The problem with cycling in a big city is that many maps are outdated, and certain routes aren’t exactly ‘cyclist-safe’. With this in mind, BMW Guggenheim Lab and Lab City Project have created ‘Dynamic Connections’ – a crowd-sourced bike map of information for cyclists in Berlin.  The map was created for German cyclists in order to “enable cyclists to mark the routes they frequently ride on a Google-based map”. Users are also able to answer a number of questions about that route regarding traffic flow, number of parked cars, visibility, topography, and the density of amenities along the route.

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The bike project was overseen by Lab Team member Rachel Smith, who aimed to create a map that doesn’t ignore factors that are important to cyclists. All of this cyclist-provided information is then processed using an algorithm that designates the route bicycle-friendly or -unfriendly (the route is then marked on the map in either green or red).

“They’re auditing existing networks and they’re auditing existing streets that don’t have facilities, and they’re creating a map, as a community, of which streets are safe and which aren’t,” Rachel said.

Of course, the entire system is still in the preliminary stages, but it is hoped that as time goes on, it will evolve into an informative and useful resource for the city’s cyclists. The team is also planning  on adding a comment forum, for instance, to enable people to self-solve.

Specific information will be also be able to be isolated by users, so that data on traffic volumes, vehicle speeds, number of parked cars, visibility at intersections and topography will be instantly made available.  Writing on BMW Guggenheim’s blog, Rachel said: “When I look at the map (I want) to see the difference between roads that are really bad because they’re hilly and roads that are really bad because they’re full of high-speed traffic.

While the system is currently only available in Berlin, it is hoped that Dynamic Connections will so be able to be used in any city with cyclists willing to contribute their expertise.

+ BMW Guggenheim Lab


Images: European Cyclists’ Federation