Residents of the Swedish town of Enköping are being encouraged to contribute to the maintenance of the local cycle-path infrastructure, in a novel way – by playing a mobile game. Anyone with a mobile phone, a bike and handlebar-mounted phone holder can download a free and simple-to-use app, and by playing help to provide important information to the municipality’s traffic planning department.
To develop the scheme, Enköping’s authorities teamed up with Crowdsorsa, a Finnish startup software company, who developed a smartphone game where virtual fruits and berries, which are worth actual money, can be collected by filming the cycling paths. Enköping has 110km of cycling paths for players to map, with each kilometre featuring collectable objects worth approximately SEK 20 (about 1.88 euros).
The data collected is analysed by an AI model to identify damage to the cycle path, and then will be used to plan maintenance of the network.
Explaining how the game works, Crowdsorsa CEO Toni Paju said: “The first user to collect an item is rewarded for it, then it disappears from everyone’s maps in real time. This makes the survey well-organized and shows users where data has not yet been collected.”
Maurizio Freddo, traffic planner at Enköping municipality, noted the benefits both for the town’s authorities and local residents: “The project is important for us as we can finally get a good basis to see in a methodical way how we should maintain our walking and cycling paths. It gives us a better idea of what we should prioritize. We also believe that this will be a good way to engage citizens in Enköping municipality to get out and experience our walking and cycling paths.”