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Urban Sci. 2017, 1(2), 21; doi:10.3390/urbansci1020021

Promoting Crowdsourcing for Urban Research: Cycling Safety Citizen Science in Four Cities

Department of Geography, University of Victoria, PO Box 1700 STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning, Arizona State University, PO Box 875302, Tempe, AZ 85287-5302, USA
Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), 171 Nepean Street, Suite 200, Ottawa, ON K2P 0B4, Canada
Faculty of Health Science, Simon Fraser University, Blusson Hall, Room 11300, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 May 2017 / Revised: 17 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 21 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crowdsourcing Urban Data)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [524 KB, uploaded 21 June 2017]   |  


People generate massive volumes of data on the Internet about cities. Researchers may engage these crowds to fill data gaps and better understand and inform planning decisions. Crowdsourced tools for data collection must be supported by outreach; however, researchers typically have limited experience with marketing and promotion. Our goal is to provide guidance on effective promotion strategies. We evaluated promotion efforts for, a crowdsourced tool for cycling collisions, near misses, hazards, and thefts. We analyzed website use (sessions) and incidents reported, and how they related to promotion medium (social, traditional news, or in-person), intended audience (cyclists or general), and community context (cycling mode share, cycling facilities, and a survey in the broader community). We compared four Canadian cities, three with active promotion, and one without, over eight months. High-use events were identified in time periods with above average web sessions. We found that promotion was essential for use of the project. Targeting cycling specific audiences resulted in more data submitted, while targeting general audiences resulted in greater age and gender diversity. We encourage researchers to use tools to monitor and adapt to promotion medium, audience, and community context. Strategic promotion may help achieve more diverse representation in crowdsourced data. View Full-Text
Keywords: volunteered geographic information (VGI); social media; data informatics; data quality; data intensive science volunteered geographic information (VGI); social media; data informatics; data quality; data intensive science

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ferster, C.; Nelson, T.; Laberee, K.; Vanlaar, W.; Winters, M. Promoting Crowdsourcing for Urban Research: Cycling Safety Citizen Science in Four Cities. Urban Sci. 2017, 1, 21.

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