Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Maggie BachenbergTime and time again, over the course of about 70 days and 3800 miles, locals redirected her away from her planned route and onto safer byways. The experience made her wonder whether other bicyclists encountered similar challenges when planning their own journeys. As it turns out, this is a common obstacle for folks traveling by bicycle, as well as on other small-wheeled vehicles like scooters and skateboards. 

Thus, her venture Pointz was born. 

“Pointz is a mapping app,” says Bachenberg. “Local riders rate the safety of streets and we use that information to determine the best routes for people. It’s like Waze or Google Maps, but specifically for bikes and other micro-mobility vehicles.”

As Bachenberg explains, many areas of the country lack the infrastructure to adequately protect and prepare people traveling, or considering travel, on small-wheeled vehicles. 

“This makes many people nervous—and sometimes opposed—to using alternative non-car transportation,” she says.

Bachenberg’s solo venture, part of Brown’s B-Lab 2020 cohort, aims to improve safety for veteran riders and serve as inspiration to new riders.

“It’s important that people feel safe on bikes and emerging forms of small-wheeled transportation,” she says. “Increasing navigation accessibility of bikes, scooters, skateboards, et cetera, can help people reduce their carbon footprint, improve their health, and find new ways to enjoy the outdoors.”