Transportation and Property Data User Group Meeting Recap March 2017

by Bob Gradeck

March 23, 2017

Earlier this month, we held data user group meetings, which brought together many different data users to discuss topics related to transportation, real estate, and housing. We’ve been holding data user group meetings since the launch of the Regional Data Center. These meetings allow data users and data providers to:

  • Build relationships with one another
  • Share what they’ve learned about data
  • Provide feedback to data publishers and the Regional Data Center
  • Identify opportunities to adopt data standards and improve data quality
  • Discuss new data priorities, and
  • Collaborate on new projects

Our first-ever transportation user group meeting on March 8th started with a presentation by Adams Carroll, Director of Operations at HealthyRide, Pittsburgh’s bike share system. HealthyRide is a publisher with the Regional Data Center. He discussed how HealthyRide uses data to manage their operations, measure performance, and plan future improvements. He shared a lot of great information, including:

  • HealthyRide finds that their users keep bikes checked-out for about 50 minutes per rental. “Pay as you go” riders in Pittsburgh are charged a flat rate with no overage penalty, so they don’t feel as pressured to return a bike between different segments of their trip. Any analysis of the performance measures of bike share systems should take each program’s pricing model into account.
  • Demographic data is used along with requests from users and data on population density when deciding where to place new stations. HealthyRide is interested in ensuring that they are serving all of Pittsburgh’s communities.
  • HealthyRide will share data with researchers beyond what is released as open data. They do not now collect gps data of bike users due to privacy concerns and stress on battery capacity needed to collect the data.

To close the meeting, we collected a list of outcomes people wanted to achieve with data. We tested a new template, asking participants to list outcomes, and what activities, tools, analyses and data are needed to achieve them. A full list of ideas and datasets are captured in our transportation road map (pun intended).

The next day, we re-convened over 30 of our our property and housing data users at the Knoxville Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. We held our first meeting with this group last March, and used part of the meeting to show progress on some of the tools and data our users asked for, including a Property Data Dashboard and tax lien data. We also asked them to participate in a card sorting exercise to tell us which features are most-important as we develop a comprehensive property mapping tool. We closed the meeting with the same activity used at the transportation meeting, asking attendees to share their outcomes, outputs, and inputs using our template. These ideas and a whole lot more are captured in our property and housing data road map.

We encourage you to add to our road maps for transportation and property and housing data. Your feedback guides our work, and we are dependent on contributions from our data users. Feel free to add your thoughts and ideas directly in the road maps, you know where to find us.