The use of fitness apps in the research and development of transportation planning
It is common among cyclers to use fitness apps to track their rides with GPS. This information is not only valuable for them, but is currently being used by different entities and research organisms to collect information for research and management of transport planning. This kind of initiatives promotes bottom-up planning by taking into account real cyclist data, and even their suggestions and ideas, in order to define the optimal cyclist network.
In the research field, “Huella ciclista de Madrid” (Madrid cyclist track) is an initiative of TRANSBICI project in Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. It uses the app “Mapmytracks” to record cycling trips within Madrid City. The main objectives of this initiative are: to draw the cyclist route map of those who often use the bicycle as a transport mode in the city of Madrid; to find out which are the streets with the highest levels of real cyclist flow, which are more cyclable and why; to share routes, tracks, data, statistics and know about other’s and to analyse the track and get to know which infrastructures are demanded and will be more efficient for the real and the potential cyclist flow.
Transportation planners in Oregon are currently using “Strava”, a popular fitness app to collect data about the most popular routes for cycling and the problems cyclists must face in their daily rides. This data collection will be used to develop policies and plans, as well as to make informed decisions about infrastructure investments.
San Francisco County Transportation Authority is also using a similar system. Their initiative is developed by asking cyclists in the Region to install “CycleTracks” app to record their bike rides .The app is being used to collect data representing the purpose, route, date and time through a travel survey. The information is then sent to the Transportation Authority’s servers, which uses it to improve SF’s bicycle infrastructure.
Intelligent connectivity for seamless urban mobility
The report Intelligent Connectivity for Seamless Urban Mobility, developed by Arup in collaboration with Qualcomm, was launched last month. The report provides an overview of the possibilities of future urban mobility. It includes new choices for individual trip-making, better information for smarter decision-making, and system optimization to utilize infrastructure efficiently; the main goal of these advances will be to provide “a seamless, safe and sustainable travel experience”. This research takes as a departure point the great impact that the operation and planning of mobility can have in the sustainability of the city, affecting to economic aspects, environmental issues and quality of life.
It resumes the current challenges of urban mobility and suggests different solutions in the fields of technology, infrastructure and policy making. It includes also four visionary examples of experiences that users of an “Intelligent Connected City” will be able to have by year 2030.
Barcelona improves air quality in the underground
The project Improve Life aims to assess air quality in the metro facilities and to propose measures to achieve cleaner public transportation, benefitting both users and employees. The project is co-financed by Life + Environment, Policy and Governance of the European Commission, and is promoted and managed by the CSIC and TMB.
Last January, the project started its implementation by installing air quality measuring equipment at Sagrera station on the Line 5 of Barcelona underground. The collection of samples will be performed through a dozen campaigns that will run until September 2016. The project aims to publish and make available the results of the research, providing recommendations that can be applied in other networks around the world. The project Improve is supported by the EU Life program, which aims to promote actions to protect the environment and preserve nature and climate. Total budget will be €813,727, of which EU program finances 50 percent .
Road congestion and economy
Traffic´s relationship to the economy of complete metro regions is a very complicated issue. Mathias Sweet is a researcher at the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics at McMaster University. His studies reflect a relation between faster economic growth and higher levels of congestion in an initial step. This benefits stop after a certain threshold and start to slow job growth when it gets to be worse than about 35 to 37 hours of delay per commuter per year. Regarding the entire road network, this threshold also exists when the entire road network gets too saturated.
But sometimes, the cost of reducing congestion can be higher than the cost of congestion itself, as he points out. The paper was recently published online by the journal Urban Studies.