Public participation geographic information system (PPGIS) as a method for active travel data acquisition

Mohammad Anwar Alattar* (Corresponding Author), Caitlin Cottrill, Mark Beecroft

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Promoting active travel (AT) requires informed transportation decisions relating to issues such as planning, safety, and infrastructure, tailored to user needs. To facilitate such a process, a new stream of research has emerged that utilizes social fitness networks (SFNs), such as Strava, to obtain user AT data. However, SFN datasets exhibit bias towards certain types of users (e.g., fitness-oriented cyclists, males, young users). In order to overcome this limitation, we tested a Public Participation Geographic Information System (PPGIS) as a primary data collection method and post-hoc tool to evaluate and complement SFNs by paying special attention to cycling data. In particular, PPGIS was administered in the City of Glasgow via 816 participants partitioned into Strava and non-Strava users. Spatial and contextual information was determined from the collected data. Statistical analyses demonstrate that PPGIS non-Strava users were distinct from PPGIS Strava users, as the latter tend to be associated with certain characteristics (i.e., younger, more fitness-oriented, proficient in smart devices), indicating the need for a complementary dataset. Spatially, a weak correlation (r = 0.22) between the route choices of PPGIS cyclist users and those of Strava indicates inconsistencies between the two; however, the origins and destinations were moderately positively correlated (r = 0.53 and r = 0.48, respectively). Further, statistically significant differences were observed between PPGIS Strava users and PPGIS non-Strava users, inferring the need for a supplementary tool. Our findings imply that PPGIS is a promising tool to fill these gaps.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103180
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Early online date29 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2021


  • Public participation
  • Crowdsourced
  • Active travel
  • Strava
  • Social fitness network


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