Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What's Your Route?

One of the projects I do for the Bicycle Advisory Board is collecting commuter routes. I've been doing this for about 8 months. Clicking on the map there will take you to my site that shows all the routes I've followed. You can then zoom in/out on an interactive map. (If you're running a Mac, you must be using Firefox to make the map control work -- Also, it may be a bit slow and flakey, the application is running off an old server in my basement).

I really like this project. The way it works is that I follow bike commuters (on my bike) and track their route with a GPS. I then load the route into the map.

The main reason I like the project is because I meet a lot of cool folks. In general, people that commute by bike are my favorite kind of cyclists. I like seeing the different bikes they ride and how they kit up for their rides. I also like observing how different folks ride in traffic. Some folks take the absolute direct route regardless of traffic, while others avoid busy streets at all costs.

My hope in gathering the data is to see what kind of patterns emerge. This is one small bit of data to help in building the Master Bike Plan for Spokane. I think I still need about 50 or so more routes before we see stuff. But I am surprised to find that at the moment, we're literally all over the map. Going into this, I figured most commuting cyclists would ride and choose routes as I do.

Instead, I'm finding that each commuter is different. I guess that's not too surprising. Humans are like that.

However, the folks that have been commuting for a long time and who ride most of the year do share similarities in how they ride, how they choose their routes, their speed/fitness, and how they interact with traffic. I guess I find that encouraging.

Anyway, I need more data. If you commute in the city of Spokane and want to contribute please go here.

Oh -- and I realize that you could send me the data derived from Google Maps or some other tool, but the fun is in riding/meeting and the data is much more reliable if I can track it.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Wow John! I'm impressed with the total number of routes you've gathered so far. Do most of the people you've mapped stick with only one route? My preference is to vary things between several possible routes to work from the part of the South Hill where I live. I've also tended to ride longer routes as my fitness level has increased this summer.