Becky Miller

MA work

Bike Buddies - Meet your city on two wheels

Bike Buddies is a social platform building a community of people sharing cycle confidence and local knowledge in the city.

It invites both experienced cyclists and those less confident or new to the city to share their regular movements across town, suggesting cycle-friendly routes and allowing bike buddy matches to be made, as well as facilitating more social riding. 


The concept of bike buddying itself is not new, but the way in which the Bike Buddies platform leverages algorithms and other databases for route matching and planning, together with the telemetry data from smartphones to connect people and record journeys, has the potential for the concept to scale with significant impact. 


Bike Buddies could be funded by a combination of national government and local authorities with cycling brands as sponsors, who could also offer incentives for participation by way of discounts, and specifically rewarding those who go onto buddy up multiple times, for example with free bike lights, a helmet, or even a new bike or cycle holiday. Workplaces, universities and schools with a vested interest in the benefits of their people cycling more often, can join Bike Buddies as organisations offering their own incentives through the platform. 


Importantly, as more people buddy up and continue to cycle regularly for commuting, utility or casual purposes, Bike Buddies tracks the increasing number of journeys; this is in contrast to platforms such as Strava which tend to attract a more competitive, sports user with different habits and behaviours. This metric would provide data showing real demand for further infrastructure investment both at workplaces, universities and schools, as well as at a policy level, helping to make the case for more cycle and people friendly urban planning, which could in turn unlock the next wave of bicycle adopters.


The London Context

The initial context for Bike Buddies was the Mayor of London's Transport Strategy, published in March 2018, that has the vision to reduce car journeys by 3 million every day by 2041. The London Cycle Campaign estimates that in order to achieve this, we will need to increase journeys made by bicycle from the current 3% to 15%.

With this in mind, Bike Buddies extends the impact of infrastructure and behaviour change investments. For example, the Mayor of London’s new network of Cycle Quietways will cost an estimated £118.6 million* to complete and TfL currently offers cycle training free of charge to all Londoners, but my research has found that both these important initiatives are little known amongst those new to cycling. Bike Buddies harnesses and grows the existing London cycling community to help virally communicate this new infrastructure and support.



The Wider Vision

In order to capitalise on cycling infrastructure investments, Bike Buddies could be used as a behaviour change tool in any urban setting where there is sufficient density of routes among both potential and existing cyclists willing to buddy up.

As our global population becomes increasingly concentrated in cities, the case for cycling as an efficient, low-cost, healthy, zero-emission and socially cohesive mode of transport has become obvious. For cities that share and invest in this vision of active urban mobility, Bike Buddies has the potential to help mobilise people, save money, reduce pollution and congestion, and improve both physical and mental health.



*http://content.tfl.gov.uk/pic-161130-07-cycle-quietways.pdf

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Design

    Programme

    MA Service Design, 2018

  • Together with my Master's in Service Design, I hold a first-class Honours Bachelor's degree in 3D Design from the University of Brighton (2007), and bring an eclectic professional background and a persistent undercurrent of voluntary work.

    Physical objects and technology still fascinate me, but it's the stories and people that bind them together - and the futures they might create - that really motivate me.

    As a designer in the 21st Century, I relentlessly question my role and responsibility in the context of the wicked problems and challenges facing humanity and all of the other 8 billion+ species with which we share Planet Earth - how might we thrive together?

    I’ve been using my time at RCA to push this ethical exploration with each project, pairing systems thinking with a user-centred approach to explore possible solutions for the future of ethical fashion, smart taxation and more human-scale cities. I am particularly interested in how designers might influence and help reshape our foundational economic and political narratives and systems through their work.

    In 2017 I co-founded SustainLab RCA as a student-led platform to encourage critical questions about sustainability and design ethics across the college and beyond. My hope is that it has initiated an important conversation within the world's leading post-graduate art & design institution, which I will continue to thread into my professional career.

    I'm a UK native but love languages! I speak fluent French and Spanish, and basic Italian.

  • Degrees

  • BA Three Dimensional Design, University of Brighton, 2007 (First Class Hons); Mini-MBA, Birkbeck University, London, 2010
  • Experience

  • Spanish Translator, Raleigh International, Nicaragua, 2004; Design Assistant, Tin Tab, Newhaven, 2007-2008; Reservations Executive, New Gen Ski School, France, 2009-2010; Assistant Venue Manager, Union Chapel, London, 2010-2013; Studio Manager, Harvey & John, Brighton, 2015-2016; Event Manager, Rapha, London, 2017
  • Exhibitions

  • Tent London, Old Truman Brewery, London, 2007; It’s Nice That Original Format Exhibition, 2008, Plymouth + London; Lightworks, Marsden Woo Gallery, London, 2010
  • Publications

  • FRAME, issue 60, 2008; Richard Morris, The Fundamentals of Product Design, AVA Academia, 2009, Chapter 3: Design Solutions, p.88