Connected Cycling and Intelligent Transport Systems have huge potential in urban mobility

05 May 2021 - Published by Matteo Candelari

On 22nd April, Cycling Industries Europe2021 (virtual) Summit took place. The Summits are the flagship high-level policy events where the leading companies of the cycling industries get together with key Brussels stakeholders. This year the focus was on how cycling industries deliver the green recovery from climate to new green jobs and kick-start the economy. The Summit highlighted the potential of the industry, its new innovations, digital technologies and growth projections for the future.Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and connected cycling were very well covered during the Summit.  Cycling Industries Europe (CIE) is part of the BITS consortium and has worked very hard in the recent months to make sure that cycling is included in the European strategies on ITS.

Matthew Baldwin (Deputy Director-General, European Commission, 100 Climate-neutral Cities by 2030) gave a keynote focusing on the twin transitions: climate and digital. He praised the role of CIE in taking the bike sector into a wider range of policy areas. “Cycling has huge digital potential in ITS. These systems will be an increasing and important tool in cities, including under the forthcoming Urban Mobility Package. It really helps DG MOVE to have cycling industries bringing ITS solutions into this process. Climate neutral cities really need to get smarter about urban freight and service vehicles”.

Tony Grimaldi (CEO at Cycleurope and President of CIE) highlighted in the CEO panel the expansion of the e-bike market. “Investments in technologies and innovation have significantly increased the production of smart and connected e-bikes. With these technologies, the bike sector can enable a platform of new mobility services. Cycling industries are leading in innovation and ITS, they will play a big role in the future of smart cities”.

In the second panel, ‘Cycling Leading Europe’s Green Recovery’, Elisabeth Felberbauer (Managing Director at Bike Citizens) took the example of Bike Citizens to showcase how cycling contributes to Europe’s digital agenda and green recovery. “We provide digital tools to make cycling more comfortable and accessible to everybody, we focus on shaping mobility behaviours. The pandemic highlighted once more the importance of daily mobility behaviours and we saw that the interest in cycling increased massively in the last 12 months. Our app provided cycling friendly routes to make easy for people to switch to bikes in these troubled times”. Elisabeth pointed out that the collection of data has been very helpful for decision-makers to assess impact of cycling policies and take the next steps towards more green and liveable cities.

Another interesting digital company that took the stage in the second panel was Eco-Counter. Enrico Durbano (General Manager at Eco-Counter) showed the recent developments of this company that installs counters to detect bikes in cycle lanes. “Eco-Counter is a great example of the dynamism of the sector in the past ten years and the level of scalability that the market allows in bike business”. Enrico highlighted the direct relationship between the level of investments in cycling infrastructure in different countries around the world and the growth of Eco-Counter in those countries. “Now that cycling has gained momentum and investments are increasing, it’s likely to see a lot of companies that will follow the same path as Eco-Counter. This is a terrific opportunity for the bike sector!”.