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CDC Study Validates StreetLight’s Active Transportation Metrics Against Survey Data

By May 8, 2023 May 9th, 2023 No Comments
bikers and pedestrians

StreetLight’s bicycle and pedestrian data offer reliable insights into active commuting behavior, a study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds.

Physically-active modes of transportation like walking and cycling can make communities healthier and happier. That’s why public health organizations like the CDC are looking for reliable ways to monitor active transportation behavior across the U.S.

Traditionally, collecting data on active transportation behavior has relied on surveys, which presents researchers with limitations. As researchers at the CDC put it,

[Survey data] is often limited to a certain metric or subpopulation (e.g., walking to school among adolescents).1 Moreover, these systems suffer from survey-related biases, coarse geographic resolution, and the intrinsic time lag between data collection and availability.2

So, CDC analysts wanted to determine if StreetLight’s bicycle and pedestrian metrics could provide reliable public health insights instead of relying on survey data alone.

What they found was that StreetLight’s pedestrian and cycling data was particularly useful in measuring active transportation activity in densely populated urban areas, showing strong correlations with findings from the American Community Survey administered by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Even for rural areas, StreetLight’s data also showed moderate to strong correlations for both walking and cycling, providing timely insights for researchers hoping to measure public health factors without the delays and limitations that accompany other data collection methods.

This makes StreetLight’s active transportation data the only bike and pedestrian dataset to be vetted by the CDC. StreetLight’s bike and pedestrian data has also been repeatedly validated and used by agencies across the U.S. since 2019, including MnDOT, the City of Pittsburgh, and VDOT.

According to the CDC study, StreetLight’s historical bike and pedestrian data:

[Offers] public health and transportation professionals an additional tool for assessing walking and bicycling behavior. For example, [it] may be preferable to traditional surveillance data for conducting a time-sensitive project, such as changes in walking patterns during an epidemic, or for assessing the impact of a community design intervention to promote bicycling within a city or town.

Read the full CDC study here.

To learn more about StreetLight’s walking and cycling data, visit our Active Transportation Solutions page.

1. Fulton et al., 2016Omura et al., 2021
2. Sallis and Pate, 2021Whitfield et al., 2015

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