CyclePhilly App’s First Six Weeks Reveals Where We Ride

by | June 24, 2014 | Biking in Philly, Featured | 3 comments

Screenshot 2014-06-17 11.05.18

The trips logged on the app, aggregated into a beautiful blue mess

Since its May 1st debut, the users of the Cycle Philly App have logged more than 5,000 trips. The app records a user’s bicycle route and time with two simple Start/Stop touches, and asks for basic purpose-of-trip information afterwards. A notes feature allows you to record issues or joys associated with a specific trip.

The aggregated data will be made available to transportation planners to help prioritize future investments in bicycle infrastructure improvements. You can look at the map of all the recorded trips at  To preserve privacy, the beginning and end of bicycle trips are truncated for public viewing.

Central Cycle Philly 6-17

Focusing on Center City provides insight into which streets bicyclists use to get around

A glance at the map shows some clear and predictable patterns, such as the number of recorded trips in Central, South and West Philadelphia, with those trips grouping around Spruce St, Pine St and the South Street Bridge. But there are quite a few surprises to be found if you look at it hard enough. A few are highlighted below.

  • Bella Vista and Queen Village seem to have fewer recorded north-south trips than than the adjacent neighborhoods to the north and west.
  • Washington Ave is the primary east-west bike route in South Philadelphia
  • “Commute” and “Exercise” trip purposes had the most entries.
  • Baltimore Pike is clearly visible as the most popular bike route in Delaware County. This is also observed on the map released in April by Strava.
  • A few users have figured out an on-road route from the Chester Valley Trail to Valley Forge.
  • New Jersey is underrepresented, having far fewer trips than the Pennsylvania suburbs.

Of course this data has its limitations. You need a smartphone or a wireless broadband tablet, and the total adoption rate by Philly-area bicyclists is still low. And perhaps the name Cycle Philly creates the impression that it is only to be used by people bicycling within Philadelphia city limits. This last point is incorrect – bicyclists in the greater Philadelphia region should use the app, as the lessons gleaned from this usage data can inform planning decisions region-wide.

If you haven’t yet, pick up the free app for Android or iPhone and “make your ride count.”

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  1. Joseph

    This is a really great idea. I’m disappointed that more New Jersey people haven’t been using it, but I don’t know how you’re trying to engage them about it. There’s less of a chance of word of mouth in South Jersey, but there are plenty of bike riders. And considering that Camden County, at least, has a complete streets policy, they could really use hard data about how people bike. Please try pushing this more in South Jersey!

  2. Andrew J. Besold

    You know, I’m just not surprised that there is so few people riding in Jersey. Philly and New York just vacuum up all the young educateds looking for a car-free lifestyle AND Philly has just been doing a much better job for so much longer to promote cycling. Also a lot of the suburbs in Gloucester and Camden counties are some of the most walking and bicycle UNFRIENDLY around. The only place where I know cycling is popular for commuting is around the Princeton area. I really wish was wrong about this.

  3. Kat

    I hope that the app will soon be able to sync with others like MapMyRide. It’s just too much data for me to have both apps tracking at once, not to mention a battery drain. Even if this was a sync I could perform through the web, I’d be happy to do so.


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