Before venturing on a snowy cycling path might as well be informed about its condition, Source: Depositphotos

Aarhus uses a smart system to extend the cycling season into winter

Aarhus uses a smart system to extend the cycling season into winter

The elements that make it possible are path sensors and friendly text messages

The Municipality of Aarhus (Denmark) is currently running an experiment to determine whether new technology can help extend the cycling season well into the Nordic winter. The essence of the project consists of placing temperature sensors in the cycling lanes which can relay real-time info to would-be users about their immediate condition. That in turn will help cyclists decide whether to ride their bikes to work or opt for a car or public transport instead.

Nicolaj Bang, Councilor for Technology and the Environment, explains it this way: “We can see that many choose the car when the temperatures drop, and we suspect that this is due to the concern about slippery bike paths. But Aarhus must be a cycling city all year round.

That is why we are trying to go in new, innovative ways to get the people of Aarhus to take up the bicycle. I hope the experiment can make cyclists continue the good habits, even if it gets cold, and thus not get behind the wheel to just sit in a traffic jam on their way into the city.”

Technology encouraging green decisions by the residents

In the trial, Aarhus Municipality has placed 40 new sensors in the asphalt tarmac of six cycling routes. The sensors measure the temperatures of the paths and give the municipality's winter service an indication of how good the paths are for cycling. Residents who have signed up for the trial will receive text messages during the winter, which should serve as friendly reminders that taking the bike that day would be a good idea.

That kind of high-tech addition is helpful despite the fairly accurate weather forecast options. The thing is, the latter only indicates the atmospheric conditions but does not provide much info on the actual condition of the cycling roads.

The experiment will provisionally run this winter, after which the Department of Technology and the Environment will evaluate. Registered cyclists are encouraged to offer opinions and experiences.



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