In order to make the traffic turnaround and its necessity more comprehensible for everyone, we, as an association that runs an open workshop, want to implement radar-based traffic monitoring carried out together with the citizens. The underlying research question thereby is: What is the character of traffic in terms of quantity, type and speed at different locations in the city of Cottbus? And which impacts it has on the life on the citizens at this place, and what we will be the benefits in the case of a reduction of the car traffic.
Project Type: Kick Starter
Theme: Cities for Life, Mobility
Mentor: Isabelle Bonhoure
CitRad: Making Citizen Traffic Measurements Possible
Traffic data is crucial for evaluating road safety, road conditions, and if a road is being suitably managed. However, in Germany, this type of data is collected on an ad hoc basis and only after a request to local traffic police services.
However, what if we could measure this data ourselves, whenever and wherever citizens feel concerned, and have this data freely available for anyone to use?
The FabLab Cottbus team is working on this, a maker space based in Brandenburg, Germany. We are a team with a passion for free data and expertise in the fields of radar technology, mechanical engineering, electronics and data analysis.
Together we created the CitRad project.
A citizen science sensor for traffic measurement
The CitRAD project has developed a simple measuring system that residents can place in the house windows or cars. It automatically detects how many cars or bicycles pass by, records their speed and uploads the data to an online platform. In this way, we collect traffic data together that everyone can access. This means we know which roads are safe, and where there is room for improvements.
The system is based on simple radar sensors, and is not subject to any issues in terms of data protection, as this system does not use any cameras, and therefore, no photographs are taken of any people or their cars.
A community for collecting open traffic data
Throughout the project, we have been able to present and test the system at nine public events, to a community of 125 people across Germany. As a result, 25 people in the city of Cottbus are interested in installing these sensors and measuring the traffic levels in their region.
The ultimate aim of the CitRAD project is to build a global community that collects open traffic data. The next step to achieving this will be to make improvements to the software and make it even easier to automatically detect road users and record their speed.
Anyone who would like to get involved with radar measurements is welcome to join. Visit our website to find out more on how you can get involved.
Funding and Support
The CitRad project was funded as part of the EU project IMPETUS, which offered the CitRAD project support through their first Accelerator program. Throughout this programme, IMPETUS provided training and mentoring that helped us in areas in which we had limited experience. For example, how we can measure and report effectively the impact our project has had on the community we serve.