Oakville, Ontario Case Study

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1 Oakville, Ontario Case Study 1

2 Background The Town of Oakville, a suburb of Toronto, is located on the shore of Lake Ontario and has a population of about 185,000. Oakville created its first Active Transportation Management Plan (ATMP) in 2009, calling for a network of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure consisting of on-road signed routes, on-road bike lanes, and multi use trails (paved paths adjacent to the sidewalks). Today, the town boasts 185 kilometers of bike routes and lanes, and 110 bike racks. Oakville has an active population, and it wants to encourage even more people to bike and walk for recreation and transportation. Currently, 3 percent of trips in town are taken via bicycle or on foot. The town, as stated in its Transportation Master Plan, wants that figure to double by To help meet this specific target, and the broader goal of a more livable town, Oakville partnered with Strava Metro in the fall of Objectives As Oakville began the process of updating its ATMP, it sought to better understand how many cyclists and pedestrians are using the roads and paths, and where people are riding and walking. It also wanted to visualize that activity so the data can be easily displayed to the public. These goals are closely related. Knowing the quantity of cyclists and pedestrians gives planners an indication of the demand for infrastructure, and how that demand evolves over time. And being able to see cyclist and pedestrian activity on a map helps explain to the public why new or improved infrastructure is justified. We get lots of comments like, nobody cycles here, why do you need to build bike lanes? said Jill Stephen, senior manager, Town of Oakville transportation engineering and construction department. So we thought it would be helpful to get a sense of who actually is cycling and where they re going; compare the routes we have and the planned routes to the desired [routes] and, down the line, see how things have changed with use of the facilities as we build them. 1

3 Outcomes Using the popular ArcGIS software from Esri, Oakville started developing an application in April of 2016 that would meet its needs for precise quantification and ease of visualization. Frank Goehner heads the town s Geospatial Solutions group, which has a staff of four GIS engineers. He asked one of his staff members to incorporate the Metro data and heat map into ArcGIS and experiment with the various features in the software. Without having to write a single line of code, Goehner s department created a customized online app in about a week. The app displays a street map of the entire town and is overlaid with the Metro heat map, which shows the popularity of cycling routes by intensifying the red color of the GPS points along map. Oakville s ArcGIS Online app, displaying the Strava Metro heatmap. Click for full resolution. 2

4 In addition, when a user clicks on buttons for total cyclist activity, total commutes, or total cyclists, numeric counters appear at the bottom of the screen showing the counts for the visible area of the map, categorized by time of day. Total Activity Counts, displayed in Oakville s ArcGIS Online app. Click for full resolution. Currently the Oakville app is for internal use, but soon the town will create a version for the public and make it available on the town s website. From a communications perspective, the app will go a long way towards informing residents and visitors of the most popular cycling routes, which will make it easier for people to discover new routes and decide where to ride. The app will also let the town show interested stakeholders, in a powerfully visual way, the depth and breadth of cycling activity in town, and thereby advocate for additional infrastructure where it makes the most sense. With fewer than 200,000 residents, Oakville is bigger than an average town but smaller than many cities. Its small size and lack of a large staff of data and software experts, however, were not barriers to using Metro effectively. The person who created the app, he s not a developer, said Goehner. It s all just configuration. Which means you can develop these apps quite fast. To learn more about how to incorporate Metro data into ArcGIS, please contact us. 3

5 About Strava Strava unlocks potential through the power of sport. Strava s mobile apps and website connect millions of runners and cyclists every day. About Strava Metro Strava Metro makes riding, running and walking in cities better. Millions of people upload their rides and runs to Strava every week via their smartphone or GPS device. Metro anonymizes and aggregates this data and then partners with departments of transportation and city planning groups to improve infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians. Contact us to learn how you can make an impact by using Strava Metro To learn more about how to incorporate Metro data into ArcGIS, please contact us. 4

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