PING! to improve cycling in your city

Initiative details

Unsafety is the main reason for people not to cycle. What makes cycling unsafe? It can be due to both objective elements such as inappropriate infrastructure, but also subjective elements such as the behaviour of other road users. To get more people cycling, it is important to locate, identify and address both elements.

Initiative date


Who was/is your target audience?

Policy makers
Young adults 17-25
Company employees


Create awareness
Improve vehicles and infrastructure

Organisation details

Mobiel 21

Contact name

Elke Franchois

Telephone number


Website link

Project activities

If you work together with external partners, list the most important partners and briefly describe their role.

Bike Citizens is the technical partner (app and analytic tool) in the PING campaign.
In every seperate campaign the involved cities are the partner who sets the frame for the campaign and work towards implemenation of suggested improvements.
In every seperate campaign the citizens are important partners in this citizen science project, as they not only collect data, they analyse data, they propose measures basd on the analysis.

Please describe the project activities you carried/are carrying out and the time period over which these were implemented.

PING is a digital feedback citizen science cycling campaign for cities developed by Bike Citizens and Mobiel 21. The aim of the campaign is on the one hand to provide the city with a good overview of cycling conditions, and on the other hand to offer cyclists a structured feedback channel.
Making conflicts in bicycle traffic visible in a data-based manner.

The only tools a cyclist needs to engage in data col­lec­tion through PING are a PING but­ton and the Bike Cit­i­zens app. The PING but­ton is a small push but­ton that a cyclist can con­ve­nient­ly attach to the bike’s han­dle­bar, or to his or her cloth­ing. Via Blue­tooth, the but­ton is con­nect­ed to the Bike Cit­i­zens app on the smart­phone of the cyclist.
If the cyclist encoun­ters an unsafe sit­u­a­tion dur­ing a ride, he or she sim­ple press­es the but­ton. This push of the but­ton, or ping, is auto­mat­i­cal­ly trans­mit­ted to the app, which records the ping and marks the accom­pa­ny­ing location.
When his or her bike jour­ney fin­ish­es, the cyclist can add more infor­ma­tion about the unsafe sit­u­a­tion in the app, for exam­ple by adding a com­ment or a spe­cif­ic cat­e­go­ry to the ping. Final­ly, the app gath­ers the pings of all par­tic­i­pat­ing cyclists on a detailed cycling map. This heatmap of routes and bot­tle­necks is the most com­plete start­ing point for cities to fine­tune their cycling policies. More­over, PING can be tai­lored to suit every city’s needs and wish­es, both towards a spe­cif­ic neigh­bour­hood or tar­get group (e.g. cycling chil­dren in a school envi­ron­ment).

The main difference between PING and other reporting systems is that feedback via the Bike Citizens app can only be provided for a specific location and category. Accordingly, the result is not a collection of subjective needs, but a catalog of measures developed by Mobiel 21 based on data from which concrete implementation steps for the city can be derived. For this purpose, participants in the campaign collect conflict points with the help of the Bike Citizens app and a ping button and can assign them to different categories. This recorded data is made available to and the city and the citizens, via the analytic tool for further analyses and to co-create solutions.

A PING campaign has been implemented in Brussels Capital Region (2017 - 2018), in Amsterdam (2019), in München (2019), in Osnabrück (2022-2023) and in Ludwigsburg (2023).


What has been the effect of the activities?

Generally, the following, in the 5 cities:
- awareness among policymakers and city administration of importance of subjective feeling of safety
- awareness among policy-makers and city administration of importance of involvement of cyclists in determining what causes subjective unsafety and how it can be remedied
- awareness among policymakers and city administration and researchers about the relevant role of citizen science.
satisfaction among cyclists that they are listened to and involved as an equal partner in the formulation of cycling policy.

How many people reached and all other effects differ in every campaign. In the pilot project in Brussels (3 months), over 1.000 cyclists collected data via 23.086 recorded tracks and 24.260 commented PINGs.

Please briefly explain why your initiative is a good example of improving road safety.

Unsafety is the main reason for people not to cycle. To learn what makes cycling unsafe in a city and how to make it safer, learn from the local experts: the cyclists in the city.

The PING campaign follows a citizen science approach in a 5-step framework. The city sets the frame. And is supported by the full stop service of Mobiel 21 and Bike Citizens in these 5 steps. Easy to implement in evey other city.

How have you shared information about your project and its results?

Yes, via website, social media, local media, but also via international conferences (Velo-City, POLIS conference, Cycling research Board Annual Meeting, etc...)