Current Ecological and Copenhagenize Barcelona, with the support from Smart Cycles and Barcelona City Council, developed Aparcabicibcn, a digital tool for the collection and visualization of qualitative data on public bicycle parking, from and for urban cyclists. It consists of a platform that allows citizens to share their own experiences by reporting incidences and providing infrastructure characteristics, based on their perception. It also aims to create a participation channel in which citizens can take an active role on the city issues that affect them directly.

The platform is based on data from the Barcelona Open Data Portal. Users can, however, create new points in case they are not in the database, and include the requested information. Crowdsourcing has two very clear advantages, on the one hand it allows reaching the entire city and the complete set of bike parking racks (more than 3000 points in the city) without dedicated staff, and on the other, results represent the real needs and experiences of the people who use them, instead of merely technical reporting. By the end of the project, the map and the datasets will remain open and free to reuse.

The objectives of this exercise is, on the one hand, to complement the current information available in the Barcelona Open Data Portal, and create a more robust map of the bicycle parking infrastructure in the city, open for everyone to reuse. At the same time, it will encourage digital citizen participation and empowerment, which is one of the goals of the Digital Plan of Barcelona City Council, and test the scope of these participatory tools in the topic of sustainable mobility – more specifically in bicycle mobility. And finally, it aims at encouraging the use of bicycles by increasing access to information and improving the quality of the data.

How it works

Citizens can use their smartphone or their computer to access the Aparcabicibcn web application. From there they have two maps which they can report in. The characterization map allows users to complement the current information available on each parking point, such as location, capacity, lightning conditions, signaling, and provide their perception of security. The second map consists of incidence reporting, such as theft, vandalism, lack of parking options, abandoned bikes, and presence of bicycles from the different sharing systems in the city. A gamification strategy with prizes and incentives was developed in order to encourage users into using the platform.

The Mapathon 

The kickoff event consisted on a Mapathon held on the 24th of November in the Bicihub, a new location dedicated to the urban bicycle and led by our partner “Biciclot”.

The Mapathon consisted of a theorical and practical activity, aimed at testing the platform and informing users about the initiative. Three talks were presented by the organizers, about the current situation of bicycle parking in the city and the potential of citizen generated data and open platforms in the urban context. We had an open discussion about the pros and cons of crowdsourcing and citizen science in the city context, reviewed some similar initiatives and linked it to sustainable mobility initiatives. After the introduction, we tested the platform in the surroundings of the Bicihub, in the Poble Nou neighborhood in Barcelona. Finally, we analyzed the data that we had just gathered.

The pilot consisted on a 2 month challenge, open from late November 2018 until the end of January 2019. Results are already public on the project website, Aparcabicibcn.com. Next phase is planned to take place during the European Mobility Week, in September 2019.