Frequently Asked Questions
1. How is Strava Metro data used?
Strava Metro partners with departments of transportation, city planning groups and safety departments to improve infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians. Over 125 cities and organizations around the world use Strava Metro to measure and improve their bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Strava Metro data enables deep analyses to ensure our partner organizations make impactful, data-driven decisions, whether planning and building new infrastructure or measuring impact and behavior change after a project is complete.
2. What does the Metro data show?
Strava Metro shows aggregated, anonymized cyclist and pedestrian activity including popular or avoided routes, peak commute times, intersection crossing times, and origin/destination zones.
3. Does Strava have enough data to provide a meaningful dataset?
The Strava community is made up of all types of cyclists. In fact, nearly one-half of all rides on Strava in denser urban areas are commutes, so Strava Metro data gives great insight into the needs of those riding for transportation only. It’s also simple to filter the Strava Metro data to show only commutes and/or weekday rides during peak commute times.
A study performed by scientists at the Center for Disease Control further proves the correlation between route choice from the Strava user base and the general riding population:
“Across block groups in four U.S. cities, the number of GPS-tracked commuters in Strava correlated with the number of ACS active commuters at rho = 0.60, indicating that these distinct but related variables rank block groups similarly regarding the presence of active transportation. This degree of correlation suggests some degree of convergent validity between user-generated, GPS-tracked commuting data and representative data from ACS…These results suggest that user-generated active transportation data might provide valuable information to assist with achieving public health and transportation goals.”
– CDC (2016). Association between user-generated commuting data and population-representative active commuting surveillance data — Four cities, 2014–2015 weekly / September 16, 2016 / 65(36);959–962. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65.
While filtering by commute only is possible, analysis of the data shows that cyclists of all types and abilities tend to use the same “best available” roads and paths while cycling in metro areas, as recently evidenced by a Low Stress Network (LSN) analyses in New Hampshire. Furthermore, in metro areas, nearly everyone is a commuter – either commuting to work, or commuting to the ride they’ll be doing outside the city.
5. How much does it cost to license Strava Metro data for a city?
License fees vary based on the amount of Strava activity in the requested geographic area, the time span of data required and the level of granularity and features in the data set.
6. How is Strava Metro data different from bike counters?
Unlike counters, Strava Metro data is not tied to a single location. Strava Metro helps to paint a picture of how people ride and run throughout your entire network of streets and how that behavior changes at certain times of year, days of week, times of day or after infrastructure is built. The data shows behavior change not only in one location, as a counter would, but in all adjacent locations and over time. Many organizations using Strava Metro find it very useful to combine bike counter and Strava Metro data to get a better idea of total bike population and flow. In each of these cases, Strava Metro data is representative of the greater bike population, enabling deeper insights from the Strava Metro data and helping to extrapolate what other counters would read in different parts of the city. In all known correlation studies with Strava Metro data and counters, Strava users correlate highly with the general riding population. Learn more about counter correlation here.
7. Does Strava Metro require GIS software?
The Strava Metro data set is designed for use by geographic information system (GIS) professionals familiar with GIS software and engaged in city planning. If you do not have GIS resources available for bike/ped analyses, the Strava Metro DataView web visualization tool may be a good fit. Learn more in our product overviews: (GIS Product Overview) (DataView Product Overview)
8. Can anyone be part of the Strava Metro dataset?
Anyone using Strava to publicly track their rides, runs and other fitness activities is anonymously contributing to the Strava Metro dataset with every upload. It’s a way for you to vote with your ride or run for better cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in your community. Click here to sign up for Strava.
9. How does Strava Metro respect the privacy of Strava members?
The data provided through Strava Metro has been anonymized and aggregated so that cycling activity cannot be associated with a specific member of Strava’s community. Additionally, the Strava Metro data set excludes private activities and individuals who opt-out of contributing to the data set. We are providing this information in anonymous aggregate form to help improve infrastructure and safety for cyclists, runners and pedestrians.
10. What other products is Strava Metro designing?
Strava Metro exists to make biking, walking and running in cities better. We see many potential products in the future for Strava Metro to help us further our mission. In the near-term we are working on enhanced visualizations and tools for use with Strava Metro data by users without access to and experience in GIS software. We are also looking into providing tools to facilitate the analysis of the data so groups can use it as effectively as possible.
11. I am part of an advocacy group. How can I spread the word about Strava Metro?
Tell your DOT and city planning colleagues about Strava Metro. We have successfully partnered with several advocacy organizations to jointly approach the planning authorities in their area in presenting how to best use Strava Metro.
12. How can I help make my community better for alternative transportation?
If you are a cyclist or runner, use Strava to track your activities. In addition to the fun and motivation that Strava provides, your cycling and running data could help to inform alternative transportation systems in your community through Strava Metro. And tell your friends who ride and run. Strava grows by word of mouth.
13. What is the difference between the Strava Heatmap and Strava Metro?
The Strava Heatmap is a visualization of a large collection of GPS points recorded by Strava members. The Heatmap is a qualitative representation of GPS points designed for entertainment, while Strava Metro is a product which contains the data behind the visualization. For example, a popular street for cyclists looks like a bright line in the Strava Heatmap. Strava Metro provides data about how many cyclists rode in which direction on that street every hour. The Strava Heatmap is a way to visualize the world of Strava. Strava Metro is for analysis and infrastructure planning.
14. I’m interested in local popular cycling routes. Is Strava Metro what I’m looking for?
You’re looking for Strava Routes. We’ve counted the “votes” of millions of runners and cyclists globally and made them available via a route creation and discovery tool.
15. Can you provide me with free sample data?
We offer several one week long data samples on the Strava Metro website. Please fill out one of the data sample forms and we will send you your sample via email.
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