Researchers from The University of Texas and Texas A&M University are hoping volunteers with smart phones can help them gather better data for improving bicycle routes and services in the Austin area.
Using CycleTracks, a free smart phone application available for iPhones and Android-based phones, researchers from the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the UT Center for Transportation Research will be able to track actual usage data for bike routes throughout the Austin area.
“The GPS system will allow us to gather information about bicyclists and their preferred bike routes,” says TTI Associate Engineer Joan Hudson. “By taking part in the Austin-based program, users are providing valuable data that tells us where we need to focus improvements. We will also be able to determine how effective this satellite data collection is, compared to traditional information gathering techniques such as surveys.”
The study coincides with the annual Bike to Work Week, which began May 16, and Bike to Work Day on May 20.
Bicyclists who choose to participate can download the CycleTracks app directly to their phone. Researchers will gather rider information through the month of June. Participation is anonymous unless the user opts to provide personal information such as age, gender, zip code, and email address. Providing this information will allow the research team to compare participant demographics to regional demographic data.
Developed by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, CycleTracks allows the bicyclist to view a list of saved trips with maps and simple statistics including distance, time and average speed.