Putting cyclists back on the map

It's very difficult to imagine a city in which car drivers and cyclists use the roads on equal terms. Traffic would be more efficient, people more relaxed, the air cleaner, and nobody would be afraid to get on their bikes. However, a lot of political and social changes are needed for this utopia to become reality. With the Radwende app and installation, Scholz & Volkmer is helping make this happen. 

Fewer cars mean lower costs and a higher quality of life – the residents of cities like Copenhagen or Amsterdam can confirm that this is the case. However, in Germany we have a different reality. This was shown by the major cycling climate test conducted by the German Cycling Club (ADFC) in 2016. Wiesbaden, for example, came last in the ranking for the third time running, making it the least bike-friendly city in Germany. However, cities like Cologne, Berlin, Stuttgart, Hamburg, and Düsseldorf also performed badly in the survey.

The question therefore arises as to how cyclists can be made more visible in the future, thus making cities more bike-friendly. Scholz & Volkmer already found an answer in 2013 when it developed the Radwende app. The principle behind it is simple – the Radwende app records the routes users take, aggregates them, and visualizes them on a digital map. The busier the route, the more strongly it is highlighted visually.

"The Radwende app is the combination of a citizens' petition, art, and climate protection." 

App Art Award, Special Prize for Crowd Art

The Radwende initiative is therefore a completely new form of civic participation – citizens do not express themselves with a signature or click, but simply by using the infrastructure with their bikes. Each kilometer covered by bike is a small petition for a more bike-friendly city. A lobby instrument that shows the routes that are used particularly frequently by bikes and therefore need to be improved. At the same time, the maps resulting from the initiative can be used as a basis for planning bike traffic in the future.

Austria shows us how

The city administration of Linz also believes that the Radwende app can be used as a reliable basis for planning the expansion of cycling infrastructure. As the third-biggest city in Austria, Linz already successfully tested the Radwende initiative in 2016 as part of the Ars Electronica Festival and rolled it out again this year in the form of a campaign. A newly developed data platform gives city officials access to an even more detailed breakdown of tracking data, enabling them to take into account the most frequently used routes and peak times for city planning in the future.

The Radwende installation at Ars Electronica 2016 in Linz.

However, the residents of Linz are also benefitting from Radwende right now. As an incentive to get them using the app, the city has introduced a bonus system. On the one hand, the Linz biking community is rewarded with a cycling-friendly measure each time the community clocks up a sum total of 15,000 kilometers on their bikes, for example, the installation of a bike service station in the city. On the other hand, the amount of kilometres covered by individual cyclists also counts: Kilometers can be used as a currency in participating stores. For instance, after having covered a distance of 70 kilometers, bikers don’t only have toned legs – they also get a free portion of French fries.

It is therefore high time that German cities followed suit! Get in touch with us and we will help you introduce Radwende in your city!


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Yamina Hartmann


+49 (611) 180 99-59


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