone. This is the third article in our four-part series.

At the start of this series we outlined the need for better cycling data in city planning, and then the role See.Sense bike lights are playing in creating this data. Given the range of insights that our cyclists generate, in this article we wanted to address what organisations can, and are doing with those insights.

A Quick Recap

Technology within our lights detects road issues or unsafe routes that cyclists face on their ride.

We call these ‘ride insights’ and, via our app, cyclists can share their insights and qualitative feedback to help make cycling safer, more convenient, and more attractive as a mode of transport.

There are a number of organisations involved in this process, all of whom want to better understand how and where people are cycling. What follows is an overview of these types of organisations and the benefits they get from See.Sense insights.

 

1. LOCAL AUTHORITIES

The responsibility for most cycle network planning in the UK is held at a local government level.  Our insights on movement patterns, speed and dwell times, and road surface quality enable local authorities to make data-driven decisions around network planning, monitoring and maintenance.

Furthermore, our qualitative data helps identify problem areas where cyclists are experiencing issues such as close passes.

Above: Left - Proposed east-west cycling route in blue. Right - See.Sense data highlighting demand for east - west route but suggesting higher demand on streets parallel to the proposed.

In Manchester we showed how it is possible to use our Ride Insights to inform cycling infrastructure proposals - for example giving insights into the actual routes cyclists take and how road surface roughness or near miss events impact on the cyclist experience.  

Having See.Sense data to baseline before and after cycling infrastructure interventions such as on the Oxford Road corridor in Manchester, was also a powerful way to show the impact of investment.  

Further to this, through our participation in a new SynchroniCity project we will be working in partnership with local authorities in Dublin, Manchester and Antwerp to expand and extend our projects, as well as developing new use cases for our data.

 

2. BUILT ENVIRONMENT COMPANIES

Our Ride Insights allow a range of built environment companies (engineers, urban designers, transport planners etc.) to provide better services to their clients, whether they be in the public or private sector.

Above: Imagery from the Quality of Service assessment presentation given at the European Transport Conference 2018

In Dublin we previously shared ride insights with AECOM - who used them to undertake a digitised methodology for a Quality of Service assessment (a type of grading system) of segments of Dublin’s cycling network.  

This work used the speed and dwell times from our Ride Insights to rank key cycling junctions in the city. Our road surface insights demonstrated a high correlation with visual inspection and could therefore be applied as part of the Level of Service methodology to replace costly and time consuming visual inspections. The results of this collaboration were then presented at the European Transport Conference in Dublin in 2018 and extended research will be presented at VeloCity in 2019.

 

3. CYCLING ADVOCACY

In 2018 we announced a four-year partnership with British Cycling (the main national governing body for cycle sport in Britain).

Through this partnership British Cycling is using our ride insights to:

  • help promote active travel
  • improve cycling infrastructure across the nation
  • better advocate for funding based on concrete data
  • transform Britain into a cycling nation

 

4. COMPANY PARTNERSHIPS

Through employee engagement programs and Active Travel initiatives See.Sense also shares insights with companies who want to make their employees safer, healthier and more productive.

Companies partner with See.Sense to distribute our lights at a reduced cost to their employees. The company can then access a dashboard of information that helps them see heatmaps of popular routes travelled, the total distance travelled by employees, and employee reports on cycling incidents / dangerous cycling areas.

These insights allow them to:

  1. Create a better working environment. Less cars arriving at their office mean better air quality, less noise pollution and congestion, and a lower need for parking.
  2. Develop CSR programmes. Getting more employees cycling can help a company’s efforts to be a sustainable and healthy place to work, with employees given incentives based on miles cycled or CO2 emissions saved.

Above: Example of a See.Sense corporate dashboard providing heatmap and key metrics

What’s Next?

At See.Sense we want to have more people cycling more often.

This is why we’re working with the different organisations mentioned above. Their work to make cycling safer, more convenient and more enjoyable for everyone is key to increasing cycling’s appeal as a mode of transport.

Of course we’ll be developing our ride insights further over the coming months and years - something we’ll look at in next week’s article - to ensure as many organisations as possible can utilise them.

Irene McAleese
Irene McAleese


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