Strava Metro is a new service that utilizes big data using global positioning satellite (GPS) technology to track cyclist activity around cities. The service is aimed to help municipalities and bike enthusiasts’ organizations gain a greater understanding how bicyclists use city streets, and in turn improve the situation to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.
The data is gathered from voluntary Strava app users either via a smart phone or a GPS device. That data is then shared with various transportation departments worldwide to show where cyclists are traveling, and more importantly, how they are travelling. The data is comprehensive, comprising of the day, time, season, and general geography. The idea is that the DOTs can then use the big data as they plan out new bike paths, bike lanes, and overall infrastructural overhaul of the city. Cycle enthusiast clubs can also utilize the data to plan out rides, promote bicycle safety, and urge government action.
The basic data in the form of a heat map is available to clubs and the general public for free. A deeper dive and greater information is also available for a price that is determined by the number of Strava members in the requested geographic area region.
The use of big data by government organizations to track or to listen in on their population is a hot button issue right now, as the veil of privacy is lifted through recent scandals. However, applications such as Strava Metro show how this data can be used to improve the lives of the general public. More infrastructure, less spying. Sounds like something you’d see on a protest placard.
Source: Strava Metro