Living labs are used to test new solutions and designs for cycle infrastructure. A living lab is an area or location where social research takes place on a specific topic. Living labs can be rooms, buildings, squares, cycle paths or neighbourhoods. It is also possible that the living lab is a virtual world. In the CHIPS-project both the physical and virtual living labs are used for research. All pilot cycle highways in the project (Gelderland, Frankfurt, Leuven, Belfast, Tilburg) can be seen as a living lab. A living lab is the very good solution to test in the real environment and to involve citizens and users in the research.
Examples of the living lab tests in the CHIPS-project are:
- Install new designs and strategies for signage on cycle highways
- Test different types of asphalts for cycle highways
- Implement several options for markings and lines for cycle highways
- Conduct research on motivation and behaviour of cyclist on cycle highways
- Introduce campaigns to stimulate cycling
In a virtual living lab the area or location of the research is made in virtual reality. That means that the living lab is not a physic place to visit but a lab-environment in a simulated world. Participants cycle on a cycle simulator (a bike that is attached on a trailer) while moving in the virtual world which they experience via an virtual reality goggle. In this setting research can be done in a very controlled way and all kind of uncontrolled aspects such as weather and other traffic can be eliminated. Here you will read more about the VR-application and possibilities for research using VR technology.