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Guest Post: Strava Metro working to inform active transportation

The following guest post comes from Erik Sunde, Denver-based product manager for Strava Metro. 

Strava Metro has long supported Bicycle Colorado’s advocacy efforts
to increase active transportation infrastructure and options around Colorado.

We thank them for their support!

The Strava Metro dataset is the largest collection of human-powered transport information in the world. We aggregate, de-identify and contextualize this dataset to help planners and advocates make communities better for anyone on foot or on a bike.

We work with urban planners, city governments and safe-infrastructure advocates to understand mobility patterns, identify opportunities for investment and evaluate the impact of infrastructure changes—all completely free of charge.

When Strava launched Metro in 2014, we never thought its moment would arrive amid the pain and loss of a global pandemic. Of course we wish it would have come about another way. But with so much uncertainty in 2020, bicyclists everywhere can find some hope in seeing how rapidly the world is changing its mind about active travel.

As of September 2020, Strava Metro is now free and more accessible than ever for urban planners and advocacy groups, so they can keep improving infrastructure in cities around the world and usher in a new chapter in active transportation.

Already, groups around Colorado are utilizing Metro to help inform active transportation decisions. From Bicycle Colorado and Bike Colorado Springs, to CDOT and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Metro is being used in communities throughout our state. 

The vast majority of cities are experiencing a boom in human-powered transportation. Vehicle traffic has plummeted while bike sales have soared. Urban planners and everyday individuals saw inspiringly blank canvases with empty streets and less demand for parking as cities went under stay at home orders earlier this year. And an influx of new bicyclists and pedestrians—many just everyday people thirsting to get off of conference calls and feel some wind in their hair—is giving those planners more permission than ever before to build safe, efficient and enjoyable ways to move around by bike or on foot.

The global demand for better active travel that we saw far down the horizon now is suddenly here, banging at the door. And it could become “the new normal” after the pandemic ends—but only if those who are able to contribute rise to the occasion. Thanks to the generosity of our community in continuing to share their activities with us, Strava can, so we will.

Metro is a powerful tool for helping urban planners, city governments and safe-infrastructure advocates understand mobility patterns, identify opportunities for investment and evaluate the impact of infrastructure changes. While the potential of Metro is enormous, its impact will only be as large as the number of partner organizations that can access and utilize it. In the past, challenges around data complexity and cost hindered Metro from aiding those who could benefit from it most. 2020 has taught us that we need to remove those hurdles.

Metro is so much more than the Strava Heatmap. Users can see popular trip corridors, hour-by-hour bike counts, and much more. With dozens of analysis tools and visualizations that are exportable to common GIS file formats, Metro is simply the most useful dataset for urban planners who care about cyclists and pedestrians.

We’re happy to say that Metro is now free to qualified organizations around the world who are working to improve human-powered transportation. After applications are vetted and approved, we are proud to share a totally redesigned Metro 3.0, which is vastly more user friendly and requires minimal training to use. This is Strava and the athletic community joining forces to help build a better world for bicyclists, runners and pedestrians.

Join groups around Colorado in utilizing Metro to make cycling better in your community: https://metro.strava.com/

If you’re a Strava athlete who doesn’t want to participate in Metro, we completely understand. Even though we aggregate and de-identify your information, you have the right to opt out. Just open the privacy controls in the app and opt-out of sharing activities to Metro. If you’re not already logged in, you’ll be asked to login to adjust your settings.

Bicycle Colorado

About the Author: Bicycle Colorado

Bicycle Colorado is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Denver. We use advocacy, education and passion to make Colorado one of the most bicycle-friendly states in the nation. We encourage and promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions and provide a voice for people who ride bicycles in Colorado. With the support of our members and numerous partnerships across the public and private sector, we’ve made significant strides in improving bicycling since 1992.


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We’re thrilled to see so many people out enjoying (and often rediscovering the joy of) riding a bike right now, and we’re asking ALL bicyclists to do their part to prevent the spread of #covid19 by wearing a mask or other face covering when out for a ride. Doing so keeps you, your loved ones, those around you, and all Coloradans safer while helping reduce stress on our medical system. If you still need a mask, click the link in our bio to pre-order one now and support our advocacy work! Thanks so much to everyone who has already purchased, and to @primalwear for supporting our efforts over the years. Ride on.
  • #BicycleColorado volunteers and staff members spent time today helping @denverurbangardens and @denverfoodrescue deliver “Grow a Garden” food boxes to home-bound families in Denver—via bike! Supporting our community on two wheels makes for a great way to spend a sunny day. Many thanks to our friends @ddchen47, David M., and @juggernautcargo for your help! Head to denverfoodrescue.org or dug.org to learn more about these great local organizations. #rideyourbike
  • Tonight the #BicycleColorado team celebrated Stacey, our outgoing Development Director, with a virtual happy hour. Stacey has been an absolute rockstar for BC. We’re sad to see her leave, but thrilled for her as she heads out on a new adventure (hopefully in the #BikeAdvocacy space!) in North Carolina. Please join us in wishing her well!