Cycling is healthy, good for the environment and is becoming increasingly popular in these corona times. In order to develop smart mobility solutions for cyclists, more insight into cycling in our cities is required. That is why the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management will have 5.6 million bicycle rides mapped digitally over the next two years. Siemens Mobility joins forces with Tracefy within the “Talking Bikes” partnership.

As a participant in the public-private partnership Talking Traffic, Siemens Mobility has experience in collecting and enriching data from cars and in communication between cars and intelligent traffic control systems (ITCS). However, governments are also interested in the number of bicycle trips in our cities. How many cyclists are there and how do they use their bicycle? Partly due to the arrival of e-bikes, the bicycle as a means of transport is becoming increasingly popular. Cycling is not only good for the environment, but it is also good for your health. The outbreak of the corona virus has increased bicycle traffic worldwide. All the more reason to want to further improve service for cyclists.

Intelligent cycling solutions

Led by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the joint authorities are committed to improving the digital visibility of bicycle traffic. Real-time data from cyclists will be collected and made available over the next two to four years. This is emphatically about gaining insight into cycling behaviour in a general sense. Data is collected completely anonymously and GDPR-proof, so governments do not get any insight into individual cycling behaviour linked to individuals. “When cyclists, like cars and, for example, freight traffic and emergency services are connected and thus digitally ‘visible’, the ITCS that are rolled out nationwide can also lead to smart use applications for them,” says Wim van Duijn of Siemens Mobility. “Just think of the busy bicycle traffic around the University of Technology in Delft for instance. How nice would it be to give all cyclists priority to the traffic lights around the university complex after the lectures? This would improve the flow of both bicycle and car traffic.”

Digital trip registration

Within Talking Bikes, Siemens Mobility joins forces with Tracefy, supplier of GPS fleet management solutions for e-mobility such as E-bikes. Tracefy supplies the hardware (GPS trackers) and the fleet management software. Among others, home delivery services and providers of bicycle sharing concepts use these. During an acceptance test within the framework of Talking Bikes, Siemens Mobility and Tracefy made approximately twenty cyclists visible to ITCS with the Tracefy software. Van Duijn: “After this successful test, we are now starting with the trip registrations. We aim to digitally map 5.6 million rides in real time within two years.”

From insight to optimization

Insight into bicycle traffic can serve as a basis for developing smart mobility solutions for cyclists. The parties involved in “Talking Bikes” are still searching for the most optimal way to use the live recorded data. Every quarter Siemens Mobility, Tracefy and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management will jointly explore concrete options. Van Duijn: “As Siemens Mobility, we are preparing to enrich the data, which allows us to give priority to cyclists at traffic lights, among other things. Perhaps we are able to let cyclists know via an app when the traffic lights turn green. We are still thinking of a way for cyclists to be safely connected and keep both hands on the handlebars. In addition, we will find out what information cyclists want to receive.”

From A to B quickly, efficiently and safely

Within its Digital Lab, Siemens Mobility is working on a broad level to provide insight into the flow of people via data. Not only traffic on highways and in cities, but also passenger flows on train platforms, for example. Van Duijn: “By combining several projects, we want to develop digital services for travellers to get from A to B quickly, efficiently and safely using various modes of transport. Bicycle traffic is also an important part of this chain

Number of active users during a period of a number of days. (Click image to enlarge)