CALGARY -- Researchers from the Wearable Technology Research and Collaboration (We-TRAC) training program at the University of Calgary are calling on local cyclists to aid them in a study that aims to make Calgary's roads safer for everyone.

The study will monitor cyclists' heart rate and stress levels while they bike to work.  To become a 'citizen scientist', cyclists must use either a Garmin or Fitbit device, and sign up to allow researchers to collect data from the devices. 

The study plans to add other devices in the future.

Researchers hope that information gathered will help them understand the layout and connectivity of Calgary's streets — information that will help urban planners and developers.

Jenna Dutton,  a research coordinator of urban policy at the university, is passionate about bike safety after she was hit by a car while cycling in a bike lane in 2018.

"Instead of planning areas to accommodate vehicles and haphazardly retrofitting cycling infrastructure, there needs to be equal consideration for cycling as a mode of transportation within a broader interconnected network," said Dutton.

The integration of wearable technology into academic research has allowed researchers and citizens to collaborate in innovative ways.

"Wearable technology has become part of our daily lives with nearly all of us wearing technology on our wrists, and using a smartphone or other devices to track our activities," said Dr. Reed Ferber, primary investigator for the We-TRAC program.

Future studies within the program are set to include data collection on green spaces in the city to help promote physical activity.

To participate in the study visit We-TRAC