Cycling

STRAVA METRO NOW FREE FOR URBAN PLANNERS IN THE “HUMAN-POWERED ERA”

City planners and advocates in New York City used Strava Metro to assess the success of the city’s Covid-19 Open Streets initiative

Strava Metro, the largest active travel dataset in the world, is now free of charge to urban planners, city governments and advocates working to improve human-powered transportation.

Millions of people upload their bike rides, runs and walks to Strava every week, and Strava Metro aggregates and de-identifies this data before making it available to help transport departments and city planning groups understand changing commute patterns, improve safety and evaluate bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects.

Big data, the company says, can empower communities to make active transportation accessible, efficient and safe for everyone

The service has been costly until now, when the company decided the pandemic offered an opportunity for active travel that Strava Metro should seize.

“Strava Metro, our team that partners with urban planners, cities, and advocacy groups to make better infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, is stepping up. We’ve made Metro completely free and simpler to use to be sure these new trends in sustainable, healthy transportation become a permanent reality,” says the company.

“We always believed there were special ways in which the Strava community could contribute to the world at-large,” says Mark Gainey, co-founder of Strava. “Strava Metro was one such way. And given the growing need for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, we felt Strava Metro was too valuable and important not to make available to any organization attempting to make a difference in designing the cities of the future,” he says.

With 62 per cent of American employees working from home during the pandemic and a related public concern towards taking public transportation, daily travel methods and destinations have shifted on a mass scale. Millions of people upload their bike rides, runs and walks to Strava every week via their smartphone or GPS device, and Strava Metro aggregates and de-identifies this data before making it available to help departments of transportation and city planning groups understand changing commute patterns, improve safety and evaluate infrastructure projects.

With 68 million users uploading walks, runs and bike rides, Strava can offer detailed anonymised data to planners

For example, Strava Metro analysed New York City’s changing mobility patterns from July 2019 and July 2020 and found a monumental rise in active transportation. There were 81 per cent more people who completed at least one bike trip, and 80 per cent more bike trips total. Earlier this year, New York City announced the opening of 100 miles of streets to cyclists and pedestrians as part of its Open Streets initiative, to allow for greater social distancing during the Covid-19 crisis. Strava Metro looked at the related sections of Crescent Street and 34th Avenue and found the initiative to be successful: seeing a 38 per cent and 181 per cent increase in bike trips respectively within this same timeframe.

“Advocates are always looking to data to help determine which streets have the greatest need for safe cycling infrastructure,” said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris. “Strava Metro is another important tool in helping to understand patterns of cycling and how to provide critical and safe bike infrastructure to more New Yorkers.”

Since Strava Metro’s inception in 2014, partners have paid an annual fee for access to the aggregated, de-identified datasets. Last year, Strava released Metroview, an updated, intuitive map-based web interface providing partners with easier access to insights. Now, by making Strava Metro free to organisations that share its mission to make cities better for cyclists and pedestrians, Strava hopes to power smarter and more sustainable design of the world’s cities and to give back to the communities that support millions of athletes around the world.

Interested parties can check their eligibility at metro.strava.com.

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