RideSafeUM Launches the 2023 Project Edition
The kick-off meeting of the 2023 edition of RideSafeUM, led by CARNET, took place on the 12th of January. This initiative, co-funded by EIT Urban Mobility (an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union) was born last year to tackle road safety issues arising from the improper or uninformed use of micromobility vehicles. RideSafeUM is also targeted at assisting micromobility policy-making through the collection and analysis of data that are related to micromobility accidents and infractions of local regulations, as established by city councils.
The consortium’s goal for 2023 is to use all the knowledge gathered during the first year of the project to continue developing the application and to strengthen the final product, launching a TRL9 solution on the market in 2024. The 2023 developments include improved user experience, new computer vision capabilities, reduction of phones battery consumption, a better accident detection and processing system to avoid errors, the possibility of scheduling specific riding and cycling restrictions during bespoke circumstances, and the introduction of an Interactive Mapping System through which users will be able to give direct feedback to their councils on micromobility issues they experience. Through this upgrade, the project will bring micromobility safety benefits to users, public authorities, and operators thanks to the use of this innovative technology.
Similarly to last year, pilot tests will take place in the cities of Barcelona (Spain), Rome (Italy), and Thessaloniki (Greece) between September and October. Thanks to these demonstrations, the consortium will be able to test the improved performance and the new functionalities of the app, this way further optimising the system according to the feedback provided by users and cities.
RideSafeUM allows us to proactively prevent micromobility accidents and gather data for wider learning, policy-making and management purposes. The solution is based on the integration of computer-vision software, with camera, GPS and an accelerometer. This technology is supported by users’ smartphones or through integrated equipment in the operator’s hardware. In addition, a city dashboard enables authorities to identify and dynamically manage micromobility safety issues. Real-time information (via an app or the operator’s front end) of regulations is displayed to the user, and safety warnings are shown. At the same time, alerts are sent to the authorities if an accident occurs, using a black-box function.
This project was born due to micromobility having grown exponentially in our cities. Although bike sharing systems have been around for a while and bicycles have long been popular, the enormous development in micromobility options that our cities have seen since the middle of the 2010s can only be described as a revolution. Micromobility has also emerged as a deal-breaker when it comes to addressing some of our most urgent urban mobility issues. However, there are still lessons to be learnt to unleash the full potential of micromobility. Safety is one of these key issues, and has been stated to be one of the most important aspects to consider to increase user engagement.
The kick-off session had the participation from all partners within the consortium, which continue to participate after the success from 2022. Involved public authorities include Ajuntament de Barcelona – with technological support from Institut Municipal d’Informàtica (IMI) –, Roma Mobilità, and Thessaloniki Major Development Agency. Private sector partners include micromobility operators Dott and Thessbike, as well as consulting and technology companies like Applus IDIADA, BrainBox and FACTUAL. Finally, academic and research-related entities complete the mix with players like Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and CARNET, leader of the project. This balanced mix of partners across different European geographies guarantees a unique and comprehensive perspective for the project.