About WeCount

WeCount aims to empower citizens to take a leading role in the production of data, evidence and knowledge around mobility in their own neighborhoods, and at street level. The project will follow participatory citizen science methods to co-create and use innovative low cost, automated, road traffic counting sensors (i.e. Telraam) and multi-stakeholder engagement mechanisms in 5 pilots in Madrid, Ljubljana, Dublin, Cardiff and Leuven.

Following this approach, we will be able to quantify local road transport (cars, large vehicles, active travel modes and speed), produce scientific knowledge in the field of mobility and environmental pollution, and co-design informed solutions to tackle a variety of road transport challenges. Moreover, the project will provide cost-effective data for local authorities, at a far greater temporal and spatial scale than what would be possible in classic traffic counting campaigns, thereby opening up new opportunities for transportation policy making and research.

In WeCount, we empower citizens to develop evidence-led interventions into the political discourse on civic and environmental issues. By putting citizens at the heart of the innovation process, the project seeks to overcome existing technological and societal silos so that citizens can champion a new perspective on road transport that take into account their own concerns in pursuit of better quality of life and more equitable, healthy futures.

Ambition

WeCount aims to change the way transport scientists and policy researchers collect traffic counting andtraffic impact data with the integration of citizens into transport monitoring and translate these into practicalpolicy messages.

WeCount aims to go beyond the state-of-the-art on the following aspects of citizen science:

  • Achieve a true breakthrough by making citizen-collected traffic data and subsequent impact data, ofdifferent types (speed, traffic volume, modal split, air quality), relevant and “unignorable” for local policymakers. There are currently a variety of citizen activities related to local traffic concerns; however, thesefail to make a true impact as the data collection effort lacks the structure, accuracy and/or scope to makeresults relevant for scientists and researchers. By using a platform and approach that is built by trafficengineers, WeCount aims to change that by offering tools (“recipes and ingredients”) that allow citizen tocollect traffic data in a systematic way so they are actually usable at low cost for the transport scientistand policy research community.

  • WeCount aims to drastically reduce the cost of collecting traffic counting data (factor 3 to 5), byinvolving citizens in the data collection process, leading to traffic counting data for road segments wherecurrently this data is typically unavailable.

  • WeCount aims to provide evidence at unprecedented level of spatial detail of the link between traffic andair pollution.

  • Building on citizen science guidelines and knowledge, WeCount’s ambition is to build a durable andscalable citizen science “ecosystem” that will lead organically to new activities beyond the 5 use cases inthe project, using the approach, technology and platform of WeCount. We aim for a WeCount processthat is generalized to such an extent that setting up new local citizen science communities beyond the 5initial use cases is easy and possible without additional support of the initiators of WeCount (i.e. theproject team).

  • As it should be in 2019, we are making a major effort to involve disadvantaged groups in the variouspilots. Cultural, linguistic and knowledge differences should not be a barrier to start actions to improvethe quality of life and air quality.

  • WeCount wants to create talented citizen scientists, nurture local champions and empower citizenactivism.

The principal innovations in WeCount will be of social and policy, as well as scientific and a technicalnature. These include:

  • New policy lessons. The application of an alternative transport observation framework which embedscitizens into the decision-making process through the integration of advanced engagement, quantificationand policy information and processes.

  • New technical tools. The advancement of existing tools and models, and development of a citizendesigned toolkit to explore complex city transport system dynamics while adding information on howcitizen behaviour impacts other intractable environmental and social challenges. The ambition here is,through co-design, to give the citizens access to technology which is currently out of reach for mostpeople.

  • New social engagement methods. The creation of advanced engagement pathways for citizens and theirapplication, tested in practice, to contribute to positive and collective societal visions of health transportfutures and advance the knowledge on citizen science methods.

  • New academic insights. The application of traffic data of fine spatial granularity collected throughWeCount into the realm of transport monitoring, improving impact assessment of transport policy.

  • New co-produced scientific knowledge: A new set of data on traffic counting co-produced by citizens,as well as contextualized citizens’ insights, concerns and policies recommendations related to mobility.These can contribute to advance the research on different fields.