A New App Tracks Where Cyclists Actually Ride, To Help Plan Better Paths | FastCompany
London plans to spend more than a billion dollars on better bike infrastructure over the next decade, and across the rest of the U.K., the government will spend hundreds of millions more. The only problem: There's very little data about where cyclists ride, making it difficult to plan exactly where new bike lanes are most needed. A new iPhone app aims to help by tracking routes as people ride and and turning that data into maps.
When volunteer cyclists install the app, called WeCycle, it automatically begins mapping. It runs continuously at low power, and senses when someone starts to ride, rather than forcing someone to start and stop the app each time.
"A cyclist can see the routes it's recording on a map in the app, and all of that data then is automatically synched on our service to generate this aggregate picture of how cyclists are moving around," explains Peter Lindgren, COO of TravelAI, the company that developed the app. "It shows how cycling fits into the bigger transportation picture as well."
For cities, it's not only a way to plan new routes, but to better understand how to take care of existing bike paths. "When local authorities are trying to improve cycling infrastructure with the resources they have available, it's very hard for them to know where to spend that money," says Lindgren. "Even just knowing where to focus their resources on filling potholes on cycle lanes. They just don't know which are the busiest cycle lanes. We felt like there was a real need for cyclists to be better represented in the data."
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