THE E-BIKE: THE SMARTEST MODE OF TRANSPORT IN THE SMART CITY.

10 March 2022

The Smart City is currently the talk of the town and has the vision of making the city more accessible, healthier, safer and more sustainable. In short, the big goal of every Smart City is to make a city more liveable. It is all about collecting as much data as possible. About traffic flows, energy consumption, the drainage of rainwater, air quality and crime, for example.

All this data provides valuable information. Via the Internet - and all the devices connected to it - a city can then manage and govern itself ever more efficiently. For example, by being more economical with street lighting, smarter with parking services and more efficient with waste collection.

Smart examples of a Smart City

In a Smart City, you may find streetlights that only switch on when someone walks by. Smart traffic lights improve traffic flow and drivers can find parking spaces or charging stations more quickly via the internet.

Worldwide, Rio de Janeiro, Dubai, Stockholm and Singapore are fine examples of Smart Cities. In the Netherlands, cities such as Eindhoven, Utrecht and Amsterdam are leading the way.

A city is really smart without cars

The electric car is, of course, a vast improvement on the fossil fuel guzzlers. The E-car is very suitable for travelling from Smart City A to Smart City B, but the electric car does not solve the problems within the city itself. You still have a chance of traffic jams and you still need a lot of parking spaces. Moreover, electric cars will not make a city much healthier. Braking and accelerating still releases too much particulate matter into the air.

The solution for a Smart City is not electric cars, but no cars at all. Ideally, in a Smart City - and especially within the ring of such a city - you would like to see only three forms of mobility: our feet, public transport and bicycles. Because if the goal of a Smart City is to become more efficient, more liveable, healthier and more sustainable, then you can't ignore the bicycle.

Imagine if we replaced all the cars in the city with bicycles or E-bikes... then there would be no more traffic jams and parking, but healthier air and more vital residents.

No delivery vans but delivery with E-bikes

Many a delivery van in the centre of a city is only half full, sometimes even only a quarter full. But meanwhile, they block streets and hold up traffic. It would be much wiser for large delivery companies - such as Wehkamp, CoolBlue and Bol.com - to switch from the edge of a Smart City to a delivery bike. Set up mini distribution centres at the city borders. Buses and lorries will take their loads to these transhipment points. From these hubs, E-bikes can then deliver the packages to the door.

Imagine if we replaced all the vans in the city with electric delivery bikes... then there will be less traffic jams, faster deliveries and energetic delivery staff.

If those delivery services were then to be immediately smart E-bikes, then they can make their deliveries even more efficient. Thanks to the data, you can see quickly enough what the quickest or slowest bicycle routes are. You can also see quickly enough what the busiest and quietest moments are for delivering packages. Moreover, the delivery service can also see where all the delivery bikes are, so they can prepare the next packages in time.

In short, by collecting the data from smart electric bikes, a delivery driver can save a lot of time and money and make a much more efficient logistical planning.

How can the E-bike make a Smart City even smarter?

  1. A smart bike can communicate with traffic lights. If there is no traffic, the traffic light can immediately change to green for the cyclist.
  1. The speed pedelec is a formidable competitor to the (electric) car when travelling between cities. By cycling to work at a speed of 45 km per hour along the provincial road, you are just as fast as a car in a traffic jam and you are also doing something healthy and sustainable. Once your smart pedelec passes the edge of town, a Smart City could automatically reduce the speed of your bike to 25 km per hour.
  1. The smart electric bike as a research tool. There are already a number of pilots taking measurements in the city with smart bikes. Sensors can be used to measure air quality, particulates, temperature and humidity. By registering vibrations, a smart bike can also measure the quality of the bike path. If severe vibrations caused by broken cycle paths are automatically reported to the municipality, maintenance can be carried out more quickly.
  1. The smart E-bike as a traffic controller. By collecting a lot of data from smart bicycles, it also quickly becomes clear where the bottlenecks are for cyclists. So that the municipality can widen the cycle paths here.

What does ConnectBike do with this?

About everything you have read above ConnectBike thinking. We are constantly looking for opportunities to implement these plans. We have even set up pilots for some ideas. For example, we have developed a smart box with sensors that you can attach to an electric bicycle.

We are fighting hard to get the E-bike to play an ever greater role in the Smart City. Because in our eyes, a smart city also means a healthier city. If we need fewer parking spaces, we can transform them into healthy parks, playgrounds and locations for urban farming.

Finally, we also want to deal with data in a healthy way. All that information is nice and useful, but we do want it to remain anonymous. We care about the information, not the people.

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