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  1. #1
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    Strava trail ridership statistics

    Does anyone know of a site/tool that can show historical ridership statistics of a trail system or segments from Strava? I swear I saw something that did exactly this a couple years ago but I have zero recollection of what/where.

    I know Trailforks does this but not everyone is linked so there's a ton of missing data.

    The goal is to have something to show to parks department how much the trail system is used.
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  3. #3
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    The Strava Heat map will only provide some indication of traffic, but will provide no metrics or ability to provide data based numbers that most landowners or municipalities will request.
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  4. #4
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    Strava SELLS the data that the heatmap is based upon (with additional fields). I'm not sure how well that data can be used to show exactly what you're after.

    The only surefire way is to utilize trail counters, because those are going to capture all users - not just those who happen to be using a particular app or data upload site.

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    I don't Strava. I know I'm slow. I'm getting slower. No need for an app to tell me. I'm pretty sure a lot of non-competitive riders feel the same way.

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    I have no interest in trying compete with anyone on Strava, but it's an excellent product for tracking just about every nuance of your riding from a full perspective. For me, it has nothing to do with speed or being competitive. Even though many use it for segment competitiveness, I have yet to figure why some see it only for that.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by andytiedye View Post
    I don't Strava. I know I'm slow. I'm getting slower. No need for an app to tell me. I'm pretty sure a lot of non-competitive riders feel the same way.

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    Is this just a standard cut and paste reply you have for anything with the key word Strava? Because your response had absolutely nothing to do with the OPs question.

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  8. #8
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    The heat map could give a basic visual to the interested parties, but probably isn't detailed enough for funding. If installing trail counters is not feasible, purchasing the data from Strava is probably the best bet.
    Our local Natural Areas program just completed a 2-year trail traffic study with multiple counters spread among 3 natural areas. The counters discerned the difference between bikes and pedestrians. It was surprising to learn that bike traffic is actually a smaller percentage of total use than expected.
    Last edited by sgltrak; 1 Week Ago at 08:57 PM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgltrak View Post
    The counters discerned the difference between bikes and pedestrians. It was surprising to learn that bike traffic is actually a smaller percentag of total use than expected.
    Hmmm...perhaps we should be careful what we ask for?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    your response had absolutely nothing to do with the OPs question.
    Doesn't it? Using Strava to determine how many riders use a trail will undercount significantly, because they would only count Strava users.


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  11. #11
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    We're getting way off topic here, but...

    I do not think any legitimate study or validation of rider participation would place significant or exclusive weight on the sole use of Strava participants. Strava data should/would be used as contributing tool and not as a decisive factor.

    To think otherwise would be a very naive assumption.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by andytiedye View Post
    Using Strava to determine how many riders use a trail will undercount significantly, because they would only count Strava users.


    You cannot get absolute trail use numbers from it. I don't see where anyone ever said you could. trail counters are going to be the only way to get absolute numbers for a given interval. what it CAN be used for is to compare relative use (one trail in the system vs. another).

    in a situation where a small nonprofit is trying to figure out how to get some numbers of ANY kind to present to a land manager, these kinds of things need to be considered in the equation. Do you have enough money to buy a high quality trail counter(s) that can distinguish user types? Do you have enough volunteers to put people at trailheads or at points along the network to do manual user counts? Do you have money to purchase pre-packaged data? Are you so small that you have to rely on whatever you can get for free, and what one or two people can do in just a couple hours?

    Because I have a small data analysis curiosity streak, I think it might be an interesting question to compare strava's data with physical counts done by people and/or trail counters. Physical counts will always be better for land manager presentations, but they're always going to be either money or resource-intensive. Coupling these with occasional trailhead surveys (how far/how long did you ride today type questions so you can try to tease out an average distance traveled per user metric) is probably also a good idea. In some respects, trail passes/fees can be useful, because the land manager will be able to collect data based on pass sales. Depending on how the system is structured, the land manager might only get metrics on how many riders purchase passes, or maybe they'll go so far as to scan/count passes as they enter the park, and could then start looking at visit frequency.

  13. #13
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    If you look at the leaderboard for any segment it will show you how many people have ridden it in a given period (day/month/year/all time) and you can also filter by runners/hikers that use Strava. As far as I know theres no way to look at a specific time period like August.

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    ^^^ Yeah, I just looked at a popular segment and I had never really looked at the details of the Leaderboard before, but it does provide more information than I would have thought. There is likely some good information there, albeit limited to users.
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    Before there was Strava, if we wanted numbers we used to count attendance at ride events and races. To drive the point home we stated our findings in "user miles", which was pretty standard for other user groups. At one particular event where we had 3 classes of racers on measured trail distances, plus one day of open riding, we did the math. It showed that mountain bike user miles were orders of magnitude greater than any other user group, confirming that the total mileage of mountain bike trails in the area was woefully under-proportioned for the user group. We also extrapolated training miles from total races miles. It's a random number, but it demonstrates the potential for trail need and utilization.

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  16. #16
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    Oh i just saw this at the top of a segment in small font: 10,441 Attempts By 586 People

    Though it's just an all time total and it won't show data for this year (other than people count), at least it's something.

    I googled around last night for a good while and couldn't find anything. I remember looking at a breakdown by year and comparing our trail to a neighboring trail in total rides. Guess it must have went poof on the internet. Wonder if there was some kind of api change that broke it, causing the poof.
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  17. #17
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    I'm the land manager of a local trail network and started using a trail counter a couple of years ago to build some stats to help me justify trail expansions and for usage statistics on grant applications.

    This is the one I use: TrailMaster Infrared Trail Monitors - world leaders in infrared trail monitoring equipment. Providing game cameras and trail cameras, trail counters and traffic counters.

    I have been know to peek through the strava segments to get an idea on where people are from that are riding. We have a campground in the rec area as well so we do have some that come from out of town

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    Though it's just an all time total and it won't show data for this year (other than people count), at least it's something.
    Well, it does indicate for a given segment, All time, Year, Month, Week and Today for some accountable metrics and all of this can be further broken down by men, women or all.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    Well, it does indicate for a given segment, All time, Year, Month, Week and Today for some accountable metrics and all of this can be further broken down by men, women or all.
    If one is concerned about the number of runners, one can also usually find a similar segment already in place to get a count of (STRAVA user) runners for comparison to the number of (STRAVA user) riders. If no similar run segment is in place but the person inquiring suspects enough runner use to be significant, one could create a run segment to match the existing ride segment and I believe the past data would populate the segment leader boards to allow the comparison.

  20. #20
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    Wee took a somewhat deep dive into the heat map question a few years back in the EC subforum. You can follow the link, although there is some local politics and we get sidetracked alot.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    Note also that the global heatmap can influence the popularity of trails, rather than just document it.

    Riders new to an area who use this tool are likely to look for the bright lines on the map and ride them.

    Popular trails get more popular, faint trails get fainter.

    Some more considerations:

    - The heatmaps work not by lines, but by trackpoints. Since most GPSs log by time interval, this means that trails that are typically ridden slower will be brighter than those ridden faster, all other things being equal.

    - Heatmap heat is relative. It takes a decent number of passes to get a trail to show up at all on the map if popular trails are in the same area. There are a number of obscure trails that I ride and log to strava that are too faint to see on the map. I am not worried about secrecy on any of these, FTIW.

    - Winter riding on frozen everything has potential to distort things with the rise of fatbike popularity. When the heatmap trail goes up the river, that might be a sign...
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  21. #21
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    So the park had it's little open house last night about the past and future of our park (which also includes a zoo). They had a board up that had a list of different things that you could vote for as far as what you want to see in the future, and gave us 6 stickers each to vote with.

    The sweet thing is basically 90% of who showed up were mountain bikers! Thus mtb related things got 90% of the vote. So WE ARE FRANKE PARK!

    The only thing I really DID NOT like was a proposed second entrance to the park...which would effectively cut right through and into one of our fav trails as well as ruin a very sweet section of woods. Completely unnecessary. I would imagine that this was more of an idea than something that was going to be planned though...at least I hope.
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