King County Metro is the 8th largest transit agency in North America serving the Seattle metro area.
Metro provides bus, paratransit, vanpool, and water taxi services to the Seattle metropolitan area in addition to operating the Seattle Streetcar, Sound Transit Link light rail, and Sound Transit Express bus services.
King County Metro licenses CommonPaths and manages the overall project.
MV Transportation is the largest privately owned passenger transportation contracting services ﬁrm in North America and a leader in providing the specialized on-demand ADA-compliant transportation of persons with disabilities and the elderly.
MV provides paratransit, fixed-route, public and private shuttle, and student transportation services, partnering with over 200 city and county government transit agencies, school districts, universities, airports and corporations.
MV manages CommonPaths' development activities.
Built with the convergence of credible data in mind, CommonPaths enriches pathway data by integrating data from the crowdsourced and community data-governed OpenStreetMap, calculating the slope gradient from USGS Digital Elevation Model, and reviewing it using a field assessment mobile app. Data collected and distributed via the CommonPaths application can serve as the basis for automated accessibility condition analysis across an entire region, pedestrian network connectivity analysis for a variety of user mobility conditions, and provide granular and automated pedestrian pathway navigation instructions similar to what vehicle experience today through in-vehicle GPS units.
CommonPaths overcomes the “siloing” of pedestrian data by leveraging OpenStreetMap and realizing collaboration between the public and public agencies. It enables jurisdictions and agencies to integrate proprietary or sensitive data into a single framework that seamlessly assimilates input from the public, as they report a change in conditions or new conditions emerge. This ensures that all participants in the system and the general public benefit from the others’ efforts, thereby eliminating redundant data collection by overlapping jurisdictions and providing immediate value for the public through regular updates to the core dataset: OpenStreetMaps. At its core, this system is allowing the flow from community collected and validated data to the pathway program and field-validated pathway program data back to the public for validation.
"CommonPaths' novel approach to pedestrian pathway data collection has revolutionized the way King County Metro collects data and assesses pathways in the built environment, which will lead to more accurate routing instructions for pedestrian and enable new tools and analysis techniques for measuring transit system accessibility, while reducing overall cost, complexity and uncertainty for the agency."
Think about how you might look up directions to drive to the store. Apple, Google, or Bing maps would have a route ready for you in less than 10 seconds. That's because we collect standardized data for all vehicle roadways. Things like number of lanes, speed limit, road type, one-way or two-way, and many more are collected and stored for easy use.
But what if you decided to walk there?
You would want a path suggested based on safety and quickness using pedestrian oriented infrastructure. Sidewalks being the primary facilitator of pedestrians akin to the same relationship that cars and roads hold. So you would expect to have the same granular level of data collected and accessible for sidewalks. This is not the current reality.
Pedestrian data is focused on the characteristics of paths that people would use to traverse an area.
As the primary method of transportation for the world’s population, the need for high-quality pathway data is immense. The needs of pedestrians and users of mobility devices are different from those of vehicles. Beyond navigation and location data, each pathway’s key attributes and potential obstructions provide critical information to people and entities seeking safe, secure travel.
Unfortunately, pathway data collection is often not coordinated across jurisdictions and agencies; instead, it is collected in non-standard formats without a common schema. This has led to jurisdictions conducting redundant work to collect, catalog, and describe pedestrian pathway assets – resulting in incompatible and often unusable data that is hyper-specific to a jurisdiction’s needs.
The current state of municipal data continues to perpetuate injustices in communities globally. We are experiencing an egregious value system that places cars above people and the "average" user above people with disabilities. This has led to an unacceptably large gap in functionality between automotive and pedestrian pathway data - especially when you consider that being a pedestrian encompasses all of us.
CommonPaths is a modern GIS application including mobile and web services that enables the collection and distribution of pedestrian data anywhere in the world. Using a common data platform we can assess pathways for people if all ability levels and comply with ADA standards by mapping sidewalks and pedestrian pathways. CommonPaths provides a solution that leverages existing data from OpenStreetMap (OSM), United States Geological Survey (USGS), and general transit feed specification (GTFS).
CommonPaths is a multi-tenant system that allows organizations to collaborate while they contribute to this critical public data set. By globally standardizing the way we collect pedestrian data, we move that much closer to improving the lives of everyone.