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Sistemas de transporte inteligente en la movilidad en bicicleta

Transforming Cycling with Intelligent Transport Systems

At CIE’s Summit in 2021, then EU Commission Deputy Director-General for Mobility and Transport Mattew Baldwin spoke about the possibilities that Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) have for cycling.

“Cycling has huge digital potential in ITS and these systems will be an increasingly important tool for cities in achieving their climate goals”

Mattew Baldwin

Since then, advancements in technologies such as sensors and artificial intelligence have led to even greater potential for safer, more comfortable, and more convenient cycling. Now more than ever before, the ITS sector is looking increasingly at how cycling can decarbonize transport, make cities more livable and transform the future of mobility in Europe.

With the increasing focus on integrating cycling into ITS architectures, what can the cycling industry and cyclists expect?

Smart cycling infrastructure and GPS

Well first off, smart cycling infrastructure can improve rider safety and efficiency. Technologies such as sensors in bike lanes and traffic lights that detect cyclists – when connected with the broader ITS network – can ensure that cyclists are prioritized at numerous intersections along main cycling arteries, ensuring rapidly reduced travel times and less chance of confusion induced by frequent stopping.

Real-time information on weather, traffic, and route guidance can also be provided through GPS-enabled devices ensuring an increased level of cycling convenience and comfort, and data analytics derived from usage patterns of cycling infrastructure can inform future planning and design work to create more sustainable and better joined-up cycling networks.

Regulation coming from the EU has been supporting this transformation. The EU’s central regulatory document on ITS, the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Directive, was reviewed at the end of 2021. Following this, the Delegated Regulations on Multi-Modal Travel Information Services (MMTIS) and Real-Time Traffic Information (RTTI) were revised in 2022. These revisions are helping to improve ITS systems for cycling in two ways.

Improving intelligent transport systems

Firstly, the ITS Directive calls for the development of a comprehensive and interoperable framework for data exchange across different transport modes, including cycling. This will help enable seamless integration of cycling information into ITS systems, making it easier for cyclists to plan their routes and access real-time information on traffic, weather, and road conditions.

Secondly, the MMTIS and RTTI Delegated Regulations require transport service providers to provide timely and accurate information on travel options and traffic conditions. This will benefit cyclists by enabling them to plan their journeys more efficiently and avoid congestion or road closures.

Importantly, these new regulations promote the use of open standards, data sharing and interoperability, which will enhance the integration of ITS systems with cycling infrastructure. Among other benefits, this will crucially ensure that cycling data sets will be available to app developers and transport policy makers in formats that are harmonized across the EU, reducing the costs associated with treating this data and enabling greater clarity and improved synthesis across the bloc.

Transforming cycling as a priority

Transforming cycling for the digital age should therefore be a priority if we want to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves to decarbonise urban transport and make our cities more livable.

Supporting the cycling industry to make this transition is therefore crucial, and with the announcement of MegaBITS (Mobilizing Europe’s Green Ambition through Bicycles and Intelligent Transport Systems), the ground-breaking successor to the Interreg North Sea Region project BITS (Bicycles and Intelligent Transport Systems), there are the beginnings of the type of support the industry needs.

This new project, which will run from 2023 to 2026, will be a change in gears in the way we think about cycling, embedding cycling ITS in mobility governance on a local, regional, and EU level to improve the safety, comfort, and convenience of cyclists.

Project objectives

The goal of MegaBITS is clear: to achieve a 10 % increase in cycling kms within target groups and an 8.8 % decrease in CO2 emissions.

To achieve this, MegaBITS will focus on five flagships across seven cities/regions, each with its own theme. These include Smart Cycling Corridors (Province of Overijssel, City of Zwolle, City of Enschede), Smart Traffic Management for Cyclists (City of Copenhagen), Digitizing Urban Cycling (City of Hamburg), Smart Data Fusion (Province of Antwerp), and Smart Cycling Management (Le Havre Seine Métropole). Cycling Industries Europe, imec and Chalmers University are supporting the project by way of analysis and market exploitation.

The MegaBITS project will scale ITS in cycling to a level of operation and execution that is at the global forefront. Yet there is still much more that needs to be done in order to achieve the required level of integration, technological maturity, and crucially, investment in infrastructure, to bring about the shift in transport and mobility our society urgently needs. While much of the beauty of cycling lies in its low-fi approach to transport and mobility, a dose of tech would exponentially improve how this humble vehicle integrates with the complex systems it navigates.

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