Location data from shared e-scooters helps city map your movements
Calgarians have been enthusiastically jumping on thousands of shared bikes and scooters, but city officials are enthusiastic about another facet of the program: the location data of each and every trip.
Lime and Bird are the two companies offering the dockless bikes and scooters in Calgary.
Each scooter and bike has built-in GPS and uses 3G wireless technology to collect and transmit the location data of every single trip.
“This data is really helpful because we can actually track the speed, the route, the origin and destination,” said Andrew Sedor with the City of Calgary.
“So this gives us a really valuable data set that we can do a whole lot with.”
The location of the bikes and scooters is pinged every few seconds, meaning the exact route a rider takes is tracked and collected. It can show which city pathways and bike lanes are getting the most use and which areas see the most amount of drop offs and pickups.
It can help create a precise map of where users are riding and how fast they’re going to get there.
As part of the city’s pilot program, they’re also collecting and analyzing 311 data related to the scooters and bikes and Alberta Health Services is tracking how many injuries happen in Calgary.
“Better data analytics is a catalyst for change,” reads an explainer on Lime’s website.
“The result is better decision-making, smarter planning, safer streets and more people biking and scooting.”
It’ll all help shape the future of shared riding programs, but it could also contribute to decisions about city planning.
“Since we do have the origin and destination data, we can see what routes people are taking and so on some of those more popular routes, that could open up the discussion of dedicated infrastructure might be a good idea in that location,” Sedor said.
Companies like Lime and Bird say specific user data, such as someone’s name, phone number and email address, is not handed over to third parties and is secure.