PEDALSTAL is a community application that connects and mobilises local authorities, Bradfordians, cycling communities, external parties and local businesses.

PEDALSTAL supports a beneficial sharing of services, technologies and infrastructures leading to a shift towards a sustainable way of transport, thereby reducing pollution levels.

Type 

Design Strategy

Design Research

UX-UI

Duration 

12 Weeks

Team 

3 People

Area

Urban Design

Mobility

City Planning

Air Pollution

Tactical Urbanism

Smart Cities

Health & Wellbeing

Pedalstal : Speeding up cycling culture

In Collaboration with

 

Main Features

Pedalstal provides Bradfordians with a toolkit of resources to facilitate and promote a safe and motivating cycling experience, to be an active member in the urban transformations and to collectively contribute to reduce air pollution. Pedalstal has four core features:

  • Track your ride: GPS tracking system of the whole bike ride, from start to finish. It registers the miles and the carbon footprint. Through the app users can track how much they cycle per day, showing positive effects on health and environment.

  • Get a social bike: Offers an easy and affordable way to get a bike.

  • Co-produce public space: Citizens can influence and actively participate in the design of public space, prioritizing their needs and perceptions based on the daily use of infrastructures.

  • Pedalstal communities: Brings together all training activities and events around cycling.

Pedestal supports a shift towards sustainable way of transport to tackle air pollution through:

a collaborative policy-making model
a tool to balance and regulate top down and bottom up strategies
a collaborative ownership and shaping of public places and infrastructures •

a participatory way of data gathering

 

Air Pollution at Bradford - Shipley Corridor

Bradford is a city in West Yorkshire where air pollution is causing an increasing level of asthma in children and serious respiratory problems in its citizens, even causing deaths. The municipality holds a considerable number of hotspots with high levels of air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM) caused mostly by traffic, congestion and a heavy use of private cars. One of these areas is the Shipley-Bradford Corridor, a neuralgic transit highway, where the council is investing in new infrastructure improvements to incentivise sustainable transport with walking paths, green spaces and BGI (Blue Green Infraestructures). 

The Canal Road Corridor is a critical regeneration area in the Bradford District and has been identified as one of four Urban Eco Settlement locations within the Leeds City Region. Map scheme developed by the Council and a friendly version designed by me for the process.

However, these top-down interventions are having little to nothing impact on drivers and citizens’ behaviour change towards more sustainable ways of transport. Citizens even perceive some contradictions in policy and strategies adopted by the council such as promoting new parking spots or widening roads. If we want to engage citizens and stakeholders in our interventions, sustainable relationships and partnerships might be designed and explored with them along the process. Bradford City Council, one of the partners of BEGIN (Interreg) project, brought this challenge to the students of Service Design in order to create innovative service propositions and new citizen engagement models.

 

How might we change the perception of citizens towards the corridor such that it encourages low emission behaviour

We focused on transport because the main source of air pollution in the area is caused by private cars: specifically by an excessive use of cars  and because of bad driving behaviours. 

How could we support a shift towards sustainable way of transport?

  • We got through top down strategies that local authorities are working on. 

    2 barriers stood out for us:

    • Lack of evidence and data cause a delay in decision-making

    • Citizens perceive some contradictions in policy and strategies adopted by the council

  • We also looked at bottom up strategies: there are many initiatives but they work under their potential because resources are not enough and not connected/aligned with top down strategies .

  • Thus, our focus was : How to align top down and bottom up strategies in a way that they  both will work efficiently.

3 Design Opportunities

We further explored each of these directions with members of the council from Transport and Highway teams, Health & wellbring team and community engagement teams. You can see the process here

 

How might we develop a cycling culture along the area by enhancing and exploiting the current cycling ecosystem

Mapping the current cycling ecosystem

Why bikes?

Relatively small and flat area

Active cycling groups which engage community
Cycle tracks present/ developing

Steps being taken to discourage cars

Pedalstal is a connector that aligns, visualises and points out the value of the whole cycling ecosystem.

Award system: Users are awarded for cycling or participating in other available activities such as volunteering. For example, for every mile cycled, a  member gets three Cadences (Zero emission currency). Volunteering on training others awards the user with two Cadences. 

Open data collection: The system collects real time relevant data such as total miles per day, routes activated by GPS system and number of bikes. It enables predicting and justifying future urban planning and infrastructures and creating new opportunities for social or private organizations. 

From stakeholders to shareholders: Pedalstal is shaped by a diversity of players and entities following new distributed rules of creating and capturing value as the digital platforms introduce.

The Cadence balance is shown at any moment on the app, allowing users to expend it in three different ways:

1.Exchanging them in the local retailers network

2.Donating it to  some of the associated charities or purchasing services on the platform (as tickets for events

3.Training courses or renting a bike)

One of the major outcome that Pedalstal introduces is the collection of data from different sources:

In real time the system collects through the GPS in the form of the routes that are activated by the cyclist.

 

And bike counters collect the bikes during the day

When every single route finishes the system register the miles covered, time and area.

It is important to highlight that except the bike counters that are accessible to any pedestrian or driver, the data is previously processed and filtered before making them accessible in the platform.

And the second outcome is the Openness of data (through a Creative Commons License) produced that introduces changes in different ways: empowering citizens to take control of their lives, predicting and justifying future urban planning and infrastructures and creating new opportunities for social or private organisations. 

Pedalstal is shaped by a diversity of players and entities following new distributed rules of creating and capturing value within the digital platforms. The strategy of the platform is to collect all the actors that already exist to amplify its potential and create the cycling culture ecosystem. 

 

One of the main actors is Capital of Cycling Bradford in partnership with a tech/software company. 

The peer producers (prosumer, providers) create the value (data, knowledge…). The Members through the data i.e, the local retailers with the discounts, the events organisers with activities.

Some of the producers are also consumers and members of the platform, which means the ecosystem is dynamic and changing.

As consumers or prosumers we identify some policy makers, local businesses or in general the Bradford citizens. 

Finally we identify some external and useful actors as the Media, donators or social organisations. 

 

How to develop a cycling culture

Barriers to Cycling

Using personas and story telling we established common barriers to cycling that are prevalent in the area. We had recognised some of these barriers through our primary research with citizens in the area. 

This helped us direct the strategy for adoption and co-create solution with the members of the council and the community.

We could broadly categorise them as Material barriers, Perception barriers and competence barriers. 

We also used secondary research in the area of 'decarbonising transport systems' to bring evidence based approach to our process.

To tackle the barriers and empower citizens towards adoption of cycling we proposed 3  core areas of solution. These could manifest into policy interventions by council or citizen led services by cycling groups or technology support by local technology organisations.

 

Design Process

Overview

You can details of tools and techniques we used and developed in our research report here

Our process was a mix of work-studio where we did secondary research, designed methodologies, synthesised and categorised insights and prototyped mock-ups, and a few discovery days in the field, in Bradford and Shipley. We firstly went deep into detailed research to understand the City Council Plan, such as the Shipley and Canal Road Corridor Area Action Plan (AAP) that provides the planning framework for the regeneration of the area. We carried out around six interviews with technicians and civil servants in charge of the urban infrastructures, air pollution strategy or civic engagement. 
 

During the first discovery days we interviewed more citizens, walked through the canal and documented the observations with videos, photos and notes. Some of the insights were contrasted with a group of technicians during the first workshop in the City Council in order to identify the opportunities and barriers to develop actions on air pollution involving stakeholders. 

Building personas helped us to understand and categorise the barriers that influence the adoption of a cycling culture in three groups: infrastructures, psychological barriers and competences; and then, design solutions for them. These personas were used in the second discovery round in Bradford to prototype different solutions and scenarios. Finally a diversity of mock-ups, service concepts, ecosystem and stakeholder maps were designed in studio and presented in Bradford City Council. One of the impacts of this academic project was the experience that the Council Staff had with new methods and approaches. It was also the understanding and learning about the convenience of developing a new strategy based on the combination of top-down and bottom-up processes to engage stakeholders and do innovation in policy making. 

© 2020 Astha Johri. All rights reserved.