Sustainable LA Grand Challenge partners on UCLA proposal using art and technology to increase bike commuting in Los Angeles

March 31, 2021

For many Los Angeles residents, the daily commute is frustrating. A project by three UCLA faculty members aims to change that — especially for those who ride to work on two wheels — by creating bicycle “flows” that produce real-time digital art exhibitions throughout the city.

One of the project’s goals is to make cycling to work feel as accessible and safe as other modes of travel, so the professors envision groups, or flows, of cyclists that would be organized by a smartphone app. The app would encourage reluctant or inexperienced cyclists to participate by pointing them toward those flows, suggest routes that are optimized for enjoyability and safety over efficiency or speed, and enable participants to share their experiences.

Image Source: Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

Those experiences, in the form of text, photos, videos and other creative submissions, would feed directly into digital murals throughout Los Angeles. The murals would be located in community spaces and transportation hubs around the city — including, for example, a large interactive display at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, adjacent to Chinatown — elevating biking to work to a collective creative experience. 

The project already is gaining some traction: In February, the initiative received $50,000 in funding from the Civic Innovation Challenge, which is funded by the National Science Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. CiBiC is now in contention for an additional grant of up to $1 million, which the researchers would use to create a prototype of the project. The Sustainable LA Grand Challenge has been partnering on the project.

Read more in UCLA Newsroom.

Project team:

Fabian Wagmister, founding director, UCLA REMAP, professor, School of Theater, Film and Television

Jeff Burke, co-director, UCLA REMAP, professor-in-residence of theater

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, distinguished professor of urban planning, Luskin School of Public Affairs