When Wiesbaden, Germany, was proclaimed the country’s least bike-friendly city by a leading cycling club, local creative agency Scholz & Volkmer teamed up with artists Manfred Kraft and Tom Kresin to plot out a solution. The resulting project, Radwende, uses smartphone apps to map out the most frequently ridden streets of the city to demonstrate exactly where bike paths should be installed.
The project utilizes iPhone and Android apps on cyclists’ phones that report data back to a drawing machine, which in turn traces out the route information it receives onto a wall-mounted map of the city. Cyclists can download an app and be tracked through the city’s streets, although while the apps can keep track of multiple riders, the machine is limited to marking out the route of one cyclist at a time.
The Radwende project was recently exhibited at Wiesbaden’s Museum of Fine Art. There it traced and overlaid the journey of each cyclist to build up a street usage map that shows where there is the greatest need for safe bike paths. While overcoming drivers’ anti-bike prejudices is a big issue for the urban center, the artists hope that the project will encourage city planners to take action to repair the city’s sullied cycling reputation. Over the course of the project cyclists covered 2,584 routes totaling 14,390 kilometers (8,941.5 miles), saving 2,993 kilograms (6,598 pounds) of carbon dioxide compared to if they had driven the same distance.
You can see the Radwende drawing machine in action on Vimeo. Prints of the drawings were made available for €150 ($204) on the closing night of the exhibition, with the added financial incentive that participants received a one euro discount for each kilometer they were tracked by the app during the project. While the apps are currently only available via German app stores, the artists are seeking project partners and financial backing to expand the project to other countries. If you would like to support this expansion, you can contact the Radwende team directly.
Via Fast Company
Photos by Radwende