Is there bias in GPS enabled smartphone cycling app data?

Smartphones with GPS tracking ability are capable of collecting large amounts of pedestrian and cyclist movement data. But do tracking apps developed largely for athletic or route-planning use capture the big picture of where pedestrians and cyclists travel and what infrastructure they use? The answer, according to a new study in the Journal of Transport & Health, is “no.” These apps miss data from segments of the cycling population, as well as information about the usage of particular kinds of infrastructure by riders with particular characteristics.

Netflix-of-transportation app guiding users toward sustainable mode choices

The Whim app, launched a year ago in Helsinki, partners with local public and private transportation providers, bundling transit and taxi fares, bikeshare trips, and other mobility services into a monthly subscription, with tickets based on the regional mode choice and travel behavior. A recent analysis of the data shows that this Mobility as a Service app allows residents to use the existing system more efficiently and improve their choices for each trip.

Netflix-of-transportation app guiding users toward sustainable mode choices

The Whim app, launched a year ago in Helsinki, partners with local public and private transportation providers, bundling transit and taxi fares, bikeshare trips, and other mobility services into a monthly subscription, with tickets based on the regional mode choice and travel behavior. A recent analysis of the data shows that this Mobility as a Service app allows residents to use the existing system more efficiently and improve their choices for each trip.

An app that rewards commuters for their travel choices

Many navigation apps use real-time traffic data to help people find the fastest route to work. A new app called incenTrip emulates the same model but with a twist—it incentivizes commuters to take greener, more eco-conscious trips by providing users with a variety of travel options and modes to a destination, each of which is assigned points depending on the distance traveled and the fuel consumed. The greener the trip, the more points are awarded, and users can redeem points for rewards.

An app that rewards commuters for their travel choices

Many navigation apps use real-time traffic data to help people find the fastest route to work. A new app called incenTrip emulates the same model but with a twist—it incentivizes commuters to take greener, more eco-conscious trips by providing users with a variety of travel options and modes to a destination, each of which is assigned points depending on the distance traveled and the fuel consumed. The greener the trip, the more points are awarded, and users can redeem points for rewards.

Mobile apps gaining ground in trucking

Rapid growth in the use of mobile apps is changing the trucking business and could bring congestion reduction benefits as well as efficiency gains. The way truckers with empty trailers find available loads has come a long way from notes on truck stop bulletin boards. The flexibility brought by these applications also provides a backup when scheduled movements are disrupted.

A New Way To Go: The Transportation Apps and Vehicle-Sharing Tools that Are Giving More Americans the Freedom to Drive Less (USPIRG, 2013)

Over the last 15 years, the Internet and mobile communications technologies have transformed the way Americans live and work. During that same period, growth in vehicle travel slowed and then stopped, with Americans today driving about as much on average as we did in 1996. Early evidence suggests that new innovations in technology and social networking are beginning to change America’s transportation landscape.

Mode choice? There’s an app for that

For almost a decade, per-capita VMT has shown a flat to downward trend. But don’t be fooled; people are traveling. Transit ridership is up. Biking and walking for transportation continues to increase. Car-sharing and ride-sharing services are seeing a boom. New technologies, including smart phone applications and interactive web sites, give these intrepid travelers the tools they need to decode the mysteries of public transit and investigate the growing availability of non-motorized travel options.