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Data from cycling apps helps in planning bike lanes

A Strava map shows an individual's bike riding patterns in Santa Cruz, California. Municipalities are using the app's data to plan bike routes and infrastructure. (Richard Masoner/ Cyclelicious/ flickr/ cc)

What if the collective experiences of bicyclists could be tapped to steer decision-making on urban transportation projects? It’s possible now with new smartphone apps. Alex Davies reports in Wired that Strava, a popular cycling app, sells its data to London, Glasgow, Orlando and other cities.

The information reveals an assortment of transportation nuggets, such as where riders go, how long they linger at crosswalks and when they stray into traffic. The intelligence helps pinpoint where bike lanes should be added and traffic-calming is needed—steps that make streets safer. At $20,000 a year, it’s considered a bargain for municipalities that would face higher costs to collect that data themselves, the article says.

Christopher Le Dantec reports for The Atlantic on a similar app developed at Georgia Tech. Cycle Atlanta records a range of details about riders, from the bikes they use to the routes they take. The local cycling community harnesses these stats to push for new infrastructure.


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