By Dr. John McBurney, Board Vice-Chair
This short video provides an overview of this big data product that can track billions of data points each month including anonymous cell phone data from people on foot and on bikes.
Thanks to a generous donation to Bike Walk Greenville, we have obtained a license to SLD to better help us in our advocacy for safe and connected infrastructure for active transportation in Greenville County.
Using SLD to Spotlight Pedestrian and Cycling Activity
Decades of car centric design have rendered most of our streets welcoming to high speeds and heavy car traffic, and thereby hostile to anyone not using a car. Traffic counts are a requirement for designing changes to this status quo, and pose a problem for those trying to measure non-automotive transportation methods. While we know that there are many in our community who by choice or necessity do not drive a car, it has always proven difficult to perform pedestrian and cyclist counts to prove the need for roadway improvements such as sidewalks, crosswalks, signalized intersections, and traffic calming measures.
With advancements in cell phone technology and increasingly widespread smartphone use, a new option has emerged in recent years that was not possible before: using location based technology and speed/route algorithms to address the “where”, “when” and “how many” questions regarding pedestrian and cyclist trips. With this data, Bike Walk Greenville will be able to support our advocacy work to make sure that our streets are designed for all road users, and not just for cars.
Two Examples of using SLD
Prior to signing the license agreement on December 5, 2022, the SLD sales team provided some great insights. Although we are just getting started we have learned things that we could have only guessed at before such as:
How many Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail users are locals versus visitors to our community?
The data presented was prior to the completion of Unity Park, and found that 26% of trail users were from out of state. Valuable information for the VisitGreenvilleSC team!
A study of the Queen St Bridge, over the railroad about 1/4 mile west of Unity Park
The City of Greenville application for federal grant to replace the bridge under USDOT program to promote transportation equity:
Streetlight Data study showed 143 bike trips and 44 pedestrian trips per day. Compared to nearby SRT users Queen St Bridge users were more likely to be African American and had lower educational attainmen. Modal trip length were 1-1.5 miles compared to 5-10 miles on for SRT users suggests local neighboorhood active transportation.
The Bike Walk Greenville team will start training on the StreetLight platform and has identifed some interesting projects that we will be sharing throughout 2023.