A new smartphone app for collecting travel info
Transportation agencies need travel behavior data to plan changes to their networks, systems, and policies. They'll soon be able to purchase a new smartphone application called Daynamica, developed and patented by a U of M research team, to collect that important information more easily and for less cost than traditional methods.
The researchers, led by Humphrey School associate professor Yingling Fan, are in the final stages of creating a startup company and a licensing agreement with the University to sell Daynamica and its services.
This is the first patent and first startup company based on research completed at the Humphrey School, according to Associate Dean Carissa Slotterback.
"The work of Dr. Fan and her colleagues is a perfect example of the opportunities to use research to create products and outcomes that support practitioners in building healthy communities," Slotterback says. "Her work has also connected to classes, creating opportunities for students to work at the forefront of transportation data and technology."
Fan says Daynamica is a more efficient way to collect and process detailed data on how people get from place to place—driving or walking, biking or taking transit. It combines smartphone GPS sensing with advanced statistical and machine-learning techniques to automatically detect, identify, and summarize attributes of daily activity and travel periods. The app also allows users to view and add notes to the information at their convenience.
"All of these factors are critical for understanding people's travel choices," Fan says. "Daynamica gives us the best of both worlds: It captures many more dimensions of travel behavior data than either GPS sensing or travel surveys can do alone."