Strava Metro heatmaps benefit transportation groups

City planners in Australia, the US and the UK use rider-pattern maps

For many cyclists, Strava means recreation, motivation and a training log of sorts. But for an increasing number of city planners, Strava means digital mapping to track cyclists’ transportation patterns. Now, Strava has a new service called Strava Metro to help such agencies.


Strava boasts a massive database of cycling activites, claiming that more than 2.5 million GPS-­tracked activities are added each week (including many run files). This information is aggragated — with the users remaining anonymous, Strava claims — and presented into so-called heatmaps that overlay routes taken over city maps. The brighter and thicker the lines, the more riders use the route. Strava claims it has more than 300 billion GPS points in its database. While many riders have enjoyed looking at their own heatmaps of past activity for fun, now city planners are studying the heatmaps for forward-looking transportation strategy.

Margi Bradway, active transportation policy lead at Oregon Department of Transportation, is one such planner who sees benefit in Strava Metro.

“Our goal is to provide a safe, efficient transportation system in Oregon, which includes sustainable transportation options such as bicycling, walking and taking public transit,” Bradway said. “Strava Metro data will help us understand how and where cyclists are riding in Oregon, a critical component to evaluating the transportation system and planning for the future.”

Other groups uses the data from Strava Metro include Alpine Shire, Australia; Arlington, Virgina; Glasgow, Scotland; London, England and Orlando, Florida.

High-resolutions heatmaps are available for free. Organizations that want more data will be able to license it from Strava, with pricing based on the size of the area.

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