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New Ride Report app gives ordinary Portlanders the power to evaluate streets

Posted by on September 11th, 2015 at 4:12 pm

ride report map

A map of more stressful and less stressful bike routes,
created by Ride Report beta testers. Knock CEO
William Henderson warns that there’s not enough
data yet to draw conclusions.
(Image: Ride Report)

Everybody who bikes in Portland has opinions about the best and worst streets to bike on. But there’s no clear way to combine those opinions into the sort of information that officials can actually use.

Enter the new mobile app that’s currently available only in Portland: Ride Report.

Launched as an iPhone app this week (with an Android version in the works), Ride Report provides an extremely simple way for users to answer a single question about each bike ride they take: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Here’s a useful animation from the company that shows how the process works:

Using tens of thousands of quick updates like that, the company behind the app can then create something extremely useful: a citywide log of problem spots for biking.

ride report map

When we reported about this effort in July, Knock Software CEO William Henderson described how this tool could combine with on-street experiments to create powerful arguments for better bike infrastructure.

“They could put this temporary bike lane in and say, ‘Look how much safer people feel overnight,'” Henderson said.

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Henderson, a 2008 Reed graduate and former top mobile engineer for Square, founded Knock Software in 2013. The company had an App Store hit with Knock to Unlock and is now reinvesting its profits in a multi-pronged project that Henderson hopes will improve bike transportation by making it easier for governments to get feedback directly from a broader range of constituents.

He hopes you’ll be one of those constituents. If you’d like to help out, here’s the link.

Not in Portland? Sit tight. Knock says it plans to launch the Ride Report app in other cities next year.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Chris Anderson
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It’s worth noting that Ride Report is not only good for cycling, it’s genuinely cutting edge tech, too. Props to the Knock team on doing it right.

Christopher Jones
Guest
Christopher Jones

The ride quality data they’ve gathered just with the initial beta testers has been fantastic. Can’t wait to see the map get colored in with good and bad markers as more folks jump in (https://ride.report/map). Good job, guys!

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

It shows SE Harrison through Ladd’s Addition to be higher stress than SE Clinton? Apparently still has some bugs to be worked out…

ethan
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ethan

every Portlander*

*with an iPhone

AndyC of Linnton
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AndyC of Linnton

The red splotch is SE MLK? By East End, My Father’s Place, etc?
It looks as if there are some missing street names on the maps. Unless I’m not reading it right.

Tyler Bradford
Guest
Tyler Bradford

I heard every iPhone user here to contact the company and ask them to focus efforts on releasing an Android version. I work in tech, I completely understand why they released an iPhone version first, and from the comments here it’s obvious that they are following the right path for their initial app release. But here’s the important thing;

IPhone users are consistently of a higher income bracket than Android users when aggregated over a large user base. So what this app will provide is a lot of data provided by economically advantaged users. Which is not to say that that data is invaluable. But what’s really valuable is ride data for underserved locations in Portland. Like, oh, say, east of Mount Tabor.

Not trying to throw shade on the overall goals here. More information about cycling stress points is always a good thing. But if you like the app, and you care about cycling in Portland overall, I’d say it would behoove you to push the developers to let people who can’t afford an iPhone into the party. Even if you’re not one of those people.

mw
Guest
mw

I tried to install this a few days ago. It downloaded fine, but then stopped during installation and said “Ride Report could not be installed at this time”

iphone 4S, OS 7.1.1

Benjamin Kerensa
Guest
Benjamin Kerensa

Perhaps a little more effort but likely to help a lot more bicyclists is to update data on Google Mapmaker and make roads good for bicycles or ones that bikes should avoid and mark condition https://www.google.com/mapmaker

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

My only problem (<<<for the lack of a better word) with this app is that those people that are the most likely to download it and use it consistently are more likely to be the ones that are likely predisposed to giving thumbs down.

Again I know what the intent of the app is and I like the idea (I don't ride with GPS and this app won't change that), but if someone is looking at these maps and all they see is orange and red lines (because of the potential bias of it's users I mentioned above) it could also be yet another excuse for those "interested and concerned" to keep from saddling up.

Though over all, I'm a data guy and overall I love more complete data, especially considering how lacking it is for bicycle use over all.

HJ
Guest
HJ

I must confess to being a little stymied by the thought of trying to rate my commute using their system. I come from west side over Cornell Rd. and out to the airport. There’s such a huge variation in the nature of the roads I ride that it’s a little hard to rate them all together. Cornell is always going to be a stressful mess with close calls more often than not. Most of the roads I ride on eastside on the other hand are zero stress. How am I supposed to rate a ride like that? Half of it is awful, half is great. Pretty consistently.
Should I just pick stressful every time? While well deserved for Cornell it’d be extremely unfair to all the roads I take that are empty and lovely.
Just feel really confused.

matt picio
Guest
matt picio

Should be cool once they straighten out their distribution and I can actually install it on my iPhone 6. Apparently since they are not trusted and I am on iOs9, it won’t let me install it.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

waiting for the version for phones that are twice as popular as the version they provided…

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

I was able to load it pretty easily on my older iPhone 5. And it worked well within its current limitations (as discussed earlier by others). It made my already quick draining iPhone battery drain very fast. (Faster than my TomTom app when in use.) It also goes in the sleep mode when your battery goes below 20%. This caused my last trip to have a “yellow” circle able next to it for the last few days.

The other difficulty is seeing my completed trip on my phone map but not on the master map. (I went into new areas unmapped on the public map – downtown Vancouver and the new Portland bridge, but these areas do not yet seem to reflect my ride.) Perhaps it takes more than 2 or 3 days to be uploaded and aggregated.

Brendan Treacy
Guest
Brendan Treacy

Great App so far. Love it!