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Cycling communities

2009-12-16 20:20 - 0 Comments

Problem
The use of the bicycle as a daily transport system is not a new idea. Everybody knows the health and environmental benefits of riding a bicycle. But several constrains, such as weather uncertainty, urban street morphology, traffic hazards, and even laziness, all have a significant impact in the – limited – use of the bicycle in urban areas.
Proposal
The proposal is to convince people to start using the bike on a more regular basis. As health and environment are not powerful enough arguments, we need to add fun and economics to the formula. Fun is an essential aspect of the equation. But showing people that they can also have economical benefits from changing their lifestyle will help more people to find the strength and motivation to change their transportation habits.
The idea is based on the creation of Cycling Communities.
For the potential user, the project is based on a simple cycling computer, with wireless capabilities. Whenever the user gets to work, as he parks the bike on Parking Areas for Cycling Units (PArC), the unit sends the trip data to the receptor located on the PArC. This unit is connected to a central database, which stores all the information from the trips by all users. Data is processed in real time, and a set of information is displayed on a screen on the PArC unit.
The information showed to the user is divided into 4 types of data:
Environmental benefits based on the trip data.
Health benefits for the users’ health based on the trip and user data.
Fun data, related to the trip and user statistics and rankings.
Pocket economics for the user, on the earned tokens or points, which can be exchanged by tickets, or give discounts to the cinema, or on bus or train travels; free or discount meals in selected restaurants; discounts for cycling repairs and parts; and other possible advantages.
Information such as Longest / Fastest Trip of the Day / Week / Month, Average Calories Consumption, and other, can be displayed on the PArC screen. Messages such as “Congratulations! You have done the longest trip of the day/week/month!” or “Congratulations! You have avoided the liberation of 200 grams of CO2 to the atmosphere!” would promote self-satisfaction, as well as the curiosity and interest of passers-by. On the other hand, the possibility of winning points for using the bicycle would benefit every user’s pocket, increasing the will to use the bike on a more frequent basis.
The central system has a web interface, where users can check all their information, as well as follow different rankings. The system also includes suggested thematic routes, weather information, and so on, all available online, as well as on the PArC image system. Users can share online information on routes, interesting points, and so on, which would be available both online and on the PArC screens, after verification by the system.
Extending the cycling communities to other cities and countries will hopefully help to develop a global conscience on the subject, while increasing a healthier competitiveness between cities and countries, as statistics shows rankings changing over time.
The system promotes not only a healthier life-style, but also the development of a global network of cycling community.
Submitted by Luis Pinto

2.492065

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