Bringing cycling back in the digital age: how can crowdsourcing help?
As digital technologies are envisaged as a solution towards a smart, sustainable and collaborative city, numerous digital tools are emerging, dedicated to cycling and relying upon a crowdsourcing approach/method. This Policy Brief analyses what these tools can bring to cycling, based upon several local case studies.
Experiments using crowdsourcing tools to promote bicycle-use are increasingly becoming common, reflecting a new way of creating the city where citizens are considered as participants and “experts”.
These tools help support municipal decision-making by filling gaps in data collecting on bicycle-use, cyclists’ needs and preferences; they also involve citizens in a collaborative approach to transforming practices.
At a “technical” level, these tools can support cycling policies by generating data that can be used to enrich the city’s understanding and create a shared urban experience. At a “political” level, they can serve as tools to increase mobilization and interaction between local governments, associations and citizens; this can create heightened visibility for the issue, help build arguments in favor of bicycle-use and strengthen support relevant audiences’ legitimacy.
- In addition to investing in cycling infrastructure, cities should include the development of these tools for dialogue not only as mere data-collection instruments but as a means to informing and involving citizens regarding their city’s cycling policies. To achieve this, some obstacles associated with participant-mobilization, data management and familiarization with the process will need to be overcome.