Dutch digital innovation aims to help cyclists find parking spaces

lumiguideCycling in London is increasingly popular, with the daily commute seeing a huge number of people popping onto two wheels to get to work.  As the number of cyclists increases, so too does the challenge of where to park your bike when you get to your destination.

Being arguably the most cycling friendly nation on Earth, it’s perhaps no surprise to see the Dutch leading the way.  The city of Utrecht have recently launched a new scheme that aims to help cyclists locate a safe spot to park their bike.

The scheme borrows very much from the signs that already appear in most cities that aim to inform motorists of spare parking capacity in multi-story car parks.

Smart parking

The system, known as Lumiguide, utilizes two cameras to keep an eye on the multiple bike parks around the city.  The images captured by the cameras are then fed into an application that is able to detect whether a space is being occupied or not.

This real-time data is then fed to a series of digital signs around the city to alert cyclists to spare spots in the area of town they’re riding in.  It can also help to guide them to exactly where the spare spot is in the bike park.

As the software monitors each bike park, it is also capable of detecting when a bike has been abandoned, thus alerting staff that it should be removed.  It also comes with detailed reporting to help officials understand cycling behaviors across the city.

It’s certainly a nice approach from a country that has undoubtedly taken cycling to its heart.  At the heart of the scheme however is a huge number of well secured bike parks.  In London, and most other British cities, parking is confined to on-street facilities, so it’s not clear how applicable this kind of project would be to less cycling-friendly locations.

Maybe one day though.  Check out the video below to see Lumiguide in action.

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