Counting for change.

How Straatvinken is using dataviz to improve our streets.

Last week we talked about our partnership with Project Mahi, and how communicating the data captured by autonomous vessels has the potential to be hugely valuable in monitoring and reversing unwanted marine trends.

This week we want to share how dataviz can help with our feet firmly on solid ground.

The problem

It is no secret that traffic in Belgium is an issue with mobility being a major priority, particularly in recent years where car numbers continue to rise.

The initiative

Straatvinken annually measures, documents and communicates the ‘health’ of the traffic mix within Belgian streets. With 2018 being the first year, and contained only to the cities of Antwerp and Leuven, Straatvinken serves as the start point in tracking progress being made to improve traffic splits.

The concept is simple, registered participants count the different types of traffic (foot, cycle, private vehicle, public transport, truck etc) to pass by within a specific hour on a set day. Recorded results are then shared with Straatvinken analysts through the app or via post if a paper form was completed. Analysed results are visualised via our tailormade interactive platform to deliver the information on areas as granular as street level.

Visualising the results not only provides the information on certain areas with contextual detail such as road and footpath widths, but also allows for the progress to be tracked each year. With a goal to reduce the current modal split from 25/75 to 50/50 by 2030, there needs to be at least 2-3% shift each year, every year in order to achieve this. If successful, 50% of all trips should eventually be made by bicycle, train, tram, bus, taxi, water bus, subsystems etc, and only 50% by car.

The viz

An easy-to-use interface was key for Straatvinken’s interactive results platform so that everyone, no matter how technical or data-savvy, could explore the results. Adhering to some of the design principles for dashboards such as being user centric, showing context and avoiding being caught up with too much detail, each counter’s specific report can also  be downloaded in pdf format – that’s over 1500 individual reports freely available with one simple click.

The benefits

Datylon is proud to be behind another local initiative to improve our environment and counter unwanted trends. Here, we see that by visualising data collected by the people, about how citizens interact within a context, we can all better understand transport behaviours and even generate further interest by others when trends are uncovered.

Making information like this accessible and creating a shared understanding not only makes everyone more accountable, but can also help to improve the quality of life.

Making data social can bring about change and do good in the world.

Get involved?

This year saw over 1400 citizens register for the annual Straatvinken. The more citizen scientists we can involve in the years to come, the better! Register your interest for 2019 count and check out this years results here.