STUDENTS and lecturers at the University of Bradford are being challenged to develop a new Pokemon Go-style ‘augmented reality’ app for a local cycle path.

The app will aim to harness the addictive quality of computer games to encourage people to use the new CityConnect Cycle Superhighway from Bradford to Leeds.

It could see the route turned into a real-life video game, with cyclists mounting a phone on their handlebars to find and collect power-ups, record their cycling journeys or earn rewards.

A prototype app will be unveiled at a major cycling conference being held in Bradford in May.

The university’s Digital Media Working Academy has teamed up with the Bradford Capital of Cycling coalition on the project.

It is the brainchild of David Robison, a former mobile technology lecturer who is now working at the new Capital of Cycling hub in Hall Ings.

Mr Robison said the idea had been sparked by the Pokemon Go craze, which he said had got “pasty teenagers outside and wandering about”.

He said: “We started thinking how we might take some of our mobile technology expertise and apply it to cycling.

“Why not combine that game idea with something useful, getting from A to B in a sustainable, healthy way?”

He said the app could, for example, reward teenagers who cycled to school five times in a week with a level-up, or a voucher discount from a nearby shop.

He said: “The first thing people mention is safety. They say, is it safe?

“So we thought, why don’t we turn that on its head? Why don’t we take safety and make it part of the game, that they have to be a safe rider?

“So if they get to a junction, they could get points for slowing down.”

He said the three main target audiences would be young professionals, teenagers who could use the route to get to school, and mothers from the predominantly Asian communities living near the cycle path - “a group that would be seen as hard-to-reach” for a cycling app.

Once the prototype has been unveiled at the Cycle City Active City conference, the team will be seeking funding to create a full app.

Simon Couth, head of the Digital Media Working Academy, said: “By developing the proof of concept for the augmented reality cycling app, we will have the perfect opportunity to engage with groups who traditionally don’t tend to cycle.

“With the help from the CityConnect cycling engagement team, we will work with groups such as young professionals or older members of the Asian community to find out how an augmented reality cycling app could encourage them to cycle more, especially on the Cycle Superhighway.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council, said: “We are excited to establish this relationship with the University of Bradford Digital Media Working Academy, not only to provide students with an interesting project and valuable work experience but also to be bringing something as innovative as augmented reality to cycling.

“Technology is an important and ever-increasing feature in all elements of people’s lives and we are keen to harness cutting-edge developments for cyclists.”

Would a game app encourage you to get on your bike? Have your say below.