Code the Streets

With cities continuously growing, so does the number of people that move around. This gives rise to the challenge of finding ways to manage urban mobility. What does urban mobility look like in the future? As part of the Code the Streets project, we focus on responsible and speculative design and its potential to shape the cityscape of the future.

Code the Streets is an overarching EIT Urban Mobility project. It includes various ‘sub projects’ and pilots taking place across Europe seeking to redefine urban mobility. Each initiative brings its unique perspective to the table, envisioning a smarter, more responsive urban environment.

Mobility tools to improve the liveability of urban space

The tools developed through explorative research in Code the Streets, help cities to, among others, directly communicate with citizens via mobility providers. For example, by adding information to navigation apps or systems, about school zones, congestion and pollution, cities can suggest specific route options to the navigation users. 

This way, the navigation tools can help stimulate residents–from car users to cyclists–to choose alternative routes that are aligned with the city’s values such as safety, accessibility, livability and sustainability. Ultimately improving the livability of urban space.

Responsible Sensing Lab - Code the Streets

A journey towards responsible design

Our specific project's interpretation of Code the Streets focuses on experimental responsible design and its potential to shape the cityscape of the future. At Responsible Sensing Lab, we envision Code the Streets as a sophisticated system capable of dynamically adapting traffic rules to enhance our cities in multiple facets. The primary objective is to align with collective values (for example privacy, contestability and autonomy), including climate resilience, liveability, accessibility, economic growth, safety, and more.

At Responsible Sensing Lab, we cast our gaze ahead, exploring what Code the Streets–and mobility in our cities–looks like 20, 30 years down the road.”

— Fabian Geiser, Project manager, Responsible Sensing Lab

A critical look at urban mobility

Our team takes a critical stance, examining the potential implications of a futuristic version of Code the Streets. We delve deep into the responsible design of such a system, with a particular focus on exploring different speculative design features and how they influence the experience of car drivers as they interact with autonomous technologies.

A collaboration with the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies consortium

Our journey towards a responsible Code the Streets design is a collaborative one. We've teamed up with the CTO innovation team of the City of Amsterdam, as well as philosophers from the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies (ESDiT) consortium. 

This consortium draws expertise from various universities (see below), united in their pursuit of developing theories and methods critical to understanding, evaluating, and intervening in socially disruptive technologies.

  • TU Delft
  • Universiteit Twente
  • Universiteit Utrecht
  • UMC Utrecht
  • Universiteit Leiden
  • Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Wageningen University & Research

Project goals

Within this project, we have set clear objectives:

1. Recommendations for responsible design

We aim to provide actionable recommendations for the responsible design of Code the Streets, tailored to the unique needs and values of the city of Amsterdam.

2. Understanding autonomy and values

We seek to gain insights into how people experience autonomy and other societal values when interacting with (fictional) smart systems like Code the Streets.

3. Scientific contributions

We are committed to producing at least one scientific publication that captures our findings and insights.

4. Advancing ESDiT goals

Our work aligns with the broader objectives of the ESDiT consortium by contributing to the development of new theories and methods essential for navigating the complexities of socially disruptive technologies.

Innofestival 2023 Gemeente Amsterdam X Ams Institute Photo By Israel Torres

Hands-on approach for speculative design

The way we work in this project is hands-on in nature, involving the creation of prototypes and conducting experiments. Participants are actively engaged in comparing different versions of Code the Streets, offering valuable feedback that informs our responsible design principles.

At the moment, we are working towards a final experiment. Stay tuned as we're actively shaping a vision of urban mobility that prioritizes responsible design and the well-being of our communities.


Fabian Geiser

Project Manager