CyclePhilly App to Track Bike Routes and Help With Transportation Planning in Greater Philadelphia
Cycling enthusiasts and advocates of more inclusive transportation planning will get a boost from an exciting new app developed by the group Code for Philly.
Code for Philly is a non-partisan volunteer team of technology experts, municipal programmers, and social entrepreneurs whose mission is to help modernize Greater Philadelphia through the use of web-based technology and civic apps.
CyclePhilly is one such app created for smartphones that collects voluntary data on the bike route preferences of area cyclists. Cyclists can download the app, hit “start” as they begin their ride and “finish” at its conclusion. The final step is to indicate the purpose of the ride. The app is available for both Android and iPhone users at cyclephilly.org.
The data generated by users of the CyclePhilly app can help government transportation and planning agencies to gain a precise and comprehensive understanding of where, when, and how cyclists move throughout certain localities.
A similar app-based project undertaken in Austin, Texas in 2011, yielded a large amount of data about how cyclists navigated within the city. As more and more people embrace cycling as a regular mode of transportation, this sort of data helps communities as they plan for new infrastructure and improve upon existing infrastructure.
So far, the launch of the CyclePhilly app has been a success. More than 5,000 trips have been documented and over 150 cyclists have used the app. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is preparing to analyze the app’s data and use it to develop new projects.
Critical to this planning is the collection of data about suburban cycling patterns. There is less data available about how cyclists move through areas outside of Philadelphia. This makes transportation and community planning a much greater challenge within these suburban areas.
CyclePhilly is a valuable resource to help fill the data gap for Philly suburbs, and local planning agencies are hopeful that cyclists will embrace the app to provide this crucial suburban data.