Anonymized data from the bike ride tracking app will be utilized by PBOT for bicycle project planning and evaluation. Photo by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
(April 17, 2018) The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced a partnership with a local technology company, Ride Report. The Portland startup's innovative app will collect feedback from thousands of Portland bicyclists and app users to help PBOT make better bicycle planning decisions.
Ride Report, co-founded by Portlanders William Henderson and Evan Heidtmann, is a mobile app that uses machine learning and low-power sensors to automatically track users’ bike rides. The app helps users track their exercise goals and stats, and encourages them with fun virtual challenges and trophies. At the end of each ride, Ride Report allows users to rate their experience by how comfortable they felt on the trip.
Portland cyclists have logged more trips on the Ride Report app than riders in any other US city. Since the app’s launch in 2016, Portland riders have logged over 400,000 bike trips covering more than 1.2 million miles -- enough to go around the earth nearly 50 times. Portland was one of the first cities to use this anonymized data in the planning and evaluation of transportation projects, such as the seasonal Better Naito project. The app measures bicycle traffic and gathers public input about the experience of riding a bicycle on hundreds of city streets, across all of Portland. Ride Report now works with more than a dozen city governments around the world. The Ride Report data is the latest addition to PBOT's robust data collection efforts, including an annual bike count conducted by trained volunteers to count bike travelers at over 280 locations across the city.
A screenshot of the Ride Report dashboard for SW Naito Parkway which helped inform PBOT’s Better Naito project evaluation.
“This partnership is a win-win. Ride Report is a great tool to help people track their rides and it gives us great information about where people like to ride,” said Transportation Director Leah Treat. “We’re excited to use this tool to help inform bureau decisions to make Portland an even greater biking city. I hope more people choose to use this locally-made app to track their bike rides so we can benefit from predictive analytics in shaping future routes."
“Portland made me fall in love with biking. I’ve always felt grateful to city, to the people who helped me when I was getting started biking here. I learned the best routes, I learned how to engage with the City and work with them when a route could be better, and I learned how much fun getting around by bike could be!” said Ride Report co-founder William Henderson, “I’m an engineer, and so of course I’ve always wondered: could I use technology to help more people have that experience? Ride Report was created to enhance opportunities for people of all levels of experience and backgrounds to enjoy biking and be part of a larger biking community just by downloading an app. By providing tools and data to cities, people’s participation is further enhanced through safer and more comfortable biking infrastructure.”
In Northwest Portland and the Central Eastside Parking Districts, PBOT is already partnering with local coffee shops to provide incentives for those who download the app and bike. People will get a buy one, get one free coupon after logging their first ride in the app (to be used at Water Avenue Coffee in the Central Eastside or Jim & Patty's Coffee in Northwest Portland) and a five dollar voucher after five logged trips. People participating in the Bike More Challenge in May can log their rides automatically by connecting the app to their rider profile. Users should keep an eye out for fun “Only in PDX” trophies as they ride around the city, including the “Civic Duty Bonus” for biking to City Hall or the "Breakfast on the Bridges" bonus for biking to the monthly event.
See where current Portland Ride Report users have biked and their route ratings at https://ride.report/portland.