In November 2009, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) unveiled a new app for the iPhone and Android systems called Cycletracks. The app’s release signals a great step forward in municipal data collection and analysis by using mobile technology for social benefit.  By downloading and using the app, San Francisco’s cyclists can record and report their bicycle trips throughout the City.  Along with trip length and duration in time, the user can also report the purpose of the trip: social, exercise, work-related, shopping, errand, etc.

It’s useful enough on an individual basis (ever wanted to know just how far you bike around town?).  But perhaps more importantly, all this data gets aggregated anonymously and sent back to the SFCTA who uses it to inform its sophisticated SF-CHAMP modeling a travel forecasting tool.  SF-CHAMP is used by City planners to determine the effects of land use, development, and other local decisions on travel behavior.

Word is that the app can actually be used anywhere.  Portland, OR has already been in touch with the developers to try to tailor it to their needs.  Might your city be interested?