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There’s An App for That

At the APA National Conference in LA I gave a presentation on mobile apps for planning, slides available. As a quick summary here are three mobile apps that are being used by planners.

CycleTracks: Back in 2010, planners in San Francisco wanted to study bicycle users. CycleTracks is an app that uses GPS to record users bicycle trip routes and times, and creates a map of their ride. At the end of their ride the rider can choose to input information about the purpose of the trip. All of the information is sent to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority for analysis. The data excludes personally identifiable data. The Authority then uses the Cycle Tracks data to create models that help predict where cyclists will ride and how changes in transportation infrastructure and land use changes will impact the cycling community. After several months of data collection, the planners used the data to develop a bike route choice model.  This model was then used as part of the regional travel demand model and used in preparing the San Francisco Transportation Plan. Based on the success of CycleTracks, San Francisco has been working with Austin, texas and Monterey, California who are collecting CycleTracks data using San Francisco’s application and app. Lane County, Oregon is beta testing their own LaneTracks application and College Station, Texas developed the AggieTracks App.

PlanningVic: The Department of Planning and Community Development in Victoria, Australia provides planning information reports for any property in Victoria. By entering an address the person can see the property on a map and have a planning report delivered in a pdf format. The report includes parcel detail, utilities information, zoning information, and overlays.

Zoner: An architectural firm in New York developed an app that allows users to calculate the maximum buildable floor area for a property instantly. The user connects the city’s zoning database, enters the lot width and length etc and then it will calculate the buildable area. One user said “I work for a developer and we waste tons of doing what this app does in seconds. GREAT WORK!”

Learn about other apps in this Atlantic Cities article on Urban Planning in the iPhone Age. What apps are you using in planning?

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