close

The Water Cooler

A blog of fresh ideas and findings from organizational leaders and researchers on how they’re making work better, shared regularly.

How data can improve bike commuting

How data can improve bike commuting
More people are biking to work than ever before. The number of trips made by bicycle in the U.S. rose from 1.7 billion in 2001 to 4 billion in 2009, and since the year 2000, bicycle commuting rates in large bike-friendly communities has increased by 105%.

This blog ran last year and we're resurfacing it today in celebration of Bike to Work Day.

Data regarding bike commuting comes both from traditional sources—such as the National Household Travel Survey and the American Community Survey—and increasingly from new sources like Strava, the social network for athletes that lets people track and share their rides and runs. More than seven million rides are uploaded to Strava every week and, in major cities, 40 to 50% of these rides are commutes.

Strava Metro anonymizes and aggregates Strava activity data and then partners with departments of transportation and city planning groups to improve infrastructure for all bicyclists and pedestrians. We’ve worked with the Seattle DOT to help identify characteristics of dangerous intersections to make cycling safer and with the city of Queensland to inform new infrastructure planning, among others.

More bike commuting is a trend every business should support, because it can lead to healthier and happier employees and, in turn, stronger companies. The Centers for Disease Control reports that workplace health programs, such as incentives for bike commuting, can increase productivity by reducing the number of days employees miss work due to illness. A 2013 study in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found that people exhibited improvements in memory, reasoning, and planning, after 30 minutes of moderate riding on a stationary bike.

To help promote the value of recording commutes, Strava recently hosted a Global Bike to Work Day on May 10. The visualization below shows commute activity around the world on that day.

Strava Bike to Work Day global visualization View the full interactive visual here.

We hope that we can help more cities, organizations, and individuals make bike commuting safer, easier, and more enjoyable.

Brian Devaney works at Strava Metro. Metro has worked with over 75 organizations worldwide since 2014, and more are signing up every month. You can learn more and access data samples here.