The city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, via the Environmental Studies Centre (CEA), launches an international challenge aimed at startups and companies to reinforce security against bicycle theft

News published on March 13th, 2024

Companies will have to develop a system to track down bicycles.

RAPTOR EIT Urban Mobility Vitoria-Gasteiz

Fast and efficient, environmentally friendly, healthy, climate neutral, promotes more liveable cities, strengthens the local economy, accessibility and equity ... the bicycle is our perfect ally to work for cities and neighbourhoods on a human scale. However, bicycle theft is a major obstacle, with 1 in 5 people abandoning its use as a daily vehicle after the theft of their bicycle.

Vitoria-Gasteiz, via the Environmental Studies Centre, is one of the cities selected by EIT Urban Mobility(Opens in new window), an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology(Opens in new window), to take part in the "Rapid Applications for Transport (RAPTOR)" programme(Opens in new window), a competition to develop and test innovative solutions in the complex ecosystem of urban mobility.

RAPTOR, for each of the 13 cities participating in this year's call, is launching an urban mobility challenge in order to identify and implement innovative solutions to help solve it.

In this framework, and in an international competition, startups and SMEs will be able to compete with different innovative solutions able to tackle each of the challenges presented. Specifically, the Vitoria-Gasteiz RAPTOR Challenge aims to identify, develop and validate innovative proposals to address the challenge of fighting bicycle theft through advanced traceability solutions in the registration of bicycles and their interaction with the VGBiziz network of secure bicycle parking facilities.

The deadline for startups or SMEs with innovative solutions to participate in the Vitoria-Gasteiz RAPTOR Challenge is 6 May. The selected initiative will have up to €40,000 to co-finance a pilotin our city to test and demonstrate the viability of their idea within a period of 5 months from August 2024. To this end, the selected initiative will receive personalised advice from the EIT Urban Mobility team and the municipal technical team.

The RAPTOR challenge in Vitoria-Gasteiz

In a city on a human scale such as Vitoria-Gasteiz, 20% of its population uses bicycles on a regular basis to move around the city. Eight percent of journeys are made by bicycle, which, together with 51% of pedestrian journeys, means that almost 60% of journeys are made in an active way.

A few years ago, the city set up a municipal bicycle register, which currently has more than 14,000 registered bicycles. On the other hand, in addition to the more than 15,000 bicycle docking stations located in its streets, there are more than 900 secure bicycle parking slots in the 14 locations of its VGBiziz network. The challenge identified by our city and the subject of the competition is to provide solutions to improve security against bicycle theft within this ecosystem: the municipal bicycle registration system and the VGBiziz secure bicycle parking network.

Despite its position as a leading cycling city, our city lacks an ideal solution to capitalise on bicycle registration to interact with existing infrastructure. Given that bicycle theft has been widely proven to deter people from using bicycles, and that many other cities are looking for solutions to solve the problem of bicycle registration and secure parking as well, if a reliable, low-cost and functional solution to improve bicycle traceability could be found, it could serve as a reference to implement similar registration systems and improve the parking infrastructure on offer.

Current registration tags lack any ability to provide even basic traceability, which severely limits the ability to do more than just identify ownership, such as improving access and use of secure parking facilities, tracking the number of bicycles passing through, locating stolen bicycles, etc.

To solve this challenge, Vitoria-Gasteiz is looking for innovative, low-cost, simple, functional and scalable technological developments for the traceability of its registered bicycles. These solutions should improve the ability to track bicycle traffic, increase security and optimise the use of bicycle parking infrastructure. Ideally, the solution would also contribute to reducing bicycle theft and fraudulent use within the VGbiziz parking network. Proximity RFID tags could be a possible solution, without ruling out other innovative elements or solutions to solve the above challenge.

The implementation of a solution such as the one described in this challenge would encourage the use of the VGBiziz service, and as a consequence, an increase in the use of bicycles in the city, serving as a spearhead to promote this alternative mode of transport even more.

If you are a startup or an SME and you think you may have the solution to meet this challenge, this is your chance to try it out in an ideal environment.

You can find all the information related to this call at the following website in new window)

#RAPTOR2024 #VitoriaGasteiz


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