PSU researchers: ‘Knowledge fusion’ might assist cities higher rely bikes


Again when the Hawthorne Bridge Bike Tracker was in higher form. (Photographs: Jonathan Mauss / BikePortland)

It is at all times enjoyable to observe the Tilikum Crossing bike counter pedal throughout the bridge, testing what number of different individuals have biked the identical route that day. However bike counters are an essential instrument past simply novelty. The individuals working to plan bike infrastructure tasks – and for them to get authorities funding and political help – must know the way many individuals are using bikes and the place they’re going. To do that, they’ve to verify they’re getting the calculations as correct as doable.

There are a lot of instruments to rely bike journeys; However every of them has its personal drawbacks. Apps that use smartphone information seize solely those that use them (and people who have telephones). Bike counters like those above are costly and do not scale (they’re straightforward targets for vandals too).

It is an issue that has plagued biking advocates for years; However researchers at Portland State College’s Transportation Analysis and Training Heart (TREC) suppose they might have an answer. They name it “information fusion”.

A conventional hose counter.

A mission group led by Dr. Sirisha Kothuri sought to search out out what occurs when information from totally different gadgets is mixed. Their work was primarily based on the concept that combining “conventional and rising information sources” might produce a extra correct image of bicycle visitors.

The group checked out three new “large information” sources — the Strava smartphone app, streetlight information (and analytics agency), and GPS information from bike share methods — in six cities (Boulder, Charlotte, Dallas, Portland, Bend, and Eugene). The information is used for a few years, together with extra conventional bike counter cities, he stated.

They then constructed three location-based fashions to drive the information. “Typically, totally different information sources appear to enrich one another; That’s, linking any two information sources collectively tends to make every information supply outperform by itself,” reads the mission abstract. The findings of this research recommend that as a substitute of changing conventional bike information sources and counting packages, large information sources like Strava and Streetlight truly make outdated ‘small’ information much more essential.

“At ODOT we’ve simply adopted ‘Bicycle Miles Traveled’ as a brand new key efficiency measure, and we’d like a approach to measure it, so this mission goes a good distance in filling the hole that we How are you going to do it?”

–Josh Roll, ODOT Analysis Analyst

Oregon Division of Transportation Analysis analyst and information scientist Josh Roll sat on the mission’s technical advisory committee and stated the insights might assist his company higher perceive how nicely (or poorly) they’re serving cyclists. “At ODOT we adopted ‘Bicycle Miles Traveled’ as a brand new key efficiency measure, and we’d like a approach to measure it, so this mission goes a good distance in filling the hole in how we will do it. are,” Roll stated within the mission abstract.

When creating this report, the researchers uncovered one other downside: it was troublesome to realize entry to bike rely information, regardless of help from companies and jurisdictions. The researchers famous that the companies appeared disorganized and have been utilizing questionable ways when deciding the place to position the everlasting counting mechanism, “to find everlasting counters in teams of comparable location sorts, whose Because of this little or no is understood about biking exercise in numerous contexts.”

Portland is doing it higher than most cities. The Portland Bureau of Transportation rolled again its annual short-term bike rely this summer time, and Beechtown has a clear and sturdy information dashboard.

The dearth of correct bike counts and the continuing challenges in accessing the information is one other means our system leans in favor of automotive drivers. If we wish to get extra individuals on bikes and save our cities and our planet within the course of, we have to step up our sport when it comes to non-car visitors rely.

However do not take our phrase for it: “For transportation companies that wish to help proactive journey to fulfill a wide range of sustainability, public well being and climate-related objectives, correct information for the whole community is rapidly an enormous leap into the fitting.” route,” says the report.


Be taught extra and think about the total report right here.



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