The smart city of the future – Cologne launches the “Smart Bicycle Traffic Challenge”
There’s a parade and the whole city centre is one big traffic jam? A overflowing underpass and no way through? Pop-up building sites adding unexpected detours? No problem for the smart city of the future: the "Smart Mobility Platform" provides real-time information. This is the vision of one Portuguese company. The EU is supporting the project. Cologne is the test site. At the heart of it all: Bike Citizens’ expertise and bike navigation app!
You’ve all experienced them: accidents, roadblocks, street repairs, weather damage, police operations, demonstrations or spontaneous parades – all these factors occasionally make urban mobility unpredictable and hard work. How much time and annoyance could you have saved if you had been informed in time? How much would that improve your quality of life?!
Smart cities thanks to the “Smart Mobility Platform”
Ubiwhere, a company from Portugal, wants to change all that by redesigning the maps for our streets and public transport. The company has collaborated with the FOKUS Fraunhof Institute for Open Communication Systems in Berlin, the Elite University at the Sorbonne in Paris, French research institute Inria, and the Technical University of Berlin to form a consortium. The consortium’s aim: to turn the vision into a reality! The EMBERS project is born. With the support of the EU’s largest research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, the consortium will develop a wise or smart city mobility platform and bring it to market readiness. Horizon 2020 liked the idea “(…) to prepare a smart city mobility platform, called the Mobility Backend as a Service (MBaaS), for market.”
MBaaS, or guaranteed mobility
MbaaS aims to enable hitherto unprecedented (and guaranteed) mobility in urban areas. Through collective data capture by many different, active road users and a data standardisation process, unplanned and undesirable traffic situations are collectively recorded and reported to an urban centre. The centre then decides: if the report is accepted, the information is shared with the community via a backend dashboard. But first, it’s being put to the test: the mobility platform’s concept and implementation is being put through its paces as part of a project named the “EMBERS City Challenge”.
EMBERS City Challenge: Three cities – three priorities
From October 1st, 2018, the EMBERS City Challenge will be launched in Porto (Portugal), Cologne (Germany) and Trikala (Greece). The “Smart Bicycle Traffic Challenge” is being launched in Cologne because the city is very interested in using new technologies to improve cycling. The challenge will involve active cyclists. Only in this way can the actual needs of Cologne’s “bicycle community” be visualised, understood and consequently satisfied.
As part of a public tender, Bike Citizens have established themselves as project partners in Cologne. The company based in Graz (Austria) and Berlin (Germany) has equipped the Bike Citizens bike navigation app with additional features based on EMBERS technology.
Bike Citizens: Reporting platform for cyclists
As technology partners in the field of active mobility, Bike Citizens has designed a prototype for the test phase of the EMBERS Challenge Cologne. The prototype collects feedback from cyclists and makes it available to the City of Cologne. The Bike Citizens app acts as a reporting platform.
There are four categories that cyclists can report while riding: road conditions, building sites, unexpected incidents such as traffic accidents, and delays and closures due to events (fairs, sporting events, parades etc.). Data capture happens in real time during the journey by pressing the EMBERS push button in the app. The GPS marker points are immediately categorised by the app. The data is automatically transmitted to the City of Cologne (head office) when the journey is uploaded.
The City of Cologne can also set markers or release tips to users of the app. Road closures, blockades and obstacles i.e. all those annoying things that prevent you from moving smoothly in everyday traffic, become immediately visible.
Do you want to improve your cycling experience in Cologne?
Join the EMBERS Challenge Cologne!
Bike Citizens wants YOU!
The test phase of the Embers Challenge Cologne is running from October 1st to October 31st, 2018. But Bike Citizens is still looking for more cyclists to take part. All you have to do is use the Bike Citizens app to report obstacles on your daily bike routes. Join in, and create “your” Cologne. As a small thank you for taking part, you will receive a free Finn smartphone mount from the staub & teer bike shop. (Only while stocks last.) The universal smartphone mount for your bike is not only super handy for the challenge, but also a good companion on all your rides.
How does it work?
1. Download the Bike Citizens app and Cologne city map to your smartphone (free of charge)
2. Select EMBERS Challenge Cologne and confirm your participation (please note: during the test phase available for Android only)
3. Pick up your Finn smartphone mount from staub & teer.
4. Use your Finn mount to fix your smartphone to your bike
5. Start riding, and report problems via the EMBERS push button