DIY Advocacy Resources Pt. 1: Data Resources
Most people have a sense for the conditions of a street based on their everyday experience. We have an idea which streets are busiest, what intersections feel dangerous, when buses will be delayed, etc.
The CMC has put together this list of online resources to use data to more-deeply understand the conditions in your community, highlight problem areas, and pass that information along to decision makers and take steps to improve the safety and connections in your community.
This post gives you resources with to look at the street and mobility conditions in your community.
Resources for understanding existing conditions
Missouri Statewide Traffic Accident Records System (STARS)
STARS is an online database and interactive map that displays all traffic crashes in the state of Missouri. This database showcases the location, type of crash, severity of crash, type of vehicle involved, the circumstance of the crash, and other information. Users can search for crashes by date, crashes within a specific county or city, by crash types (pedestrian, bicycle, motor vehicle, etc), crash severity (fatal, personal injury, or property damage), as well as other characteristics. This resource is extremely useful for identifying specific trends in traffic crashes, like historic high crash corridors.
The Missouri Department of Transportation’s Traffic Volume Map is an interactive map that displays the annual average daily traffic (AADT) for specific roads across the state. AADT is a useful measurement because it allows advocates and transportation professionals to see specific usage patterns on roads. AADT is useful in determining what types of bike & pedestrian infrastructure can be implemented on a specific roadway. For example, according to the National Association of Transportation Officials (NACTO) any roadway with more than 6,000 AADT and a speed limit of 25 MPH or higher should have a protected bike lane, to make it safe for people of all ages and abilities.
Strava Metro is a service provided by the running and biking tracking app Strava. Strava Metro allows users to see the number of people walking and biking along any stretch of roadway or trail. This tool is especially helpful to document travel patterns and behavior change for people walking and biking over time. However, Strava Metro is not the perfect tool for visualizing bike/ped usage because it only shows count data from those who use the Strava app. It should be noted that Strava Metro service is free, but it is not open to the general public. Strava Metro only allows specific organization to use their services.
Since 2012 St. Louis based active transportation advocacy non-profit Trailnet has collected data on the number of people who walk, bike, or use other forms of non-motorized transportation across the St. Louis region.This effort is meant to estimate the current and future activities and needs for people who walk and bike. Each September numerous volunteers assist in counting people walking and biking across the St. Louis Metro area.
Open Data from the City of St. Louis and Metro/Bi-State
Government agencies like the City of St. Louis, Bi-State/Metro, and others all have open data available on their websites or on ArcGIS online. Data on city streets, zoning, demographics, neighborhood boundaries, equity indicators, bus and train stop locations, and much more are available to the general public. However, for the majority of this data to be visualized you’ll need to use a data visualization tool/software like ArcGIS.
WalkScore is a free online tool that lets users estimate walking distances from specific addresses, and gives ratings on a location’s walkability and bike ability. Along with walking times, it can give travel time estimates by bike, bus and car. It is designed as a real estate tool but offers helpful information for multiple purposes.
AllTransit is a free online source for bus and light rail data. This tool gives metrics on the transit network for cities and counties. It can help visualize gaps in the bus system and give an overview of the network. On its own, it's limited since it’s giving a snapshot of a network, and doesn’t have information on conditions affecting people riding the bus (delays, seating at stops, etc.)