First, an AI-powered counter keeps count of cyclists in Bangalore

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The city’s first AI-enabled live digital cycle counter found that 500 cyclists were using the bike lane on the Outer Ring Road (ORR).

The device was installed earlier this week by the Sustainable Urban Mobility Agreements (SuMA) near the Doddanekkundi flyover. The Direction des Transports Urbains Terrestres (DULT) launched it jointly with “Sensing Local” and the inhabitants of the district.

The device counts the number of bicycles passing through the lane by analyzing recorded video footage. “The computer comes with a camera,” explained its builder and cycling enthusiast Nihar Thakkar. “Artificial Intelligence (AI) can distinguish the cycles of other motor vehicles and pedestrians. It resets every day at 12 p.m. This is the first time the device has been installed in the country.

The installation of the device is part of the interventions decided after a mobility audit in Doddanekkundi within the framework of the SuMA grant. The device was installed to collect cycling data to aid in policy making and infrastructure planning.

“During the audit, we found that many utility cyclists (maids and security guards) use the ORR cycle lane to reach the neighborhood. We wanted to document these numbers to feed into a network we are building for the neighborhood,” said Sobia Rafiq, co-founder of Sensing Local. She added that the devices will be installed at two other locations – Graphite India Main Road and Doddanekundi Junction or Garudachar Palya – as part of the project.

Cyclists believe the figures obtained from the device will help to advocate for more cycle lanes in the city.

“ORR is where many violations are seen on the cycle path with the entry of motorists. They also got rid of the bus lane here. So, with these data, we can refute the claim that bike lanes are not used. It also encourages more cyclists to add to the tally,” said Satya Sankaran, popularly known as Bicycle Mayor.

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