ORcycle FAQ

Why have you developed this app?   

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) collects some bicycle/pedestrian data, but the quality and quantity of bicycle data are not as abundant as the data collected for motor vehicles. In particular, there is limited information regarding bicyclist routes (origin-destination) and the perception of users regarding the adequacy of existing bicycle facilities. A smartphone app can be used to collect new and better cyclist data in a cost-effective way. Portland State University TTP lab has been awarded an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) research grant to develop the app and collect and analyze the data.    

How many times should I use ORcycle?  

You can use ORcycle to (i) record trips and (ii) report locations with safety or infrastructure issues/problems. We hope you record trips that have different purposes (commute, recreation, exercise, etc.). You can record a trip that you repeat many times just once (for example if you commute) but it is important that you answer the question “How often do you ride this route?” after you finish your trip. You can record locations with infrastructure or safety issues as often as necessary. 

Why do you ask questions after each trip? 

At the moment there is a very limited understanding of cyclists’ perceptions of bicycle facilities comfort and safety. ODOT is the first state Department of Transportation that is using a smartphone app to better understand cyclists’ perceptions and needs. The best way to get this data is to record a cyclist’s trip and ask questions about the trip. 

Why do you ask questions about the rider in the user screen? 

The questions about biking attitude (e.g. do you cycle in different types of weather?) and socioeconomic data (e.g. what is your age bracket or how many cars you own?) are necessary to understand who is cycling and how routing preferences and safety perceptions may change across different segments of the population. 

If this app is used for the Eugene-Springfield area, why is it Portland based?
The ORcycle app was originally designed by researchers at Portland State University and launched statewide in late 2014. LCOG launched a similar app (Cycle Lane) in 2012 that didn't include the ability for users to report infrastructure or safety issues. These data are important for improving bicycle facilities in the area, so LCOG teamed up with ODOT and Portland State to emphasize and promote use of the ORCycle app in the Eugene-Springfield area in spring of 2015. 

Why not use Strava, MapMyRide, or Runkeeper directly?
ORcycle was designed to report trips, cyclists' comfort level, and also safety issues and non-fatal crashes or near-misses; these datasets cannot be obtained from existing apps. For example, non-fatal accidents are significantly under-reported, and cyclists' feedback is crucial to better understand the frequency of crashes and the location of areas with safety problems.

Is my data protected?
The data collected using ORcycle is sent to a secure server at the Portland State University Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. As detailed in the Privacy Policy webpage, the user has control over what trips (using the start and finish buttons) are recorded. Data in the user section is optional and confidential and only needs to be completed once. If you wish to provide your email address (which will not be shared with third parties), we will use it to send you project updates as well as access to maps containing safety or infrastructure data that has been crowdsourced from ORcycle users.

If I report a safety issue or crash using the ORcycle app, should I also report this information to a transportation agency?
Yes, do report also to the agency that has jurisdiction over the road, street, or bicycle facility. ORcycle reporting is not a substitute for reporting to the agency that has jurisdiction over the road, street, or bicycle facility. ORcycle REPORT functions are useful tools to collect cyclists' feedback regarding safety issues and data regarding near-misses and crash events. The data collected by ORcycle can be utilized by transportation planners, researchers, and the general public. ORcycle report data is posted online but it is NOT communicated directly to transportation agencies safety staff and maintenance crews. 

Please report road hazards on state facilities directly to ODOT using the contact information provided in this webpage. Contacting the agency that has jurisdiction over the facility is the best way to ensure a prompt and proper response to the road hazard. 

Are there any risks to me when I utilize the app?
For your own safety, never look at the screen or interact with the app while cycling or executing other tasks.  Be mindful of your surroundings and take all the necessary precautions to ensure your own well-being and safety. 

What happens if I forget to stop or save a trip after a ride?
This is not ideal but also not a big problem. We have added a notification feature that prompts the user to end their trip if they have had an average speed of under 3 mph (i.e. walking or not moving) or over 20 mph (driving a car) for a time span of 3 minutes.

What happens if I delete a trip or report in my app?
Deleting a trip within the app only deletes it from the user’s device. Once the data are uploaded to our secure database, they cannot be deleted by the user.

You can check out information on ORcycle app development here.

Content for this webpage originally published at http://www.pdx.edu/transportation-lab/faq  

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