Crowdsourced Bicycling

Bicyclists and bike planners are pioneers in using crowdsourcing to help improve biking in their communities. For example, they were among the first to use GPS tracking apps to embrace the use of GPS tracking to help obtain data on where and when people travel by bike. This tracking data can be used to better understand actual behaviour of bicyclists (which routes they choose) and can highlight where improvements are needed. This page presents examples of how crowdsourcing is being used in bicycling.

Crowdsourced Bicycling: Reporting and Data

Many applications allow people to report problems with bicycle facilities and to provide data on where people ride. Here are several examples:

Ride Report

Ride Report is an application that tracks bike trips and then allows users to describe the quality of their trips. The data is provided to cities anonymously for use in helping plan bike facilities and transport planning. The map at the bottom on the right shows “stress levels” for streets in downtown Portland. More from Streetsblog California: Crowdsource Bicycling App ‘Ride Report’ Goes National Today (2016).

CycleTracks

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority developed the CycleTracks application in 2010 to better understand the needs of bicyclists. The application monitors cyclist paths to collect data about actual route choice. CycleTracks has also been used in several other cities to collect similar information. (The link includes information on how to use the application.)

Pedals and Bells

The Blubel bike bell provides navigation information via LEDs on the top of the bell and learns from the cycling community to find the safest routes by gathering data from every time the Blubel is rung, These location points and other journey data are gathered and analysed to calculate safest routes.

The Connected Cycle pedal is a connected pedal that automatically records the speed, route, incline, and calories burnt of every bike trip. These statistics are sent to the cloud, and made available to users through the Connected Cycle application available on smartphones.

More Examples of Bicycle Reporting and Data

  • There are many commercial fitness apps to keep track of where you walk, run, hike or bike. Some fitness app developers are selling tracking data to public agencies for use in helping plan better biking and walking facilities. Fitness apps include:

  • Cycle-Philly screenshot

    CyclePhilly is a smartphone app for recording your bicycle trips. Data from the app can be used by regional transportation planners in the Philadelphia area to make Philly a better place to ride. Cycle Philly was developed by Code for Philly, an open group of citizens working to harness the power of technology to modernize citizenship in Philadelphia.

  • we-cycleThe WeCycle application by TravelAI is an application that tracks you as you bicycle and collects all the information so that it can be used by planners to help improve bicycle facilities. Here’s an article from Fastcoexist on WeCycle: A new app tracks where cyclists actually ride to help plan better paths.

  • meine-radspurMeine Radspur (German) is an application developed in Vienna uses GPS to record bike trips, users can identify hazards and ideas either in real time or in reviewing their trip later (German). MeineRadspur means “my bicycle path” in English.

  • radwende.de is an app that combines bicycle GPS tracking with art. Read more at radwende or at their website radwende.de

Crowdsourced Bicycling: Collaboration

Collaboration consists of working together to develop a plan or take action. We describe three types of crowdsourced collaboration: engagement, education and process. Here are examples of applications used for crowdsourced collaboration in bicycling.

Ringstrasse 150 is one of our projects. It’s a collaboration application designed to generate ideas and increase support for better bike facilities on Vienna’s Ringstrasse. It consists of the RingRide mobile phone game designed to engage and educate people, and the Ringstrasse150.com website for getting involved in improving the Ringstrasse’s bicycle and pedestrian facilities. More about Ringstrasse150 from Our Projects.

MetroQuest is public participation software that provides a wide variety of components including engagement, education and process elements that can be mixed and matched for specific projects. In this case MetroQuest was used to help develop Ottawa’s pedestrian and bicycle plans. The application was provided online in both French and English to gather people’s comments on pedestrian & cycling behavior, origins, destinations and routing, levels of comfort, and recommended improvements.

Crowdsourced Bicycling: ACT!

Acting means actually doing something besides developing plans. We describe five types of crowdsourced action: DYI Urbanism, Crowdfunding, Peer-to-peer Transport Service, Advice, and Advocacy. Here are examples of applications used for crowdsourced action in bicycling.

DYI Bike Safety

Groups acting to improve traffic safety for bicyclists and pedestrians:

San Francisco Transformation (SFMTrA Twitter feed), (citylab article 21-sept-16),

Portland’s PDX Transformation (article: Demanding More from the City).

New York New York’s Transformation Department and their DYI bike lanes.

Crowdfunded DYI Improvements

Jonathan is an architect and bike rider working to increase safety of pedestrians and cyclists. He has a crowdfunding project called Flowers & Such: Boston Bike Lanes on GoFundMe. So far he’s raised about $7,000 for flowers and cones to create interventions on the Mass Ave corridor, the most dangerous stretch of road in Boston.

Bicycle Crowdfunding

Denver Bike Lane Project: Denver’s 15th Street Bikeway was partly funded via a crowdfunding campaign.

Denver Bike Lane Crowdsourcing Project – Next City
Six tips from the Denver bike lane crowdsourcing campaign – Streetsblog

References: Crowdsourced Bicycling

Blog Posts: Crowdsourced Bicycling

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