Crowd-Sourced Infrastructure

Boris Bikes Chilworth Muse When I lived in San Francisco, I used the San Francisco Bike Coalition’s form for requesting bicycle racks from the City.  During that time, the City was under an injunction barring it from installing any new bicycle-related facilities, but the data was still useful for planning efforts.  Now that the injunction has been lifted, the City is seeing the benefits of collecting that citizen-sourced data through the online form and its mobile phone app, Cycle Tracks. London’s Cycling Campaign is providing a similar service to cyclists and would-be-cyclists by hosting a website for reporting locations in need of secure cycle parking.  In London, the new “Boris Bikes” bike-sharing program has seen tremendous success – so much so that outer-rim residential areas are completed depleted of bikes in the morning, as is the central city in the evening.  London Cycling Campaign argues that, with the correct provision of secure bike parking, people would be encouraged to ride their own bicycles to work, alleviating the management costs from shuttling Boris Bikes back and forth all day.

Crowd sourcing is not a new idea, but this application is encouraging for cyclists specifically.  More importantly, it’s encouraging that the state is using technology to improve its response to citizen feedback.

-Terra Curtis