After less than two months, a unique smartphone application is giving urban planners in the Charlottesville area a peek into where everyone is pedaling.
The Thomas Jefferson Planning Commission (TJPDC) is hard at work analyzing new data that shows where and how people bike in and around the city.
This project launched for the first time in April, and featured specially developed technology called the C-Ville Bike mApp to track the GPS locations of bikers over time. The ultimate goal is to use the data collected from riders to combat the obstacles to cycling in Charlottesville and Albemarle.
"It's a very innovative approach to collecting bicycle data," said Susan Elliott, a mApp user and member of Bike Charlottesville.
The raw data doesn't look like too much - just a series of red, blue, and purple lines and squiggles. But if you dig a little deeper, you see that those squiggles are the paths of about 150 bikers collected over the course of about five weeks.
"This is, as far as we know, the only bike mapping application that gives the data back to the community for the community to implement and use," Elliott said.
TJPDC has big plans for this new data. They'll use it to figure out which projects will better serve area bikers, and keep them safe.
"The overall process for this is to inform our long-range transportation plan," transportation planner Sarah Rhodes said. "We want to create a very structured, very pointed bike project list."
Rhodes says most bikers favor existing biking facilities, highlighting the potential need for more.
"We're seeing those sorts of patterns," she said. "5th street, West Main, Preston. Where there are bike facilities, people are biking there."
It's no surprise that areas with more cars see fewer cyclists, but that doesn't stop them all. One brave biker even hit Route 250 during the busy lunch hour for a trip to the supermarket.
"They did it at lunch time. Yeah, they went from Martha Jefferson to Whole Foods," Rhodes said. "I guess they really wanted a Whole Foods sandwich."
Planners are still very excited about the future of this technology, and say this is just the beginning.
"It's been so successful, and the technology has been so exciting that we would have to reuse it," Rhodes said. "It just makes sense."
TJPDC hopes to have the information analyzed and published for further use and review by the end of July.
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Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science.Full Story
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story
Tuesday, December 10 2013 8:13 PM EST2013-12-11 01:13:23 GMT
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