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Screen shot from DVRPC.org/webmaps/CyclePhilly

Screen shot from DVRPC.org/webmaps/CyclePhilly

Last year, a cadre of volunteer Code for Philly developers set out to create a mobile app that would find out where in Philly bicyclists were actually riding. The app went live in May and basically acted as a GPS tracker to show the most biked streets throughout the city (by people who were actually using the app.) The app, along with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s counts had the potential to serve as an important data tool for city planners and designers looking to add bike lanes in the future.

This week, Code for Philly released its initial aggregated data, which you can view here.

The Code for Philly developers handed over much of their data to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and based on the 8,340 trips made by 220 users of the application. Here are some of the results, as analyzed by the DVRPC:

o   40% of trips were on streets with no bike facilities

o   26% were on streets with bike lanes

o   12% were on trails

o   9% were on streets with buffered bike lanes

o   9% were on bike-friendly streets

o   1.8% were the wrong-way on one-way streets

o   1% were on streets with sharrows.

The data represents CyclePhilly users alone—not all road users in Philadelphia and the region. Therefore, the trip patterns likely do not reflect those of all cyclists, just those who downloaded the app.

Nevertheless, a plurality of trips were made on streets without bicycle facilities. And this is a problem.

Philly really needs to up its rate of laying down bike lane paint over the coming years, especially if the city wants bike share to be successful. Our current rate is well below some of our peer cities, as explained in the Better Mobility 2015 platform. The DVRPC promises more analysis of the data in the coming months. In that time, you’ll likely see information on speeds, times, bicyclist experience levels, destinations, origins and lots more.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy manager at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

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