Cycling path research published

Published: July 20th, 2021

Category: News

Angie Matthews and Henry Hochmair co-authored an International Journal of Sustainable Transportation article entitled, “Comparison of cycling path characteristics in South Florida and North Holland among three GPS fitness tracker apps.”

Abstract: Data from GPS-based fitness tracker apps have become a prominent source for studying cycling behavior. This type of crowd-sourced data provides larger datasets than were previously attainable by travel surveys and cyclist counts, which allows for the comparison of trip characteristics between geographic regions and the study of temporal trends in bicycle ridership. Researchers acknowledge that different types of biases come with tracking data from fitness tracker apps, such as self-selection bias, which is partially based on different target audiences among fitness tracker apps. This begs the question as to whether the behavior of cyclists, and thus the characteristics of routes traveled, varies among the apps. To provide a first insight into this question, this research analyzes trips reported on three fitness tracker apps, Bikemap, Endomondo, and MapMyFitness, for South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties) and North Holland. Comparison of trip characteristics is made among the three apps and across both study regions. Results show that cycling behavior observed in the three apps is similar relative to a set of control trips in each region (e.g. fewer primary roads than reference trips observed), but that there are some pronounced differences in trips recorded with the different apps between both regions. This suggests that geographic region plays a role in how trip characteristics recorded on different apps compare to each other, demonstrating the presence of an additional aspect of geographic bias in crowd-sourced cycling data.

Schirck-Matthews, A., Hochmair, H. H., Paulus, G., & Strelnikova, D. (2021). Comparison of cycling path characteristics in South Florida and North Holland among three GPS fitness tracker apps. International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/15568318.2021.1943073

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