A great new app is now available for bicyclists in Atlanta. It is called Cycle Atlanta. This isn’t just another bicycle route tracker. This app gets bicycle lanes built and infrastructure funded. It does that by providing hard data to city planners and politicians about WHERE cyclists travel, WHEN they travel, and WHY they travel.
When planners and bicycle advocates go to City Hall and Capitol Hill, this data will make it much easier for them to persuade law makers to fund infrastructure. It will also help city planners build the infrastructure that is most needed in Atlanta and build it in the most effective locations.
How can you help? Download this app (available for both iPhone and Android). Downloading this app will allow you to record any bicycle trip you make and send that trip data to the Georgia Tech researchers managing Cycle Atlanta.
As you ride your path is recorded and statistics about speed are displayed to the user. I suppose if you had a mount on your bike you could watch this live. I’m not sure that I would recommend that. I just keep my phone in my pocket.
When your trip is over, hit finish and you will see the following menu. Here you can tell the planners what sort of trip you were taking (Shopping, Work, Social, etc.) and you can even leave comments about the trip. I have used this comment field to suggest locations for bike lanes and report intersections where the induction loops do not detect bicycles.
Finally, your trip map is shown to you with some basic statistics and the points where your location was recorded. This is the exact sort of information that can really improve cycling routes in Atlanta. For instance, look at the map below. Notice that I took a very indirect path between by origin (green thumbtack) and destination (purple thumbtack). This is not the route that I wanted to take. It was the shortest route that I deemed acceptably safe. I left a comment to this effect for the planners.
Anyone who cycles in Atlanta should download this app. The more people that use this app, the easier it will be to find funding for bicyclists and the more information planners will have about where to build infrastructure.
Let the planners know that you are out there on your bike. Millions upon millions of dollars are spent planning for automobile traffic. This app levels the playing field a bit. By crowd-sourcing this information, bicyclists don’t necessarily need the million-dollar studies to build proper infrastructure. It lets us actively participate in the planning process by telling the planners and politicians exactly where we go and exactly what we need to improve our experience.
Cyclists, download this app. Use it. Stand up and be counted!
In other awesome news: MARTA has opened up its schedule data and real-time data to the public. Expect many awesome apps coming to Atlanta very soon.