Bike route site adds transit, plans to expand statewide

Cyclopath, a handy bike-route website developed by faculty and students at the University of Minnesota’s Computer Science and Engineering Department, is expanding statewide.

MnDOT is providing the funds for the project, which will start this fall and take about a year and a half to complete. Professor Loren Terveen says it’s a big task — the Cyclopath team will have to pull data from MnDOT as well as local governments to figure out things like road type, speed limit, shoulder width and whether there are designated bike paths in the area where a user requests a route.

For now, Cyclopath has expanded its options for commuters in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area. The site now allows users to add Metro Transit buses or trains to their bike route. That option includes scheduling, so there’s no need to go to the Metro Transit trip planner if you’re preparing a route that involves bike and bus.

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Another addition for users is the ability to share a route with a friend via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook.

An Android app was also released earlier this summer, allowing people with Android phones to have Cyclopath track their route or provide a new route given their current location.

Twin Cities bicyclists are surely taking advantage of the bike option on Google Maps, but Terveen says it isn’t the same as Cyclopath.

“We have a number of benefits that they don’t have,” he said. “Routes can be personalized based on ratings.”

Cyclopath is open content, so besides ratings, users can add edits and comments so that the routes the site spits out are constantly improving, Terveen said.

“We’ve done studies that show we’ve actually increased the quality of routes that we generate using user inputs,” he said.

Cyclopath has about 2,500 registered users. During bike season, up to 20 registered users log in per day and about 100 route requests per day are processed for people who don’t log in.

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