How Transportation Partners are Using Fitness Tracking Data to Improve Active Transportation

Creating change in your community begins with knowing what works and what can be improved. Strava, a social fitness tracking app, is helping transportation agencies across the country comb through the data created by their local communities to provide insights on the behaviors and patterns of active transportation users. By studying how people interact with active transportation, community planners are also able to create transportation plans that serve people better. Check out some of the ways Strava is helping transportation agencies across the nation plan and prioritize active transportation.


Building a Safer Route

Most notable, Strava showcases the need for more reliable infrastructure. Research has shown that women are less likely to travel by bike due to safety concerns. While traditional data measurements rarely include gender as a point of reference, those that do include it lack the ability to predict route choice and lack understanding of the travel patterns of female riders. Strava allows transportation agencies to measure usage patterns based on gender while also helping track progress and route usage based on infrastructure improvements. Similarly, Strava helps correlate mapping patterns with crash data to allow planners to create infrastructure that protects more riders. The Seattle Department of Transportation uses Strava’s data to identify the gaps within intersections and infrastructure of high-risk streets so that improvements can happen before collisions occur.


Investing in Infrastructure 

Strava data allows transportation agencies to prioritize investments in infrastructure by providing heat-map data for a more detailed look at the mobility landscape. The Colorado Department of Transportation realized they were unable to get an accurate measure of bike traffic through traditional methods. The state was able to use Strava to track down which roads had high levels of bike traffic and prioritize which bikeways needed maintenance, providing planners a better focus for future improvements. Investing in infrastructure is now more strategic, and evaluations are turned around faster thanks to the insights gained with Strava’s heat-mapping data.


Accessibility For All

Strava also creates opportunities for communities by providing insights based on gaps in data. By studying areas with wealth disparities that lack user data, agencies can gain insights and make safe assumptions about what can be changed. The Utah Department of Transportation tracks regions where data is minimal, then positions sensors to help supplement ridership information and patterns. This allows for a more localized understanding of what infrastructure is needed for cycling and pedestrians in lower-income areas of Utah.

While improvements in active transportation take time to plan, fund and execute, transportation agencies can cater their goals with a more targeted approach thanks to the help of data sources like Strava. Data collection is necessary for understanding traffic habits, but with communities across the country prioritizing and demanding alternative travel options—particularly by foot and bike—agencies are becoming more intentional about the management of their projects. If you’d like to learn more about some of the projects taking place locally, contact us today.

How Active Transportation Leads to a Healthy Community

A healthy community is one where members from all groups work together to ensure everyone has healthy living options, regardless of their socioeconomic status. While active transportation plays a large role in ensuring a healthy community, the significance of the role active transportation often noted. Whether people can bike, walk or use other forms of active transportation is an important element in your community’s health sector. Learn more about how active transportation leads to a healthier community and what you can do to encourage accessibility for everyone in the rest of this blog.

Why walking is an important form of active transportation

Active Transportation Leads to a Healthy Community - Grandpa and Grandson Walking

Walking is one of the most popular forms of active transportation that also doubles as a method of exercise. According to “Step it Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities,” walking is an important public health strategy because it is one of the most common forms of exercise in the United States. Walking is accessible to multiple age and socioeconomic groups while also serving as a method of transportation and healthy activity.

Why biking is an important form of active transportation

In addition to walking, many Americans choose to bicycle as a form of transportation or physical activity. Around 34 percent of Americans over the age of three-years-old rode a bike at least once in the past year. Bicycling is popular to persons with disabilities as well and is a preferred form of exercise for those with multiple scoliosis. While biking isn’t as popular as walking nationwide, it is growing as a popular form of exercise and active transportation option.

How to improve active transportation infrastructure in your community

While 30 percent of Americans use walking as a form of exercise on any given day, only three percent of Americans use bicycling as a form of exercise. This highlights the factor that accessibility contributes to the lack of bicycling infrastructure in the United States when compared to walking infrastructure. Local planning and transportation partners can work together to encourage inclusive active transportation that promotes exercise in your area. Your community will benefit from putting time, energy and resources into societal factors that will affect everyone’s health. Contact us at Move Utah to learn more about how you can improve active transportation in your community.

Celebrate National Bike Month This May

May is National Bike Month, when pumping bike pedals is celebrated across the country. We’re lucky to live in Utah, which is the eighth most bike-friendly state in the country. During National Bike Month, learn more about active transportation in Utah and the unique power of the bike.

What is National Bike Month?

National Bike Month is a time to celebrate the numerous reasons people ride bicycles. From St. George to Moab, bikers across the state will celebrate National Bike Month with their trusty steeds. One way to join in on the fun is by participating in the national events. National Bike to Work Week occurs from May 13-19, 2019, with Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 17. Show your support for bicycle commuting by rallying your coworkers on May 17 to ride their bikes to work. Learn more about local bike events.

Why should I bike during National Bike Month?

Whether people in your community ride as a means of primary transportation or for exercise, the bicycle has a unique way of empowering its riders. Biking provides an opportunity to explore your community and save money on your normal commutes.

I’m new to biking, how do I get started?

The best way to get started biking is to just jump on a bike and spend a bit of time riding around your neighborhood before taking a longer trip. If you aren’t familiar with biking rules, review this quick guide from Bike Utah. Next, discover more about Utah’s numerous award-winning Bicycle League communities. Learn more about what bicycling looks like in your community with their report cards.

I’m not new to biking. How do I get others to bike during National Bike Month?

The best way to get others to bike with you during National Bike Month is through positive encouragement. Make it easy and fun for others to join you on the road. Offer to meet your friends at their house and ride to an activity together. Convince your partner to ride to the grocery store with you instead of driving. Pitch to your workplace to incentivize a reimbursement program for biking. There are a number of different ways to ride, you just have to get out there and do it.

If you’re interested in learning more about biking and other forms of active transportation, visit the Move Utah website. Stay tuned for more information on how to promote active transportation in your community and make it accessible for all.