Fortune Magazine has a very interesting article on Improve Urban Infrastructure? There’s an app for that.
Using crowd sourced GIS and other data from fitness applications such as Strava city governments can track usage of city cycleways, footpaths, and tracks. This data can be viewed as Heat Maps, and assist in a range of planning and infrastructure management functions.
Whilst the privacy and other big data issues need to be considered and resolved by municipalities, the uses of this type of data can be revolutionary in assisting in improving understanding of infrastructure issues:
- Which cycleways and footpaths are most popular?
- Which routes are used most often?
- Do the routes have enough capacity given the level of usage?
- Are the routes safe, or are routes avoided due to safety concerns?
- Is preventative maintenance enough given the utilisation of the cycleway, footpath or track?
Oregon Department of Transportation and Portland Bureau of Transportation are now using big data available from Strava for transportation planning, route usage analysis, and planning cycleway safety improvements.
Future extension of the use of this type of crowdsourced data will be to couple it with crowdsourcing condition inspections – so for example a cyclist using Stava can quickly push a maintenance issue they see or ride over, and think is a safety concern, to the municipality – which can then be used for maintenance intervention prioritisation, and also customer concern and feedback analysis.
Big data is here to stay, and is only going to get bigger as more applications and uses are found.
Also think about how you can use crowdsourced big data to improve your infrastructure management analysis, and subsequent programs and infrastructure maintenance, renewal and capacity improvement interventions.