Samuel Clay


Comfort Maps: Illustrating the Lived Experience of the Bike Lane

Advised by Carole Turley Voulgaris (GSD) and Jim Waldo (SEAS)

A revolution in mobility began three years ago. And in no city is bike infrastructure up to the task. Millions of people are using e-scooters, e-bikes, and e-mopeds to commute, but the streets we use are unsafe and undesirable. The problem is that while cities might choose to build bike lanes, most built bike lanes are inadequate to support the growth of greener modes of transport.

Comfort Maps is a tool for advocates to use real-time street safety datain discussions with policymakers. Combining a physical hardware device that mounts on the handlebars of a bicycle or e-scooter with a data visualization platform, Comfort Maps creates a safe and easy method for rating the comfort levels of streets. These ratings and snapshots provide a photographic lived experience that could not easily be captured and shared before.

The Comfort Maps data visualization platform provides insights into problem hotspots with real evidence. It also provides open data for circuity metrics and transit services to use for improved routing directions. Lastly, the platform aggregates patterns into visible trends, offering support to advocates in the form of sharable visualizations that illustrate the lived experience of the bike lane.

Samuel Clay, MDE. Three iphones, each showing a still image of vehicles in street traffic, with a map below each image showing points of traffic congestion.
Samuel Clay, MDE. “Map of bicycle comfort levels in Cambridge”
Samuel Clay, MDE. “Hardware used to build custom camera for making the map”
Samuel Clay, MDE. “Comfort maps camera used to snapshot lived experience of the bike lane”
Samuel Clay, MDE. “Data visualization platform to view where the bike lane falls short”
Samuel Clay, MDE. “Features of the data visualization platform"