Encouraging people to ride a bike or obey bicycle traffic laws can be difficult. An augmented reality app could make it fun.
Riding a bicycle isn’t for everyone. Yet, there is no denying that it is a greener way to commute and a great way to get some exercise. Still, many people don’t find it enjoyable enough to keep riding. CityConnect and the University of Bradford’s Digital Media Working Academy are developing a way to fix that.
By creating an augmented reality app for cyclists, the aim is to enhance the cycling experience with elements of game playing. Safety is a key aspect of the prototype. Players are rewarded for following traffic laws and acting responsibly. If a cyclist rides recklessly, points are deducted. Additionally, the app features explorable points of interest.
For this first phase, testing will focus on the Cycle Superhighway that links the cities of Bradford and Leeds. This pathway provides cyclists with a segregated, traffic-free environment. Throughout development, the Working Academy is involved with the local Yorkshire community, including schools and cycling groups, to test the app and its features.
There has been some concern over cyclists engaging with a screen during their commute. However, safety is the app’s biggest focus.
“We are working with a simple but secure strap that attaches the phone to the handlebars,” said Simon Couth, Head of the Working Academy. “Safety is an integral aspect of the app with warnings and safe cycle guidance a part of the gameplay. It’s much like people using a screen sat-nav as they drive.”
A finished prototype of the app is scheduled to showcase during the Cycle City Active City conference on May 11 and 12. The conference is hosted by Bradford Council and supported by CityConnect.
“Creating an augmented reality app for cyclists that puts safety and fun at the heart, is the sort of innovative challenge that the University is really keen to take on,” said Couth.