€100k challenge for technology to help grow cycling in Dublin

— Fund covers areas of cycling data, cycling safety, and bicycle theft

A fund of €100k to find technology solutions to help grow the number of people cycling in Dublin was launched last week by Dublin’s four councils and Enterprise Ireland.

The etender page for the project states that the lead council, Dublin City Council, “are seeking technology and data driven proposals that address the following areas: Better use of existing cycling data to inform the solution; produce new cycling data to better understand the issues; address cycling safety (both actual accidents and perception of safety); and address bike security (cycle parking, bicycle theft).

The “Small Business Innovation Research Challenge” fund is open to organisations, technology developers, universities and service providers. Applications should be submitted by May 3, 2016, and successful applicants will be selected by an open competition process run in two phases.

The first phase will be a technical feasibility of the proposed concept and should include a funding total of €50,000 split between 4-5 successful applicants. Then 1-2 successful concept teams will be invited to the second phase, with a funding total “likely to be in the range of €50,000″ and include a prototype demonstration with detailed monitoring to take place over a 4-5 month period.

“We want to increase cycling in Dublin, both across the Dublin region and in the city centre with a target for a quarter of all trips in the city centre to be taken by bike. Achieving this objective will require major investment in cycling infrastructure, increased promotion of cycling as an option, supportive policy decision making, and a step change in attitudes to cycling in our city,” said Sarah Scannell, the Dublin City Council cycling and walking promotion officer.

She added: “There are a number of short term improvements possible through the application of smart, low cost innovative technologies. This challenge will allow us to provide seed funding for companies and individuals to develop innovative and data driven proposals to accomplish this goal.”

Kevin Sherry, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland, said: ““A key priority for Enterprise Ireland is to increase the level of innovation in businesses and the commercialisation of research in Ireland. We are delighted to support the Small Business Innovation Research Challenge which will encourage the development of new and innovative solutions to increase the level of journeys taken by bicycle in Dublin and I would encourage entrepreneurs, developers and researchers who have solutions in this space to take up the challenge and enter the competition.”

David Timoney, Dublin Cycling Campaign, said: “Dublin Cycling is supporting the SBIR challenge and encourages all companies with smart ideas to get involved in this competition. We would like to see innovative solutions developed that gather better cycle behaviour data which will allow for evidenced based decisions on cycling infrastructure. Hopefully these solutions can tackle the various barriers to increased cycling including bike security, inadequate private and public bike parking, perception of bad weather and perception of safety.”

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