Happy Biking in Utrecht

What, besides walking, is the healthiest and most environmental friendly means of transportation you can think of? The answer is of course cycling. Using a bike to go to school, work, or to do groceries keeps people active and healthy and reduces the number of cars in the center of Utrecht. However, the large number of cyclists in Utrecht also causes frustration and inconvenience amongst the citizens of Utrecht. How can this be dealt with in an innovative, inspiring, and sustainable way?

Biking city Utrecht

Utrecht is the number one of the Netherlands when it comes to kilometres covered by bike each day. Also, more and more people start using their bike as their main means of transportation. Although that is great, this increasing number of cyclists is also a source of frustrations. To find solutions for these frustrations, the Utrecht innovation bureau Springlab started The Happy Biking Project.

The Happy Biking Project

For a week, several inhabitants of Utrecht filmed their bike rides with GoPro cameras attached to their handlebars. The clips were uploaded and people could vote which of the filmed situations frustrated them the most. The votes showed that the three biggest frustrations were delays at traffic lights, crowdedness, and detours. For one of these frustrations, having to wait at traffic lights, a solution has been developed into a system that has started a pilot in April 2017.


Innovative solution: Flo

Springlab, Ko Hartof Elektrotechniek, and the City of Utrecht developed the Flo system. The system shows cyclists what they can do to catch the green light. This will make cycling more pleasant and less frustrating. Flo measures a cyclist's speed approximately 120 meters before the traffic light. Flo will then give you a speed advice shown on a pole alongside the cycling path. There are four types of advice:

- Tortoise: slow down to catch the green light.

- Thumbs up: keep cycling at the same pace to catch the green light.

- Hare: cycle faster to catch the green light.

- Cow: unfortunately, you won't be able to catch the green light this time.   


The following video explains how Flo works in practice:


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