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BT holds 'smart' cycle light trials to improve road safety for cyclists

PUBLISHED: 15:04 30 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:13 30 September 2019

Volunteers from Adastral Park are taking part in a trial that is using smart lights to try and make cycling safer in and around Ipswich   Picture: See.Sense

Volunteers from Adastral Park are taking part in a trial that is using smart lights to try and make cycling safer in and around Ipswich Picture: See.Sense

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Researchers are using the latest in cycle light technology to try and make the roads in and around Ipswich safer for cyclists.

See.Sense smart cycle lights use sensors to record road conditiosn and traffic hot-spots   Picture: See.SenseSee.Sense smart cycle lights use sensors to record road conditiosn and traffic hot-spots Picture: See.Sense

Volunteers from BT's Adastral Park in Martlesham have been trialling so-called smart lights, which use advanced sensor technology to monitor their environment.

The lights are able to collect information on ride conditions encountered by cyclists, including the state of the road surface, preferred routes and traffic hot-spot areas. These details are sent to BT's Data Hub where they are combined with other factors such as weather conditions.

MORE: Is Suffolk really a cycle-friendly county? Don't make me laugh!

See.Sense's technology won a BT Affinity Award in 2016 Picture: See.SenseSee.Sense's technology won a BT Affinity Award in 2016 Picture: See.Sense

BT says this information will show which routes local cyclists prefer and reveal the conditions under which people choose not to cycle - helping to identify areas for improvement.

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"Over 12 months, we aim to build up a picture of the way people use cycle routes in and around Ipswich, which has a large cycling community," said professor John Davies, BT's chief researcher for future business technology.

See.Sense smart cycle lights Picture: See.SenseSee.Sense smart cycle lights Picture: See.Sense

"Gaining insight and then sharing it back with trialists will enable BT to improve cycling conditions around Adastral Park, In the same way Suffolk County Council will be able to improve conditions across Ipswich.

"By showing seasoned and potential cyclists the popular routes, road conditions and their level of difficulty, consumers can make evidence-based decisions on cycling."

Around 200 volunteers are using the lights, which were developed by a start-up company called See.Sense, who won a BT Affinity Smart City Award in 2016.

The smart cycle light trials are taking place over a 12-month period Picture: See.SenseThe smart cycle light trials are taking place over a 12-month period Picture: See.Sense

MORE: Suffolk: Council told to improve safety measures for cyclists as number of cycling commuters plummet

The lights feature a number of other safety features. For example, at riskier moments on the road, such as at junctions and roundabouts, the lights automatically flash brighter and faster to make sure cyclists stand out. The gadgets can also be paired with a smartphone app, so if it senses the rider might have been in a crash, a message can be sent to an emergency contact. Thefts can be prevented by detecting if a bike has been moved when the owner is not there.

The volunteers have been recruited from BT and the other tech organisations located at Adastral Park, and Professor Davies said the research is "only the beginning" of efforts to improve the cycling experience. The company is running similar trials in Manchester and Dublin.

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