This study aims to critically explore how big cycling data operates at the intersection between industry innovations and the public sector.
Data is becoming ever more important for the cycling industry as well as for transport planning and policy. Due to the increasing popularity of cycling apps, smart accessories and cycle delivery services, the amount of cycling data collected by apps and devices is growing, and use of this industry-collected data around transport policy and planning is emerging, both by private transport consultants and by the public sector. Transport for London’s use of Strava Metro data is one example.
This study will analyse where and how industry and public sector work together through cycling data. It is of key importance to develop a big data perspective on cycling alongside the typical focus on motorised modes of transport, to really understand mobility patterns and bottlenecks, actual door-to-door tracks, citizens' behaviour, routes in places where cars cannot go, to model how a city could move without car traffic, etc.
A recent overview of big data analysis for cycling (Romanillos et al. 2015), work on Metro Strava in relation to transport planning (Selalaa & Musakwa 2016), and the concept of smart velomobility (Behrendt 2016, Kiefer and Behrendt 2015) illustrate how this important area of research is emerging and needs further in-depth empirical studies.
This project would also build on the ESRC-funded Urban Big Data Centre’s use of Strava Metro data (Urban Big Data Centre, n.d.). The European Cycling Federation (n.d.) has also identified this area as a priority and established an industry working group on Big Data, underlining a clearly identified business need for the research. Due to its focus on cycling, this study will also contribute to the fields of sustainable transport and mobility.