Bicification: How the city of Braga has increased bicycle use in urban traffic

Portugal is becoming a leader in the field of urban mobility, and thanks to their collaboration with EIT Urban Mobility is leading the way. Together, the city and the entity have launched several projects in the country aimed at improving the quality of life for citizens and reducing environmental impact.

And if we think about Portuguese cities, Braga is one of the most dynamic and forward-thinking cities in Europe regarding urban mobility. In consortium with EIT Urban Mobility, the city has developed ambitious projects to improve the mobility of people and goods, reduce emissions and promote the shift towards low-carbon mobility systems and smart cities. To tackle air pollution and traffic congestion, the city has created a bicycle-sharing system and a network of bike lanes. In 2022 the city decide to implement the project “Bicification – O Futuro em Duas Rodas”, funded by EIT Urban Mobility. 

Bicification – O Futuro em Duas Rodas”, (“Bicification – The Future on Two Wheels”) is a European project of sustainable mobility with which 500 citizens from Braga are helping the planet, improving their quality of life and being financially rewarded for their regular use of the bicycle.

Bicification, one of the main projects of the city co-founded by EIT Urban Mobility, is a unique initiative that seeks to turn traditional transportation into a more sustainable form of travel. It aims at supporting a modal shift towards green, active mobility through a reward-based gamification programme. Proposing an advanced solution (TRL9) consisting of patented hardware and software for monitoring and rewarding bike trips reliably.

This pilot project is taking place in three European cities and aims to encourage the use of soft mobility and study citizens’ behaviour to help political decision-makers implement measures. Through a GPS system and the associated App it is possible to monitor the bicycle journeys made, giving rise to financial incentives. This monitoring is done on a centralised data platform.

Each participant can consult the value of the cash prizes they have collected since day 1 on the App. They will also see the local businesses involved in the project where these monetary values can be used to purchase products/services.

Registered users receive monetary rewards from the local authorities, while cities benefit from valuable and reliable trajectory data. Local shops are also supporters of the scheme, as they provide discounts based on the collected points. Thus, an additional benefit for the local communities is the promotion of purchases from local shops.
Bicification also works to promote the health and environmental benefits of cycling, so it is a win-win situation for everyone. Another key aspect of Bicification is that it seeks to bridge the gap between city planning and cycling culture. It works to increase awareness of the infrastructure and services available for cyclists, and also works to encourage civic engagement and participation.

In the city of Braga, the project covered more than 77 thousand kilometres representing an estimated saving of 8 tonnes of CO2.  More than 5,500 euros in vouchers were already delivered.

EIT Urban Mobility is making a huge impact in Braga and beyond. The city is an inspiring example of how through smart innovations and initiatives, mobility can be revolutionised for the better. Furthermore, this is proving to be an invaluable opportunity for Braga to become a world leader in urban mobility and serve as an inspiration for other cities.
Regarding citizen involvement, the project has 1.500 users between Braga, Istanbul and Tallinn, 3 different cities that are making great efforts to promote active mobility. Aiming at reaching 100,000 users in 90 cities in the next 5 years.

EIT Urban Mobility Programme has also improved existing infrastructure and developed new projects around Portugal. For instance, helping the city of Cascais reduce parent commuter’s car dependency by suppressing their need to drive their children to school. Another main initiative is the Flexcurb in Funchal which has also revolutionised the mobility industry. The project provides a solution to control and balance the use of public space digitally, enabling the transition towards flexible use and management of the curb.
Through its various initiatives, EIT Urban Mobility is working to improve the mobility of Portugal and create more sustainable, integrated and efficient transport systems in order to make cities in the country more liveable.

The European project ‘Bicification’ is funded by EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. Istanbul, in Turkey, and Talín, in Estonia, are the other two cities that joined the project.

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