European partners discuss about the future path of BITS
Already the 8th Steering Group Meeting as part of the European project BITS (Bicycles and Intelligent Transport Systems) took place on the 6th and 7th of October 2021. The online meeting with stakeholders from the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Denmark and Germany gave an overview about recently started and already planned ITS implementations for cycling and cycling data collection in the North Sea Region.
The Province of Antwerp and the University of Oldenburg presented new ideas and efforts in the field of cycling data. As the first phase of BITS is ending at the end of 2022, the future of BITS was also discussed as part of the meeting.
The implementing partners presented new results in the testing and the evaluation of their ITS cycling solutions. For example, the Province of Antwerp repeated the measuring of near accidents (or interventions) at a critical intersection in Puurs. The goal is to learn whether the traffic safety situation has increased since the first measurement two years ago as in the meantime new markings on the road were realized. East Riding has started to supply bike sensors by provider See.Sense to citizens in Withernsea to detect bicycle trips and surface qualities in Withernsea, and at the same time stimulate people to cycle. The city of Zwolle established a new smart lightning system and is preparing a new round of Sniffer Bike data collection to measure air qualities. The city of Oldenburg presented its plans for a new bike sharing system that is going to start service in 2022. The university of applied sciences VIVES is collecting data (countings, tracking data, questionnaires, interviews) to evaluate all the ITS implementations with respect to impact on cycling and CO2 emission reduction.
The discussion about open bicycle data was part of the second day of the SG meeting. The visualization component of the CyclingDataHub is receiving an update at this moment. The University of Oldenburg, Department of Business Informatics VLBA, presented the progress of their Bicycle Data website that was recently awarded with a national prize for student projects in Germany. The KPIs of European cycling data were extended and new results about the bicycle application from Oldenburg (Baron) and the Sniffer Bike project are now online. The BITS project was presented in several academic conferences as the Living and Walking in Cities 2021 conference which was hosted by the University of Brescia, Italy. Johannes Schering of the VLBA department presented a new smart cycling project INFRASense that is starting soon in Oldenburg and that will be funded for three years by the mFUND program of the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) with around 1.2 Mio. Euro. The objective is to work on a holistic data driven quality assessment of the bike infrastructure based on citizen science and planning data – a topic that fits quite well in the BITS context.
Future of BITS
The future of BITS was discussed as the final step of the two days online meeting. New ideas for a follow-up project were collected at a Miro board as part of an interactive session were all partners had the opportunity to contribute. The idea is to submit a follow-up BITS project in the new Interreg NSR programme (2021-2027), but also to expand BITS beyond the borders of the North Sea Region with new implementations and partners to make this smart cycling initiative even more visible all across Europe.
The next Steering Group Meeting of the BITS project is planned for March 2021 and can hopefully be conducted as a live event in Oldenburg.