Steel City Codefest: Ideas for bike/ped

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Dec 10 2012 at 8:45pm #

On the last weekend of February there will be 100 civic-minded programmers in the same room building software apps

According to an insider, based on past experience in other cities, there will be lots of interest in building apps for cyclists. Please share your app ideas with the programmers using the link below:

All of the ideas that come in will be conveyed to the participants prior to the event.

This insider will also be building a data catalog for the event. If you have any data you’d like them to acquire (crash data, bike lanes, traffic volume (ADT), etc), please post it here and I’ll send it to him.


Private Message

Dec 10 2012 at 9:32pm #

since every solution should solve a problem, I’ll list the problem first.

Problem: no consistent reporting of bike/car collisions (some call them accidents) in the greater metro area (ie, not just Pgh propa)

Solution: Id like to see a mobile App for reporting bike/car collisions so that anybody (passerby, police or EMT, somebody listening to dispatch radio, etc) could report the event, and Somehow they’d accumulate in a repository so that an Administrator (BikePgh volunteer?) could clean them out and cull duplicates monthly.

EndProductLooksLike: web-based reporting of car-bike collision statistics sliced by location/month/hour etc.


Private Message

Dec 10 2012 at 9:36pm #

^good idea!

If you have a google account it is easy to sign in to Scott’s second link and post your app idea directly (and vote the other ideas up or down).

Thanks for posting this, Scott — I hope the brains of this message board will take a few moments and add 2c.


Private Message

Dec 11 2012 at 3:22am #

tangential to this topic –

a FPS type game, but where you are a bike messenger in <select city>. Trying to get from point A to point B without dying and deliver your package.

<insert city here> = podunk IA for beginners and New Your or MOscow for experts :)


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Dec 11 2012 at 2:48pm #

I submitted my idea for TagDroid, which I haven’t had time to work on. Basically I want to simplify the multiple steps needed to post a new tag. It always takes me a minute or two at least just to upload the photo, then I have to go back and copy the URL and add the text. No way I could ever beat 53 seconds to pick up a tag, even with a tag-buddy.


Private Message

Dec 11 2012 at 3:25pm #

I don’t know if this is related, but I was thinking about tracking power outages via computers signing out of Google services

For example, if a bunch of computers sign out within a certain time frame, there’s a likely hood that power went out

Would be useful for tracking the extent of outages

Even with tablets and laptops, the routers would still shut off and knock people off the networks


Private Message

Dec 11 2012 at 3:56pm #

I have four dozen ideas concerning transit, dating back 10 years. Maybe I should go through them again and update a few with cycling and multi-modal travel in mind.


Private Message

Dec 11 2012 at 6:04pm #

@Pierce You need cooperation to network service provides in terms of location of each customer (more exactly cusmer’s IP address) and this would create a lot of concerns in terms of privacy. Google already has some service when Google cars ride together and pick up WiFi signals and and matching them to geographical locations. This service has been forbidden in Germany and Czech Republic.

A think some customers have their routers on UPSes. I do. And all my friends have routers on UPSes. Especially if they have fiber optic connections.

And a lot of people turn computers off. so if you install application and router is powered all the time you still have problem with counting clients.

Any fault at provider concentrator would be seen as power outage.


Private Message

Dec 12 2012 at 3:01am #

I think Vannevar’s idea has merit, but with one or two tweaks.

It seems like sweeping out the monthly report would help keep the database from getting cluttered, so long as there is another ‘page’ so to speak, with all the cumulative reports since The Dawn Of Time -or more likely, the past few years.

I think an overlay as such could eventually be assigned sectors (of the city/county) and/or maybe more focal points such as intersections, designated by color, for quick reference. Red would be signal an area or point with a high density of incidents, and so forth.

The benefit of course would be that any cyclist would have enhanced situational awareness when planning or executing a route/ride. Event planners might even use such established data to take special precautions, incorporate more safety/volunteers at ‘red’ areas/points.

I think if done properly an app could also incorporate a user reports section, where actual cyclists can provide specific information that other cyclists need, such as glass all over the road, malfunctioning signal lights, etc. The caveat being that comments would have to be regulated, as to be perfunctorily brief, a la Twitter, so the users don’t suffer from TMI.

Of course you must name it, and that’s half the fun. How about Biker Buddy, iBike, or Pedalphile? :)


Private Message

Dec 12 2012 at 5:33am #

Data I’d like to see exposed:

1. daily and archived PGH zone crime blotter in json or something other than a pdf

2. daily and archived arrest data.

3. daily and archived automobile v. automobile crash data.

4. daily and archived incidents involving automobiles hitting pedestrians or cyclists.

All preferably with geo coordinates.

User generated reportage on any group could be merged with official feeds and vetted first by the machine via a geocoding service as long as device geo or form address fields resolve within a few hundred feet. Non-matching user submitted content could then be sent out for verification with an actual human before given the ok to be included in production data.


Private Message

Dec 12 2012 at 5:21pm #

Also useful:

* When a road segment last got paved (not patched).

* When a sidewalk segment got rebuilt

* Location, type, and measure of hazard of any drain grate a cyclist might traverse


Private Message

Dec 12 2012 at 10:32pm #

BTW, reviewing the app proposals, including mine, there are a lot of “don’t like”‘s. We are a pretty crusty bunch. And the one app that everyone seems to like, the pothole reporter, looks like a duplicate of “Pothole Alert 311”. Has anyone used that? It lists Pittsburgh as one of the supported cities.


Private Message

Dec 12 2012 at 10:53pm #

Let me add three items to quizbot’s list, which I do not think is that off-topic:

* Lat/Lon of shootings that occurred outdoors, of/by anyone

* Lat/Lon of physical assaults on cyclists

* Timestamp of the above two

We have discussed, on several occasions on this board over the years, cases of shootings and assaults, and how that does (or does not) affect our paths of travel.

I would hope to answer two questions:

* Does actual crime match the perception of crime?

* How do the chances of getting shot compare to the chances of getting hit by a car, area by area?


Private Message

Dec 12 2012 at 11:45pm #

“Pothole Alert 311”

@jonawebb – I did not realize that existed: I like that it has some additional categories such as “dead animal” and “abandoned vehicle.” I plan to give this a whirl – thanks!


Private Message

Dec 14 2012 at 3:45pm #

One of the challenges with 311 with the older iburgh app was that there were no standards for contributing data to the City system for 3rd party developers.

These reports had to be transcribed and manually entered into the city system. It’s also unclear if any of the systems from the departments integrate directly with 311.

Here’s an example of one open 311 standard:

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