BITS at the 18th European Week of Regions and Cities
BITS hosted the session on ‘Smart cycling to meet the Green Deal target’ during the 18th European Week of Regions and Cities on Tuesday, 13th October 2020. The discussion aimed to show how the use of ITS systems could improve the attractiveness, safety, comfort, and convenience of cycling. The meeting was moderated by CIE’s CEO Kevin Mayne and gathered Syb Tjepkema from the City of Zwolle, Irene McAleese from See.Sense, and Victoire Champenois from the European Commission.
BITS project partner City of Zwolle’s Syb Tjepkema provided an insight to the various bike policies since the 1970s and that they have built a large bike network which enabled a modality shift. After having discussed several cycling-related innovations, such as bikes made out of recycled plastic and bike sharing projects, BITS (Bicycles and Intelligent Transport Systems) was introduced to show the importance of data to increase bike use and constitute an answer to the recovery of the EU. Accordingly, the BITS pilots such as smart lights, the Sniffer Bikes, and the bike courier have been used as examples. In line with what has been said, Irene McAleese – with a more company-side perspective – argued that sensors gathering data has allowed for cities to better manage their bike networks and has noticed that the green tech sector has started to take these innovations in cycling very seriously.
Adding to these successful smart cycling examples, Victoire Champenois (DG MOVE) laid down the legal framework and the financial opportunities for the sector. It has been argued that, out of the Recovery and Resiliency Facility (RRF) of 672,5 billion euros, 37% of the funding should go to climate action and 20% to digital. Hence, it is now up to the EU member states to draw up their plans and decide upon the role they give to smart and connected cycling in the recovery. To conclude, all the speakers have highlighted the need to invest in cycling physical infrastructures in addition to the technology.