Brigade Award

CyclePhilly

by Code for Philly (http://www.cyclephilly.org)

CyclePhilly is an open-source smartphone app and web-based project that crowdsources raw bike route choice data from bicyclists as they ride using smartphone GPS. Prior to CyclePhilly, transportation planners in the Greater Philadelphia Area were limited to traditional census data or intersection traffic counters to plan new bicycle paths. Without knowing route-choice, i.e. what led bikers through intersections, planners could not build infrastructure around actual biking habits. CyclePhilly fills that gap by providing exact origin, route, and destination information cross-referenced with voluntary demographic information. Using citizen-generated data, transportation planners can now accurately study bicyclist route choice, facility preference, origin-destination patterns, trip length, travel speed, and more.

Data from the app is used to inform bicycle planning work, and improve bicycle forecasting capabilities to better predict bicyclist response to new investments. Knowing exact route choice preferences also proves extremely important in a City with limited resources such as Philadelphia.

Why they won

CyclePhilly is a story about how someone new to a city, with good intentions and the support of a community, can start something great.

When Corey Acri moved to Philadelphia, he wanted to improve his coding skills and get involved in his new community. Corey reached out to Code for Philly, his local Brigade, and received a warm welcome.

At Corey’s first Brigade meeting, he discovered that Philly had very little data about bike routes. And if transportation planners don’t have data about where cyclists ride, they can’t do a good job of planning new cycle paths.

Code for Philly introduced Corey to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission where he made the case for collecting public bike route data. Code for Philly also helped him find the open source code for projects in three other cities that were crowdsourcing bike routes and several mentors, particularly Lloyd Emelle and Kathryn Killebrew, to create the CyclePhilly app. Now CyclePhilly has collected data from over 17,000 trips, the Planning Commission can plan new bike routes using real data, and Corey has improved both his coding skills and his new home city.