Spin is partnering with Populus, StreetLight Data and Gehl to share data and tools with advocates to make streets safer

We believe in the transformation of our streets to be safe, livable, and just places for all. We all have a right to travel without fear of injury of death, to enjoy the places we move, and to benefit from equitable access to opportunity on our streets. Advocates across the country are fighting for these rights, and we want to help.

Open for applications on October 1, 2019, the pilot phase of the Mobility Data for Safer Streets initiative, or MDSS, will award up to 5 advocates around the country with a unique suite of data sources, software tools and physical equipment to gather, analyze, understand, and present data for streets advocacy.

Each advocate will need to deploy these tools and data sources in support of a specific street re-design/transformation project over the course of the pilot year: advocates might consider using their awards to gather critical data to make the case to a city department; monitor the success of an existing project to ensure the city remains committed; or highlight the need for a project based on an understanding of multimodal traffic in a neighborhood.


What can advocates expect?

Spin’s Mobility Data for Safer Streets initiative, or MDSS, offers a number of valuable benefits to winning organizations.

1. Access to the Streetlight Data platform

StreetLight Data is excited to offer a year’s access to their multimodal traffic data analysis platform. StreetLight Data’s web-based application consolidates and visualizes pedestrian, bicycle, car, and truck traffic patterns across North America. With on-demand historic data for before-and-after comparisons, StreetLight provides mobility planning tools used by traffic engineers, cities and Departments of Transportation. StreetLight will provide limited training and support.

2. Access to the Populus micromobility platform

Populus is excited to offer a year’s access to Spin scooter and bike-share data on their micromobility platform. Populus’ platform securely aggregates and analyzes vehicle and trip data for shared bikes, scooters, and cars for transportation policy and planning. It helps cities and key stakeholders easily visualize and obtain actionable insights from mobility data to help them improve the safety, equitable access, and our streets. Populus will also provide limited training and support.

3. Access to gehl’s public life survey tool

Gehl will provide advocates with beta access to their ’Public Space Public Life’ (PSPL) digital survey toolkit.

Gehl is an urban design and strategy consultancy focused on making cities for people. Their team recently developed a pioneering digital platform for planning, completing, and analyzing public life surveys. The PSPL survey, refined over decades of research and field work, is a unique tool for studying the physical and social elements of a place: how people behave in urban environments. This data can help answer important questions about designing better public spaces. Learn more here about the origins and use of this valuable toolkit.  

4. Data gathering kit

A special physical data gathering kit, consisting of:

  • A professional-grade radar speed gun, for tracking vehicle speeds.

  • A time lapse camera, for visual tracking of slower changes to the streetscape*.

  • A bike-pedestrian count sensor, for generating accurate counts of people walking and biking on a street segment or at an intersection*.

*If the camera or sensor are installed permanently on any property, this must be with permission of the owner of the property.


Who can apply

To apply, an organization must:

  • Be a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on multimodal advocacy, livable streets, Vision Zero, community healthcare, environmental justice or other goals related to human-centered streets.

  • Have at least 2 years of active history, permanent staff, and a track record of project delivery.

Advocates will be selected from a variety of geographies and city sizes.


How to apply

The initiative opens for applications October 1, and will remain open on a rolling basis (but no later than December 31 2019) until the 5 initial awards have been made. The pilot will run from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020.

Interested organizations should apply here.

Any application must include:

  • An existing proposed project or projects they wish to use the mobility data and other tools for, as well as an advocacy target/audience (see below for criteria)

  • Their theory of change for the impact of the data and other tools

  • How they propose to use the data and other tools, on what timeline, and for influencing/communicating to whom.

  • Any past experiences with data gathering and analysis

  • How they propose to measure success for their use of the data and other tools

Project criteria

Any organization applying to join the initiative must have a specific, physical street transformation project in mind, in relation to which the data and tools will be used. The organization must also have a specific advocacy target (audience) in mind, for communicating the results of the data gathering, visualization, or analysis.

Spin will consider any opportunity for a street re-design project at any stage of development, as long as the applicant can articulate clearly their theory of change for seeing that project to fruition, and convey a key role for the use of better data in moving the project along. 

We consider highly viable projects to be:

  • Led and owned by city traffic engineers, street engineers, or planners

  • Focused on street re-design, with safety, livability and/or justice benefits

  • Not yet implemented, but approaching approval or other key decision point, or otherwise within a year of implementation according to published plans or schedules

  • Experiencing engineering, political or community challenge, e.g. objections from traffic engineering; resistance from a political leader; or pushback from local neighbors

  • In their current form, lacking consideration of or basis in analyses of multimodal traffic flows other than cars and trucks

Relevant and typical audiences/targets might include, but need not be limited to:

  • Planners, engineers, and leadership at city departments of transportation.

  • Local, state, or federal politicians.

  • Local residents and community organizations.

  • Owners of local businesses, or leaders at a chamber of commerce.


Illustrations by the wonderfully talented Megan Dillon