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Isle of Wight lays digital plan for smart cycling



Council issues prospectus for tech provider to help get more locals and tourists on their bikes

The Isle of Wight Council has unveiled an ambition to set up a ‘smart cycling’ corridor on the island, making use of a range of digital technology.

It has published a prospectus in the search for a partner organisation that could provide the digital information to support cyclists, using technology including GPS, real time travel information, an online or in-app game and online photo sharing and messaging.

The initiative is understood to be the first of its type in the UK, and provides a new element to the smart places agenda which so far has been focused largely on urban areas.

The council wants the digital solution to include the capture of information to help it understand all the characteristics of and barriers on the cycle routes, and to collect data on features such as points of interest and cost savings to encourage more people onto their bikes.

It should also be able to embed content from third parties such as transport operators and road maintenance contractors, and be scalable for any extension of the corridor. In addition, there is a possibility of including advertising.

The aim is to open the corridor early next year, initially running on the already popular cycle route from Cowes to Newport. In the future it could be extended to other routes around the island and possibly to the mainland.

Sustainability drive

The project is one of 10 funded by the Department of Transport under the Isle of Wight’s Sustainable Transition Year Programme. It is aimed at getting more people cycling to work, with all the familiar environmental and health benefits, and supporting tourism.

It is also intended to provide a pilot for other authorities looking at intelligent mobility solutions.

Jim Fawcett, principal officer for low carbon projects at the Isle of Wight Council, said: “We are seeking to encourage even more people to take up cycling to work as a healthy, low cost and sustainable alternative to driving.

“This funding provides us with a unique opportunity to create the country’s first smart cycling corridor, which aims to make people’s cycling commute more appealing and interesting whilst encouraging people to lead more healthy lives.”

Image by Sludge G, CC BY 2.0 through flickr


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