Announcing C’ville Bike mApp

by Bike Charlottesville on April 9, 2012

On April 14th the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will release the Cville Bike mApp, a free, bike route mapping application for iPhone and Android phones. The App allows cyclists to record their trips and send the trip information to the MPO for transportation planning purposes. With an expected decrease in federal transportation funding, this data will help elected officials better determine where to target limited available funds for future cycling enhancements and improvements. This data input effort will also position the region to be more competitive for transportation grant funding. More specifically, the App will allow transportation planners to map cycling patterns, determine cycling corridors, identify cycling barriers and find appropriate locations for cycling facilities.

Similar mobile application projects are underway in Austin Texas, College Station Texas, Monterey California, and Lane County Oregon. However, the Cville Bike mApp is truly unique nationwide. This is the first time in the U.S. that data from mobile bike route tracking software will be used to help inform a long range transportation plan. It marks a bold new approach enabling cyclists to provide direct input to transportation planners about where they bike. For our region, the Cville Bike mApp is by far the most comprehensive attempt to collect cycling data, to date. Previous data collection has been limited to counting the number of cyclists passing by key locations during narrow blocks of time on set days. This technique required large numbers of volunteers and provided only a snapshot of data.

The latest version of Cville Bike mApp will be available for download from iTunes and Google Play on Saturday, April 14th and you are encouraged to download it that morning. When activated, the App taps into a phone’s GPS. During the trip the App records GPS points every few seconds. Once the trip is complete, the user can anonymously upload the information to the Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO or save it and upload it when they’re back in range. The App also records some qualitative data such as trip purpose, weather, cyclist capability (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) and affiliation with the University of Virginia. Cville Bike mApp is a custom version of CycleTracks, an open source mobile App. Bike Charlottesville member Jeff Shirley volunteered his time and services to redevelop the initial software to meet the MPO’s data collection goals.

The MPO is offering valuable prizes for participation in the data collection period. If a cyclist chooses to enter the raffle and records 10 or more rides, he or she is eligible to win a gift card or service from a local bicycle shop. Participating shops include Blue Ridge Cyclery, Blue Wheel Bicycles, C’ville Bike & Tri, and Cville Bike Lab.

The MPO will be collecting cycling data over an approximately one month period – from April 14th to May 18th. Help local planners and elected officials improve cycling in Charlottesville and Albemarle by recording your bike trips using the Cville Bike mApp.Remember, mApp it for Better Biking!

Go to www.cvillebikemapp.com for more information about the project.

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