Cyclists' GPS data used to improve cycle infrastructure

Fort Collins university and city authority scheme via iPhone

by Sarah Barth   November 4, 2012  

iPhone 4S - Brett Jordan

Cyclists in Fort Collins, USA, are being asked to take part in shaping the area's cycling infrastructure by tracking their riding habits with a GPS app.

Using the CycleTracks app, downloaded from iTunes, local riders use their iPhones to track their activity, then send the data to the city authority to help them determine what areas need more bike lanes, trails or signs to help with traffic flow.

The anonymous data began to be gathered this summer and will continue through next summer, according to the Coloradoan.

To date, the project has recorded around 1,000 Fort Collins rides, from around 200 to 300 local riders. According to Colorado State University Assistant Professor Ray Browning, director of Physical Activity Energetics with the Mechanics Lab, it would be ideal to have 1000 riders regularly using the app.

5 user comments

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There was a student doing a study of cycle travel patterns around Newcastle, not sure what happened with it as i only participated in the first part but we had little gps transponders, an app or using available data like strava would make good sense to get a lager dataset.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [418 posts]
4th November 2012 - 18:49

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It isn't the people tht already cycle a lot that you need to track. What you really need is to track people making short car journeys- and try to build a network that would cater to them

posted by Al__S [591 posts]
5th November 2012 - 9:43

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^^^^^^ spot on ^^^^^^

posted by mrchrispy [306 posts]
5th November 2012 - 13:30

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Al__S wrote:
It isn't the people tht already cycle a lot that you need to track. What you really need is to track people making short car journeys- and try to build a network that would cater to them

That's different data altogether - it depends what you're trying to achieve. Improving conditions for those already cycling is likely to encourage existing non-cyclists, on existing routes.
Tracking those making short car journeys may give you additional routes that aren't currently cycled because they may be utterly unpleasant on a bike. I wouldn't underestimate people's capacity for laziness.

posted by JonD [190 posts]
5th November 2012 - 15:39

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JonD wrote:

Tracking those making short car journeys may give you additional routes that aren't currently cycled because they may be utterly unpleasant on a bike. I wouldn't underestimate people's capacity for laziness.

i think that's kind of the point: there may be a latent demand for infrastructure on routes where there's currently no cycling at all. if *everyone* drives a mile to the tesco because that's the only realistic option, you won't see any demand for a cycle route there from cyclist GPS data.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7437 posts]
5th November 2012 - 15:58

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