Bike Sense Louisville - public art project

2017 - 2020 (concluded July 2020)


Map - overall bike routes for Bike Sense Louisville project



BikeSense.net - Project site including data visualizations, sound & info

Bike Sense Louisville is a public art project centered around bicycle use in greater Louisville, Kentucky. Sensor units were given to 100 Louisville cyclists (the Citizen Cyclist Volunteers) and their location, air quality and temperature data was translated into sound that played on speakers on Louisville’s pedestrian Big Four Bridge. The resulting data-set is open to the public and provided to Metro Louisville Government at the end of the project to help in developing further improvements in bike infrastructure and planning. It can also be found at the Louisville Data Commons for download and review.




This project corresponds to Louisville's ambitious 20-year multi-modal Move Louisville plan:

[The plan] takes a holistic approach to the city’s
transportation system, which is a $5 billion asset that includes roadways, sidewalks, bike networks and trails. The top two priorities identified in the plan are fixing and maintaining the existing infrastructure and reducing the number of miles that Louisvillians drive by providing and improving mobility options.


As a citizen who wants to see this plan succeed, I wanted to create a project that could add to the conversation and hopefully expose these important issues to the public.

As an artist, I approach the subject of infrastructure and planning from a different angle. Many cities gather data through fixed sensors and phone surveys, but by adding the community involvement and creative component of art, the behind-the-scenes process gets exposed in a playful and engaging way.

The sensors in Bike Sense Louisville will collect each Citizen Cyclist Volunteer’s location, temperature, and level of air quality counting VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in real-time. The idea was to get an glimpse of where bikers are going and when, all while observing tiny changes in weather and air quality throughout the city. The volunteers did not have their specific location and personal information shared during the project. Instead, the maps and sounds help illustrate general information about fluctuations in the number of cyclists on the roads and how the temperature and air quality changes across Louisville.

slideshow

The sound generated from the sensors will act like a wind chime. The more Citizen Cyclist Volunteers are on the roads, the more notes played. The tones were short when it was cold outside, and longer the warmer it got. The higher the VOC count, the more the chord would distort. A 3-note chord will represent one cyclist and the notes were randomly selected so that each sensor was unique. So like a wind chime is louder and rings more frequently the stronger the wind, the Bike Sense sound was more complex when there were more Citizen Cyclist Volunteers on the roads and trails.



Visit bikesense.net to see our data in maps and charts, hear what it sounded like, and more. 

An abstract about Bike Sense was submitted, accepted and presented at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting 2020 as an eLightning Poster in the Science and Society category.

slideshow