The city of Fort Collins, CO is using GPS technology to improve its infrastructure for cyclists. There are an increasing number of people who use their bicycles as a way to get around town. Reasons vary from wanting to integrate more exercise into daily life to wanting to cut down on fuel use, either for budget concerns, or environmental concerns, or both! Unfortunately, many cities lack efficient and safe bike lanes, so the city of Fort Collins officials decided to try and better understand the need of cyclists.
Fort Collins has partnered with Colorado State University (CSU) and the Coalition for Activity & Nutrition to Defeat Obesity (CanDo) to help improve biking infrastructure in the area. The study is being conducted using an iPhone app, called CycleTracks. This app was developed by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and can be downloaded for free on iTunes. It tracks the cyclist’s activity around town and sends the GPS data back to the city authority.
The study began this summer, after CSU Assistant Professor Ray Browning, the Mechanics Lab director of Physical Activity Energetics, and will continue through summer of 2013. So far, the CycleTracks app has recorded an estimated 1,000 bicycle rides around the Fort Collins area. Around 200 to 300 local cyclists have downloaded and are using the app. According to Browning, as reported by the Coloradean.com, he would ideally like to track as many as 1,000 cyclists.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of resources available to spread the word about this study to more cyclists. The project has no funding and is single-handedly run by Browning. He is primarily relying on word-of-mouth to attract more participants. He revealed that he plans to start going through the GPS data around January 2013.