Using an app, Norwegian cyclists will report the routes they take on two wheels, helping researchers to find the best places to build new cycle lanes.
Aslak Fyrhi of the Norwegian Centre for Transport Research told NRK that the data collection could contribute to better cycling infrastructure in the cities.
“By finding out in more detail where people actually cycle, society can hopefully build new cycle paths in the right places,” he told NRK.
The researcher is calling for bicycle count volunteers in nine different areas to report where they are and where they cycle.
Fyrhi’s goal is to recruit 3,000-4,000 cyclists in Bergen, Stavanger, Bodø, Tromsø, Trondheim, Oslo and Moss, as well as the Frederikstad-Sarpsborg and Buskerudbyen urban areas.
“We want help from cyclists, whether they cycle every day or just occasionally, on normal bicycles or electronic ones,” he said.
“All it needs is for the app to be downloaded onto your phone,” he added.
Fyrhi’s research aims to map not just the routes taken by cyclists, but also who they are and how they cycle.
“Maybe training cyclists go one way, and those with baskets and dresses go another,” he said.
Bergen resident Lea Naglestad Sangolt told NRK that she hoped the new mapping would cut down her journey times.
“I cycle practically every day. To school, work, visiting friends, everything – provided it doesn’t take more than an hour to make the journey [by bicycle],” she said.
But only three percent of all journeys taken in Bergen are on bicycles, according to a study by the Norwegian National Transport Plan.
Bicycles are used for five percent and eight percent of all journeys in Oslo and Trondheim respectively, according to the report.
“It’s a little strange that so few people cycle in Bergen. The city has an ideal climate for cycling,” Fyrhi told NRK.
“It is wet, but there’s wet weather gear. Of course there are challenges, but… much of the explanation is probably to do with how much infrastructure is available,” Fyhri continued.
Sangolt said she would like to cycle in the centre of Bergen.
“It is often necessary to cycle in the road because it is so crowded on the sidewalk. You’re neither pedestrian or driver and often end somewhere in between. I get a bit scared sometimes,” she said.