WeCycle may sound an awful lot like ‘recycle’, but this iPhone app is more about recording cyclists’ every movement than converting waste into reusable material.
TravelAI, the developers behind the app, won a contract from the UK Government to work closely with local authorities with a view towards optimizing travel experiences across each city. And it seems there was a “gaping hole” in the understanding of cycling behaviour.
“How can they cater for cyclists, when they don’t even know where and when people cycle?,” the company ponders. This is where WeCycle wants to help.
Similar to how you may have Moves or other pedometer-type app whirling away in the background on your phone, with WeCycle, cyclists activate the app to monitor their movements, which is all collated and shown to local authorities to inform any investment decisions. It’s essentially crowdsourcing information on travel patterns.
This first version of WeCycle can’t automatically detect between bike and car transport – so you must manually set your road vehicle type in the settings page, though this is set to cycling by default. And the very fact that there are other transport options also reveals that the broader scope here is to extend into tracking all forms of public and private transport.
Over time, you’ll build a personal diary of all your transport movements, while WeCycle gets valuable data that it can take to local authorities to inform on things like cycle lanes.
While the idea is based on sound principles, it will only be as successful as the number of people who download and install this app. While the likes of Moves and Waze have certainly shown that crowdsourcing travel information works and generates valuable data (which is why these services were acquired by Facebook and Google respectively), achieving scale by encouraging thousands or millions of people to install this app won’t be easy for WeCycle.
It’s not restricted to the UK either – the app is available globally, so the company could (if successful) deliver data to authorities in other countries too – if they’re interested, that is.
WeCycle for Android will be available soon too, meanwhile you can grab the iPhone version from the App Store now.
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