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Installation uses cyclists' data from smartphone apps to determine where cyclists want to go...

Where cycle lanes are installed, and where bike riders actually want to go, are not necessarily the same thing, as any cyclist knows. Now, a team of artists in Germany have sought to address that by developing a robot that gathers data from cyclists to map where they ride.

Residents of Wiesbaden in the southwest of the country, capital of the state of Hesse and described as “the least bike-friendly city in Germany,” can download an app for iPhone or Android devices that communicates with the robot, which then charts data from their rides on a map, as shown in the following video.

Radwende from Herbert Stattmann on Vimeo.

Created by artists Manfred Kraft, Tom Kresin and Michael Volkmer the instalation, called Radwende, is on display at the Museum Wiesbaden, and the finished artworks traced by the robot will be sold off once the exhibition closes on 2 July.

They say the maps generated by the robot will help in lobbying and planning for cycling infrastructure that is lacking in Wiesbaden, where they say cyclists lack a voice to campaign on their behalf, and also suffer from a lack of respect from other road users.

The artists believe Radwende can change that by making cyclists visible and enabling them to influence the design of the city.

It's certainly an interesting approach, but is it a foolproof one? Possibly not. If a city has a busy road that cyclists tend to avoid because they feel unsafe, but which could perhaps be an ideal location for a segregated bike lane, low current levels of usag would mean it wouldn't show up as a cycling hotspot.

Last month, we reported how Strava had launched Strava Metro, which it claims gives “ground truth” data on where people ride bikes or go running. The company is licensing the results to city authorities and advocacy groups, including in London and Glasgow.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

6 comments

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qwerky [183 posts] 3 years ago
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This is just crying out for someone to create a huge city-wide GPS cock.

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antigee [439 posts] 3 years ago
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^^^^^^^
and that will be as much use

this use of data seems to me like only using KSI (killed and seriously injured) accident data to target road safety improvements. - It ignores those that are excluded because they have identified a road or route as being too dangerous to use as a cyclist or pedestrian and opted to stay at home (the elderly) or will drive (taking kids to school or to do local errands)

pretty sure same in Germany as UK and Aus' (where am currently) local cyclist groups are active with road authorities and know where there is latent demand for facilities and where full on segregated facilities are needed or low cost road layout changes will help people get out of cars

the problem isn't data its political will to take road space and/or slow up vehicles

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levermonkey [682 posts] 3 years ago
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But won't this just show where cyclists feel comfortable and safe NOW.

It will show the routes that cyclists use to get from A to B now, NOT the routes they WANT to take.

All it will do is reinforce in the minds of planners is that cyclists are happy to ride from A to B via the rest of the alphabet because that is what they are doing now. Why bother to invest in a direct route from A to B when it is clearly not needed.  35

How will this differ from
http://road.cc/content/news/118098-strava-moves-big-data-london-glasgow-...

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arfa [854 posts] 3 years ago
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kitkat [475 posts] 3 years ago
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+100!

levermonkey wrote:

But won't this just show where cyclists feel comfortable and safe NOW.

It will show the routes that cyclists use to get from A to B now, NOT the routes they WANT to take.

All it will do is reinforce in the minds of planners is that cyclists are happy to ride from A to B via the rest of the alphabet because that is what they are doing now. Why bother to invest in a direct route from A to B when it is clearly not needed.  35

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Didonc [14 posts] 3 years ago
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.... or, looked at another way, the black spots will be shown as just that - 'black spots'. I think the intention of the project is really to raise awareness of the status quo - it can highlight voids in the journey pattern just as much as arteries. How you choose to interpret that information is really up to you. It's not like the output is actually going to be instantly converted into policy.

I'm not sure what the role of the robot is. Digital mapping, gathered electronically, then eventually turned back into something digital, no doubt, via the medium of wobbly robot. Eh?