PING if you care – changing Brussels at the push of a button
Improving your city by pushing a button, that is the idea behind the new ‚PING if you Care‘ project. Starting end of May 2017, cyclists will be able to mark Brussel’s unsafe or unsatisfying traffic situations by pushing their PING button. This is a Bluetooth-enabled device which maps the marked spots. At the end of the pilot phase, all the information will be analysed and presented to the city of Brussels to enhance infrastructure planning.
Cycling in Brussels
Exploring Brussels by bike is quick, cheap and healthy. Like most things in life, it can be intimidating at first, but it’s a great way to get to know the city. And besides, if you know and follow the traffic rules, not much can happen.
As usual, there is always room for improvement. Before, citizens did have the opportunity to point out bottlenecks, but it would just take more time. You would have to remember your notes and then find the right person to send them to. The PING project allows people to point out problems in the infrastructure right away. It allows for easier communication between the city and its citizens. With the new technology, all it takes is to track your rides, push a button when you find something you don’t like and leave a comment to make clear what was wrong.
All these PINGs and comments together will contribute to a bigger picture of the cycling infrastructure. This information can then be analysed and combined with the overall cycling data. Based on this information, the city will receive clear recommendations on how they can organise their resources in a more efficient way. This will make cycling in Brussels an even greater experience!
Just PING, if you care!
The city wants to be a more cycling friendly city. That is where Mobiel 21 and Bike Citizens come in. Both companies, experts in engagement tools and communication solutions, developed a project idea together. In March 2017 they presented the idea to the city of Brussels and got the green light to develop it further.
The project in Brussels is a pilot project. After the pilot phase, the project will be further fine-tuned. It can then be implemented in various cities that want to gain insight into their current status of road users’ satisfaction. The eventual goal of this project is to combine all the problems cyclists in a city get to face, in order to create a bigger picture. Through this bigger picture, cities can get concrete recommendations about the improvement of their infrastructure.
As mentioned before, the project will start at the end of May 2017. At the start of the project, 1000 citizens of Brussels will receive a PING button and can start mapping the problems they encounter whilst cycling. After the pilot phase finishes, the collected data will be analysed and Brussels will receive their recommendations.
The button that will change cities
The PING button is a wireless button that can be attached to your bike or clothing. Whenever a cyclist encounters a dangerous traffic situation or bottleneck, they can push the button. The button then sends the data to the Bike Citizens app through Bluetooth. When the cyclist has reached his or her destination, the various PING points are visible on the overview of the track.
In the next step, each marked spot can be edited by matching it with different categories. These categories cluster the reported spots to road surface, sight, infrastructural design, traffic lights, and more. The marked locations and feedback are reviewed and set into correlation with overall cycling data using the Bike Citizens Analytics tool.
Eventually, all tracks cycled in the pilot phase are visualised as a heatmap. This heatmap will be visible on the „PING if you care!“ website. At the start of the campaign the map will be empty, but as the project continues, the heatmap will keep growing into a map that visualises all the tracks which were marked and commented on.
Mobiel 21 and Bike Citizens
The „PING if you care!“ project is based on a cooperation between Mobiel 21 and Bike Citizens, combining the companies‘ complementary competencies. Mobiel 21, a Belgium movement which dedicates itself to sustainable mobility, will broadly be responsible for the campaigning, project management and analysing the collected data of „PING if you care!“.
Bike Citizens will be the technology provider for this project. The company has designed and created the PING buttons. Besides that, they deliver the engagement tool, in which cyclists can track their rides and manage their marked locations. The Bike Citizens app forms the base of the data collection, which in the last step will be analysed through the Bike Citizens Analytics tool.
PING, because you care
As mentioned before, the project offers a direct and transparent way for cities to communicate and work together with their citizens. Through the new app technology, the „PING if you care!“ project offers a platform for citizens to actively engage in the improvement of their city. Should you live in Brussels and want to be part of this project, then don’t hesitate to register and you might soon be able to PING, because you care!