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SPACED is a digital toolkit that can quickly generate different proposals for new and expanded cycle infrastructure across urban areas using sophisticated algorithmic design approaches combined with widely available geospatial data. SPACED is shortlisted for the AJ100 Best Use of Tech Award 2021.
Covid-19 has affected the way we live and move. Big cities were designed to host millions of people and rapid public transportation would allow people to move quickly around the cities. The pandemic forced us to live in a different way.
There is a shift towards active travel in cities around the world resulting in a greater need for cycling infrastructure design: Milan announced plans for a car-free future. In Paris, 650km of cycleways are being built, and subsidies offered to cyclists to prepare for the end of lockdown. In the US, 75 miles of streets in New York City will be allocated to pedestrians and cyclists.
"We’ve got a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a shift in attitudes for generations to come, and get more people choosing to cycle or walk as part of their daily routine. “
Grant Shapps (Transport Secretary), 28 July 2020
How can we achieve this level of cycling infrastructure design? We have so many digital tools that allow us to address the challenges of Covid-19, but what are the technologies we need to understand our cities better and re-design them to better reflect our new ways of living?
The Creative Technologies team at Bryden Wood, with Jacobs Engineering, have developed SPACED to address this challenge. SPACED is a digital toolkit that can quickly generate different proposals for new and expanded cycle infrastructure across urban areas using sophisticated algorithmic design approaches combined with widely available geospatial data.
The process uses a map of the city as the starting point. This is evaluated to identify streets across neighbourhoods which have enough space to add new cycle lanes or have existing lanes that can be adjusted. The user is able to select areas which should be connected through a continuous cycling network and by defining the performance criteria, for example a network which connects green areas for leisure, or a network which connects key areas of a neighbourhood. The tool suggests evaluated options which can be explored by the users in different ways including a 3D geospatial web app and interactive dashboard.
We use algorithmic design processes to generate many possible solutions, that can be understood and evaluated against a range of different criteria to help users find the best solution for their neighbourhood. SPACED accelerates the generation of design proposals and delivery information to get to the right answer in a quicker, more data-driven and transparent way.
SPACED can be used to provide cycling infrastructure design in a way that is not just faster, but smarter.