Strava Metro, the ride mapping commute-focused arm of the performance cycling app, is to make available its data free of charge to cities hoping to grow cycling’s modal share.
The announcement came alongside ride data registered on the app that revealed a continued appetite for cycling, even against returning traffic. Specifically using the app’s data, the volume of people logging trips in May was 162% higher in the UK when compared to the prior year.
The data, while encouraging, should perhaps be weighted against the fact 2020 has been far from a normal year. The window flagged coincided with the UK’s lockdown, during which cycling was one of few permitted activities. That said, official transport data did place cycling levels well north of normal, peaking at north of 350% during May.
Unsurprisingly it was the cities that saw the greatest surge in Strava Metro activations, with Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow registering peaks of 222%, 169% and 146%, respectively. Further south London registered 119.38% north of normal levels.
For the city planner such detailed ride data can be a gold mine, not just from a planning perspective, but also as hard data to counter the notion that people will not choose to cycle in the future, as a vocal minority tends to suggest they won’t; YouGov data illustrates how negative sentiment to cycling is vastly overcooked.
Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking champion said of the data release: “During lockdown, roads were quieter and people felt safer so we saw a real surge in the number of people cycling and walking their journeys.
“Now we need to enable them to continue to travel on foot and by bike, making it part of their everyday routine.
“The data we receive from Strava Metro is helping us to get a greater insight into where, when and why people are cycling and walking. This sort of data is invaluable when making decisions about developing future infrastructure.”
In the past Strava Metro data has likewise been used to illustrate how enhanced levels of cycling can have wide-ranging benefits from social interaction through to reduced pollution.
Others recording such data include See Sense, whose crowdsourced information helps not only city planners but bike share operators too.