Smart bike lights trialled to improve safety and gain insights on cycling infrastructure

A trial has been started welcoming local people to use a new and powerful app-enabled rear bike light to provide valuable data insights into cycling journeys to help inform the development of an improved cycling infrastructure in Oxfordshire.

Testing of the technology is now being opened to wider community participation which will collect insights from 300 lights which are available at just £15 against a normal retail price of £45.

The trial is being run between Oxfordshire County Council, Milton Park, Smart Oxford and smart cycle light company See.Sense. The trial involves the ACE light which is a compact but bright LED rear light that charges by USB. The light operates in tandem with an app on a users mobile device which then transmits data on the ride and route to a data hub where it can be analysed.

What really separates the ACE from standard rear lights is the extra smart functionality. It flashes brighter in high-risk situations such as intersections and switches to a solid red light when riders brake. The app also allows users to control the light’s settings and keep track of ride statistics and even calories expended—one user reportedly burned off the equivalent of 121 donuts and saved 64 kg of CO2 compared to completing his journeys by car. The range of data insights offered helps bring alive the tangible the benefits of cycling and can gently motivate users to make even more use of their bikes as a form of everyday transport.

By joining the Oxfordshire Smart Cycling Project on the See.Sense app and connecting the light to the app, data from the light is collected by See.Sense, depersonalised, and shared with county transport planners. Over 100 million points of data have been collected thus far in Oxfordshire, not only showing where and when people cycle, but speeds, obstructions and road surface conditions.

Insights collected from See.Sense lights add to the development of a comprehensive cycling dataset. Other sources of data include Vivacity Lab sensors, which use artificial intelligence to count cyclists and pedestrians passing through over 120 junctions in Oxfordshire. Together, these innovative technologies are providing the county council with a rich and ongoing source of cycling data that will be used to inform how the county council can reprioritise our road space to provide improved cycling routes across the City and beyond.

Laura Peacock, Innovation Hub Manager at Oxfordshire County Council said:

“The Oxfordshire County Council Innovation Hub is excited to work together with See.Sense and Smart Oxford as part of this Smart Cycling Project. The project provides an opportunity for citizens and the council to work together to improve our understanding of how cyclists move around the city. The ACE lights, through their smart functionality, will help make cycling safer and more fun for participants. Data gathered from the lights will provide the council insights on not only where cyclists travel, but speed, delays, and even road surface conditions. This data will inform how the county council can improve cycle routes in the city and beyond. Further, See.Sense lights, as a consistent source of data, will show how cyclists interact with new road infrastructure, allowing the council to continue to iterate and invest in the most effective interventions.”

The lasting impact of the See.Sense technology will be to allow cycle rides to be visible to council transport planners, enabling a better-connected, safer cycling infrastructure to be developed.

The project will run from December 2019 to December 2020. See.Sense has offered the smart bike lights at a reduced cost of £15 on a first come first serve basis.

Go to https://seesense.cc/pages/oxfordshireproject to find out more about the project and buy your discounted ACE light while supplies last. Enter SmartCities code OXFORD on the See.Sense app to join.