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Inaugural ECF Hackathon showcases innovative solutions from cycling community

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The European Cyclists’ Federation and the European Institute for Innovation and Technology’s (EIT) Urban Mobility department call upon grassroots cycling innovation to help build the cycling city of the future 

On Friday, 13th of November 2020, ECF convened over 50 cycling enthusiasts from around the world for its first ever Hackathon. The online event saw 11 teams create innovative and original solutions to tackle the challenge of Building the cycling city of the future.  

Each team presented their solution to a jury of top experts on cycling policy, which included ECF’s own co-CEO, Jill Warren; ECF Vice-President, Henk Swarttouw; EIT Urban Mobility innovation officer, Delia Mitcan; Velo-city director, Caroline Cerfontaine; journalist and certified mobility cycling promoter, Alex D’Agosta; and the Coordinator for Urban Mobility at the European Commission, Piotr Rapacz. Needless to say, our participants did not disappoint. 

The jury heard an array of high-quality solutions, ranging from high-tech cycling apps to more culturally focused ideas which aimed to improve people’s mentality and attitude towards cycling.

Fighting off stiff competition, the RD Cycle Solution team claimed third place with their solution of a multimodal Urban Cycle Hub (UCH). These modular bicycle parking hubs will provide essential cycling facilities, such as long and short-term parking, changing facilities, bike sharing and repair, and business areas such as cafés and bars. This solution aims to improve urban cycling infrastructure, making cities more inclusive and socially engaging for cyclists. Learn more details about UCH by reading our article here.

Second place adopted a more top-down approach, with the Urban Laab team proposing an Urban Mobility Erasmus (UME) programme for city authorities. This solution focuses on the importance of knowledge exchange between policy makers and relevant authorities. Instead of trying to create effective new cycling policy from scratch, mayors and city officials would participate in internships in other countries, gaining a firsthand learning experience of alternative cycling policies that increase cycling in cities. Learn more details about UME by reading our article here.

At the end of the day, it was safety that ultimately prevailed, with the CycleAI team taking home first prize. Based on an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model (shown above) that automatically estimates a score of perceived safety based on objects in an image, this solution implements Google Street View to create a complete map of safety for entire cities. Not only will this map encourage cyclists by allowing them to choose the safest routes possible, it will also enhance urban planning and cycling infrastructure by empowering authorities with integrative urban datasets for analysing risk on our cities’ roads and pathways. Learn more details about Cycle AI by reading our article here.

As we enter the new year, more funding is due to be made available for cycling from both the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. Therefore, it is important that innovative ideas which encourage more cycling are showcased and promoted. We at ECF are committed to doing exactly this and after the great success of our first ever Hackathon, we are excited to do more to ensure that our cities continue to include more cycling! 

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