I had the honour of closing the 2018 EU-EIP Forum with a keynote speech about ICT and (Dutch) cycling. The forum is an initiative from the European ITS Platform. The two-day event facilitates the exchange of the latest knowledge on ICT and Mobility, with a strong focus on data/ICT for vehicles and trucks. So it was a pleasure to close the conference with a slight change of direction by talking about active transport modes. These active transport modes are utilising new ICT-developments even faster than other modes. I would like to give you a few examples of smart cycling innovations which will help to improve cycle-traffic flow, safety and comfort for all cyclist.
Green wave for cyclist
By using a smartphone app, cyclist can be detected as they approach traffic lights. This makes it possible to create a green wave for cyclists and minimise waiting times.
Rain and snow sensors
In the city of Groningen traffic lights have special rain/snow sensors. When it’s raining, cyclists get more and faster green lights along their route. It isn’t just the cyclists who are happy with these sensors, but other road users are positive about these measures too.
Intelligent Speed Control for Speed pedelecs
In the Netherlands we see more and more speedpedelecs on the road. This bike enables you to reach a maximum speed of 45 km / h with an electrical support. This causes problems, particularly on bicycle paths within the city. In response, these cyclists have been made to use the road and not the cycle path, which isn’t really the best solution. Next year there will be a pilot which uses geofencing technology. This means that these bicycles will be limited to 28 km / h in the city, meaning they can safely mix with other cyclists. As a bonus, the concept of the green wave will be applied so travel time remains optimal. This test will take place in and around the city of Tilburg. It’s cool to see that a concept like this will be used for bikes before cars.
We now have the first heated cycle paths in the municipality of Ede. The system is completely modular, so the heating pipes of two adjacent concrete elements can be connected to one another. By connecting the pipes to a heat source, such as geothermal heat, sewage heat or residual heat, the cycle path can be heated to melt away any snow or ice.
More cycling with fewer bikes
The bicycle parking facilities at our train stations are often overcrowded. Mobycon is working with the City region of Amsterdam and the Dutch Railways on a concept to make it easy for people to share their bicycle with other travellers while it’s parked at the train station. This concept has the potential to greatly reduce parking pressure at the train stations and make many more bicycles available to people travelling by train. This makes the train/bicycle combined journey much more attractive. This development is made possible with a smart lock (NFC enabled) and a sophisticated fleet management system. We will begin to develop a model for the scheme, with Dutch railway company NS, early in 2019.
Find your Bike at the big bike parking
As mentioned before, the combination bike/train is a big success in the Netherlands. The capacity of bike parking facilities are increasing rapidly, it’s not unusual to find a parking facility with a capacity of 5,000 to 12,500 spots. Despite all the parking spots, it can still be difficult to find a place to park. What’s even more difficult: finding your bike! The combination of smart sensors and a management system keeps everybody informed.
These are a few examples of what is already possible with B-ICT. They effectively demonstrate that cyclists are able to adapt to new ICT developments quickly – even faster than the vehicles and the trucks. It shows that it can be a smart policy to invest in B(icylce) ICT as a first step in ICT and mobility. After that it’s easy to transfer it to the other parts of the mobility market.
‘Everyone is a mobilist; mobility is a basic need. I believe we should encourage people to be active, so a healthy lifestyle is part of our daily routine. Within the whole mobility system, we must remember that everyone has the right to come home!’