Strava goes Metro

From the Wall Street Journal.com
May 7th, 2014.

Strava, a mobile-fitness app that tracks performances using global positioning satellites, is popular with competitive cyclists and runners. Now, the company is hoping it can lure a new type of customer: the government.

On Wednesday, the San Francisco-based company launched Strava Metro, which provides data from 90 million bike rides and 24 million runs as of this week — the byproduct of virtual competitions around the world — to help urban planners understand how and where cyclists use public streets. The first customer, Oregon’s Department of Transportation, is paying $20,000 to use the data for a year. Strava also signed up London; Glasgow; Orlando, Fla.; and Alpine Shire in Victoria, Australia.

Strava, which was founded in 2009, has a free app for iOS and Android. It won’t disclose its total number of users or how much money it makes, but said the majority of its revenue comes from premium subscriptions. Co-founder and president Michael Horvath said he could see transportation data becoming an important part of the company’s bottom line. “There are potentially thousands of customers in the U.S. and the demand world-wide for Strava Metro is pretty substantial,” he said.

*For the complete article, by Reed Albergotti, please click here.

We'd like to know what our 303 audience thinks about this one. Pros? Cons? Invasion of privacy issues? Will there now be a plethora of Strava Metro KOM's/QOM's in the urban sector? [Editor's note: I say this like I haven't already gone out today and claimed 3-5 segments on Colfax].

Are you a Stravasshole?

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1 Comment

Hmmmmm...

I can absolutely see how the IDEA of this is something fantastic. I'd really be interested in seeing how the data pans out. Honestly, $20,000 is a drop in the bucket for most good sized city planning budgets. That being said, hopefully there is a plan for what the end result of all the number crunching will achieve. Just because the city planners want to do something, doesn't mean they will be allowed to implement it. Many city, county and state budgets seem to be quite sparse currently.

Assuming all the data is completely anonymous, (which I imagine it is) I don't really share an issue with sharing my Strava data. From a privacy standpoint, an individual is already willing to let the company track them, and some people even pay Strava to track them. I would believe all a governmental agency would see would be numbers on how many people traveled a specific path in a certain time period. Anyone who is desperate for anonymity today most likely won't use Strava in the first place.

To say that I'm preaching to the quire here is an understatement, but we really, REALLY have to hit cycling and other alternative transportation solutions very seriously, and very quickly. I think it's pretty well proven that simply building more and wider roads has not really gone well. In fact, it actually makes things worse.