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GCN : August and September 2016
termine the most promising locations. City officials understood the impor- tance of adding bike traffic to the mix. “If you don’t know the number of bikes, then you can’t justify the bud- get for what you need to put in bike lanes,” Sanchot said. The company partnered with Cisco on a project in Paris to rethink the space for bikes, cars and pedestrians in an underused plaza. To keep Parisians involved, two touchscreens in the pla- za share the data in real time. But Sanchot said Placemeter’s cli- ents are not exclusively big cities, and the company makes a point of being affordable for small locales. “We work in Brooklyn in a city improvement dis- trict, and they are pretty much a non- profit,” she said. “We can find solutions for those even with a small budget.” Strava Metro is also helping cit- ies rethink the way they plan bicycle routes — by tapping crowdsourced data. The company has a network of app users who log their commuter and/or recreational routes, allowing city officials to see when and where cyclists are moving. Brian Devaney, the company’s mar- keting lead, said the collected data includes “popular or avoided routes, peak commute times, intersection wait times and origin/destination zones.” The company processes the data so that it is compatible with geographic information systems. To address privacy concerns in the more than 75 cities with which the company works, Strava Metro does not attach individuals’ identities to its data. The personal information never makes it to the cities that contract with the company. Users can also opt out of providing personal data or blur their starting points and endpoints. So why all the fuss over bike routes? Cities are realizing that improved ac- cess for cyclists results in less traffic congestion, said Ken McLeod, state and local policy manager at the League of American Bicyclists. “If you give bikes safe places to go, you can control where bicyclists are and where bike/motorists conflicts are,” he said. “And people can get around the community with the fewest possible conflicts.” Furthermore, local economies bene- fit when people bike rather than drive by a store, McLeod said. “It costs less to bike, and so people have more dispos- able income to spend in the commu- nity,” he said. “Stores near bike routes have increased customer traffic.” Although technology has dramati- cally improved the planning process, McLeod said, it cannot yet identify those who want to bike but don’t — whom he calls “interested but con- cerned groups.” That demographic includes people who would bike to work if they could avoid a certain stressful intersection or families with children who aren’t sure where to go or how to get started, he added. • GCN AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016 • GCN.COM 39 LABS.STRAVA.COM Strava Metro gathers information on bicyclists’ activity via a network of app users who log commuter and recreational routes. 0916gcn_038-039.indd 39 8/31/16 9:03 AM
June and July 2016
October and November 2016