Intelligent lights for active travel scheme in east London

Bike lights provided by cycling tech company See.Sense power the London Borough of Newham’s data-driven initiative. 

Based in County Down, See.Sense brings together patented sensor and AI technology to make cycling safer – and smarter. Now the company has partnered with a London borough to gather data to improve local infrastructure and get more people actively travelling.

Photo of bicycle picked out by coloured light  

The idea is ingeniously simple. See.Sense’s intelligent bike lights include sensors which collect data on cyclist behaviour and safety. Some 200 residents in Newham have already been provided with these bike lights. 

The lights in themselves offer an extra level of safety to individual cyclists as they can increase flash intensity in potentially dangerous situations, such as at intersections or during sudden braking. 

But the real benefit comes when lots of people all use these intelligent lights. Synched to a smartphone app, anonymised data is then provided to the local authority, providing insights on popular cycling routes, near-miss incidents, crash events, rapid speed changes, swerving, road surface conditions and average speeds. Cyclists can also report specific issues using the app. 

The Newham Highways team can access aggregated data via a user-friendly dashboard. 

This can then be used to guide improvements to infrastructure, such as enhancing pedestrian and cycle routes. The aim is to tackle longstanding issues with the quality of pavements, obtrusive pavement parking, and the overall appearance of Romford Road to make it more accessible and appealing. 

The insights gleaned from the data will help to support the wider Romford Road active travel scheme, a key element in Newham’s plans for a more community-oriented 15-minute neighbourhood, where amenities that residents need are within easy reach. 

Martina Gabrilelli, Senior Project Manager at the London Borough of Newham, says: ‘The Smart Cycling Project offers a unique opportunity for Newham’s citizens and the council to work together to better understand cycling behaviour and safety in the Romford Road area.  

‘This type of data would be difficult to capture by other means and will really help boost our monitoring and evaluation of the scheme, as well as inform the design and maintenance of Newham cycling infrastructure, improve safety and ultimately enable more people to cycle with data-led evaluation.’ 

 Philip McAleese, CEO of See.Sense, adds: ‘We’re pleased to work with the London Borough of Newham on this scheme. Our data can identify issues and evaluate the scheme’s impact in a data-led manner, supporting the shift towards safer and more connected cycling routes.’ 

See.Sense data insights have previously been utilised by Transport for London to understand collisions and risks to cyclists. 

In related news, the first fully electric public bike hire service will launch this autumn in Leeds.

Photo by Habi


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