UGA partners with Bike Athens for the mapping application – WGAU
The University of Georgia has partnered with Bike Athens to unveil a new map, an app that will help cyclists identify bike-friendly streets in Athens.
From Alan Flurry, UGA Media Relations…
Residents of Athens looking for a new way to cycle the city will soon have a new way to plan their trip. One in line mapping application created by UGA’s Community Mapping Lab will offer a new look at the most bicycle-friendly streets for getting around the city. Created through a collaboration with the local non-profit organization BikeAthens, the map highlights the strengths of the local cycling infrastructure, such as multi-use paths and dedicated cycle paths. But it also shows that there is still a lot of work to be done.
The idea for this map arose out of a conversation between Scott Long, Executive Director of BikeAthens, and Jerry Shannon, Associate Professor in the Departments of Geography and Financial Planning, Housing and Consumer Economics, in August 2019. BikeAthens had already created several bikes. city maps, but all were created as paper maps, and the most recent was 11 years old.
Since that initial conversation, four undergraduates from Shannon’s Community Mapping Lab have worked on the project: Regina Nasrallah, Emilie Castillo, Olivia Gilliam, and Sam Shuster. Their tasks included getting the public’s first comments on the factors most important to bikers in route planning, running thousands of simulated routes through online mapping software, and designing a web-based interface that works. on multiple platforms.
The original plan was to solicit feedback on the routes offered during the many events organized by BikeAthens. COVID has made this difficult, but the task force is collecting feedback via a online survey with the exit of the card. Other contributors to the effort include Alison Smith and Doug Pardue, professors at the College of Environment and Design, BikeAthens board chair Jason Perry, and ACC Bike Pedestrian coordinator Daniel Sizemore.
“This map is an important step in promoting inclusive micromobility in Athens, especially in its blend of community and data inputs, its inclusion of topography in route selection and its open online accessibility,” said Douglas Pardue, associate professor at the College of Environment and Design. “It is an exciting and potentially transformative tool that will help Athenians explore and safely use Athens’ small but rapidly growing pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. “
The resulting map, available on the CyclingAthens website, suggests the best streets for cyclists, but also marks areas with steep slopes, transit stops, and local amenities. Shannon said the shift from paper maps to a web application is important.
“People are already used to using a map on a smartphone,” he said. “The online map can be available anytime, anywhere and is much easier to produce, distribute and update when routes or amenities change. “
The map classifies roads into four categories: strongly preferred, preferred, use with caution, and use only when necessary. Streets in the latter category, such as sections of the Atlanta Freeway or Highway 29, are often the only means of crossing the city, but they seldom offer protection against high-speed motor traffic.
“People often ask us about the best ways to get around town by bike,” said Scott Long of BikeAthens. “Having this resource for cyclists in Athens will help people get around a bit easier and safer. We will always need better facilities and infrastructure to connect different parts of the city, and this map will help people build on what we have and highlight new connections. “
While online services like Google Maps can still provide the fastest routes for a single trip, the people behind this map hope it can help new riders plan the best ways to get around. daily newspapers around Athens. In the years to come, this map may inform local planning of future cycling infrastructure projects, such as a new separate cycle lane planned on Barber Street.
“We are in a time of very rapid expansion of active transport infrastructure across Athens,” said Long, “and this dynamic map will be able to follow changes in a way that a paper map never could. “
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