Four years ago, we celebrated the very first Eco-TOTEM installed in Varberg, Sweden.
Since then, Eco Counter has worked with cities all over the world to bring real-time bike displays to the public. Our product can now be found in over 20 different countries in 4 continents.
So what makes it so popular?
Real-time bike displays show the number of cyclists using the bikeway as they are counted. This technology is fast becoming more present in the urban environment. Now, we are happy to announce the 100th has been produced!
Here are three reasons why it is so popular. Real-time bike displays are powerful tools to communicate, educate and encourage the public to cycle.
Communicate – make cycling visible
Standing tall, the Eco-TOTEM ensures that cycling is noticed. Day in and day out, cyclists are counted and the display shows that number right there for everyone to see. As a transparent communication tool, it displays in real-time the number of cyclists on a daily and yearly basis.
Custom-made, each one of them is designed to speak to the local community. It highlights the unique cycling culture by integrating the counter into the public realm. The count display serves as a reminder of cycling when the bike lane is empty and a celebration of the cyclists when they pass.
Simple and elegant, such an idea almost always garners media attention – bringing further the discussion about cycling in the community.
Educate – make cycling legitimate
Why invest in cycling? It is a question many city builders ask and the answer can be influenced by public option. So when naysayers dismiss cycling and refuse to recognize it as a viable and reliable mode of transport, then numbers can be powerful.
A clear display of the number of cyclists is an honest response to the claim “nobody cycles.” It helps inform the public about cycling and ensure that discussions are based on facts.
Encourage – make cycling positive
Every time a cyclist rides by an Eco-TOTEM, the change in count is a virtual “high-five.” It builds enthusiasm around riding a bike. It rewards the cyclists to let them know they count – literally!
Seeing that number change brings on a sense of community. It lets every cyclist who passes it know that they are not alone.
In downtown San Francisco, an Eco-TOTEM was installed on Market Street when the City upgraded the street with bike lanes to a separated bikeway. One year later, bike traffic grew by 25%. Certainly the upgrade itself encouraged a rise in cycling. But so too does the public attention.
Eco-TOTEMs are in a way the visible tip of the iceberg, and are often called “counters” (reminder: the real ones are mostly invisible) because they are their best possible embodiment: they measure and display bicycle usage to understand, justify and communicate.