Published: 27th OCTOBER 2020

New technology to map Edinburgh cycle lanes for Cargo Bikes

New technology, designed to show how people travel across cities by cargo bike is being trialled in Edinburgh for the first time, by Sustrans Scotland’s Cargo Bike Library.

Man and woman standing inside a shop smiling next to a black, Sustrans branded cargo bike they use for deliveries.

The Eco Larder in Edinburgh has been using a Sustrans Cargo Bike to transport goods.

As Scotland moves towards a greener recovery, transport is at the heart of achieving net-zero. 

And making it easier for people to move goods and services by e-cargo bikes is key to ensuring our towns and cities reduce congestion and improve air quality.

New technology, designed to show how people travel across cities by cargo bike is being trialled in Edinburgh for the first time, by Sustrans Scotland’s Cargo Bike Library.

Mapping cargo bikes 

Developed by cycling technology company See.Sense, the sensors will provide information journey mapping and heatmaps of popular routes. It will also collect data on patterns of swerving and braking which could be used to identify areas where riders experience difficulties.

It is hoped the data could then be used to improve the design of the capital’s cycling infrastructure for cargo bike users.

Data from See Sense sensors

The data can be used to track cargo bikes and help inform design.

Improving design

Sustrans Scotland Cargo Bike Library Project Officer MJ Somerville said:

“We are delighted to partner with See.Sense on this initiative. It means that we can now effectively monitor the use and real-time location of our e-cargo bikes more reliably and efficiently.

“And we will also be able to generate data that can be used to improve the design of cycling network and cycling infrastructure across the city to accommodate the needs of its e-cargo bike riders.”

See.Sense’s AIR Fleet Tracking technology is capable of tracking bikes in near real-time, as well as gathering unique patented sensor data about the telemetry of the bike.

The trackers have been adapted to fit on cargo bike frames and will also provide the project with bespoke data dashboards to support operational management of the fleet of bikes as well as provide data visualisation to support analysis of the data collected. 

Transforming cities

Philip McAleese, CEO See.Sense said:

“Sustrans Scotland is a forward-thinking organisation, who have a great vision for how e-cargo bikes can be used to transform our cities, helping to reduce congestion and pollution in our cities. 

"The Cargo Bike Library in Scotland is a fantastic application of our cutting-edge technology and we are delighted to partner with them on this."

Richard Armitage, executive director of the European Cycle Logistics Federation, says:

“This is a fascinating development. By adding the new - modern digital technology - to the old - the humble bicycle - it brings deliveries by bike centre stage.

“I was in Edinburgh last autumn, seeing the Cargo Bike Library in action, and discussing the role of cycle logistics with cycling advocates and City of Edinburgh Council leaders.

"The See.Sense collaboration is a next common sense step, making sure the adoption of cargo bikes in the city is relevant and efficient.”

A greener future

Lockdown has resulted in a shift in the way we purchase food and goods. With an increase in online sales, delivery services will be more and more in demand. 

If we are to meet Scotland's ambitious climate targets, we need to make e-cargo bike delivery a viable option for businesses.

And technology such as these sensors is hoped to produce data that will inform changes to infrastructure, making the use of e-cargo bikes easier and safer for businesses to make greener businesses choices.

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