Walking down the street in New York City, I see everyone on their cell phones. Nearly everyone is looking down, headphones in, world out. These devices know what you like, what you don’t like, where you are, and where you are going. These small devices we keep in our pockets, offer planners data to create more sustainable and livable cities.
Presently, the focus is on using the data for transportation planning. Everyone is looking for a way to make the morning commute more bearable. Can you even begin to imagine a world without rush hour? By using phone data, it could be possible. Transportation planners can use this data of where and when people are moving and plan around it. Creating the most efficient forms of transportation, and creating more infrastructure to get from point A to point B.
Using data analytics, the future of planning is changing. By collecting locations of individuals in a given area, planners can soon see what forms of transportation are used most and when, which parks are most visited, what areas are people looking to go out to dinner, etc. By using the data caught by our cell phones, it is possible to create cities into bigger and better cultural hubs. There is so much more that can be done with online information than just transportation planning. Access to this data can give planners demographic information, who are we tailoring our city too. It gives an idea of the culture existing among the cities’ population. Data can be collected everywhere, and planners need to start using that information to their advantage. Social media, online forums, and cell phones are publicly outing tons of information that reveal human pattern. Through observing these patterns we can create stronger cities that will draw a wider community.
Transportation is incredibly important, but as young planners, we need to keep planning for the distant future.