Image: CycleTracks iPhone App from Apple App Store
Crowdsourcing Bike Path Planning
People don't always go where you think they will. You can try to predict the best places for foot paths and bike routes, but you'll never be able to know for sure if they are located optimally... Unless there's a way to know where people are naturally going (the path of least resistance). That's exactly what the new free iPhone app by the San Francisco Transportation Authority is trying to do. It's called CycleTracks and you can get it free (just follow the link on the app's name).
According to the app page: "CycleTracks uses your iPhone's GPS support to record your bicycle trips, display maps of your rides, and help transportation planners make San Francisco a better place to bike. At the end of each trip, data representing your trip purpose, route, and the date and time are sent to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (all data will be kept confidential). By using CycleTracks, you'll be helping San Francisco's transportation planners better understand the needs of cyclists--and you'll get to see maps and statistics of your rides."
Of course there's no guarantee that because a certain route is popular with cyclist that it will get special attention and infrastructure, but it certainly is a best way to send a message than just hoping that TA employees will survey the whole city and notice where cyclists are going (it's easy to count how many cyclists pass a certain point, but it's harder to know the starting point and end goal of each individual rider).
In any case, it's a very cool use of the iPhone's technology. Kudos to the SF TA!
Via SF Weekly Blog
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