Give Strava A Go
Bicycle Tasmania is always on the lookout for new and interesting ways of obtaining bike usage and route data. During Bike Week every year we conduct the annual bike count, which involves a physical count of riders through common bike routes in the Greater Hobart area during the morning commuter peak. Although this is an accurate way of obtaining bike usage data, it only covers the locations where we place a volunteer and a short two hour time frame. As a result it is just a snapshot. Councils and DIER do some counts, but these tend to vary in their coverage and timing, so once again really just amount to additional snapshots.
Using a GPS-based system has the potential to gather data from wherever people are riding their bikes throughout Tasmania, at all times during the year. Data like this would enable Bicycle Tasmania and interested governments to better understand where bike riders are riding and at what times. This would inform decisions on where best to concentrate infrastructure funds to make riding bikes for commuting and recreation easier and safer.
After investigating alternative GPS-based riding apps, Bicycle Tasmania has settled on Strava as the one to promote. It has the following advantages:
- It is already popular amongst riders in Tasmania, with over 4000 riders already registered with Strava;
- It is popular both in Australia and worldwide, so visitors to our state are also likely to use it;
- No other popular ride tracker application is near where Strava is with collating its data and marketing it to government organisations; and
- It features excellent security measures to ensure that riders' home locations and personal information are not shown when creating data sets or sharing data to Government.
A current view of rides logged via Strava - Tasman Bridge, Clarence, Acton and Lauderdale
What you can do:
So, we encourage our members and supporters to use Strava for all of their rides, to help build this extensive bike riding dataset. Strava is a simple to use online application. Smartphone (both Apple and Android) users can download the app from the app store and use it with their GPS-enabled phone.
Those riders with GPS cycle computers can upload their data to Strava via the Strava website – www.strava.com. Riders can also manually enter their rides into Strava online. There are easy to follow instructions available online on how to use the Strava app. Or Bicycle Tasmania can provide help via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strava can also be a fun way to compare and share rides with your friends, to find popular routes that others are riding or to compare yourself with other riders over the same course or segment.
More detail for the data fiends:
Data from Strava can include hourly counts on every road or trail in Tasmania. In addition, Strava can provide a rolled-up demographic dataset that shows the bike rider breakdown by gender, speed, average time and so on. Strava also have a set of rolled-up views by hour that offer quick data interpretation: monthly, yearly, AM vs PM. Strava can also build up Hi-Res PDF maps, an example a “World Heat Map” can be seen at http://labs.strava.com/. This data will augment Bicycle Tasmania’s counting data by giving views over the whole State, at all times of day or night, for all types of riding.
The Queensland Department of Transport has already obtained data from Strava to support their bike data collection, while the Tasmanian Cycling Safety Steering Committee, that reports to the Tasmanian Government, has also shown interest in the data.