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ASU Wrigley Institute News

September 6, 2018

Woman holding a water bottle standing near bikeThe Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) announced the winners of its annual awards program to honor excellence in the profession. Among those being honored is sustainability scientist Trisalyn Nelson, foundation professor and director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, who is being named the Research Professional of the Year.

“Dr. Nelson’s research contributing to improving bicycling safety data and methods to map bicycle ridership stand out in the field,” said the APBP in its announcement of the award. “Her BikeMaps.org project to capture crowdsourced and official bicycling safety data allows professionals to characterize conditions in which crashes versus near misses are reported and the development of safety predictors along multi-use pathways will have a long-lasting impact on our profession.”

Nelson founded BikeMaps.org in 2014 after a near miss she experienced while riding her bike. Following that incident, Nelson combined her GIS expertise and enthusiasm for biking to create a platform to collect crowdsourced data to identify where crashes, near misses, hazards and bike thefts were taking place. Today, data is being submitted from more than 40 countries.

Bicyclists ride past the bike counter installed at College Avenue and Apache Boulevard.
This data is used to inform local governments of where there are areas of safety concerns. Nelson and her BikeMaps.org team recently worked with the city of Tempe to highlight the 12 most dangerous spots for cyclists.

Her research can also be seen on the ASU campus. Nelson, in collaboration with ASU Parking and Transit Services, installed two bike counters on the Tempe campus in January of this year. These counters collect real-time data that can help inform researchers and ASU officials of the amount of biking taking place on ASU’s Tempe campus.

“It is an honor to be recognized for research that I am so passionate about,” said Nelson. “BikeMaps.org is generating data that is helping planners make better decisions globally. This award recognizes the success of the entire BikeMaps.org team.”

Nelson will be recognized as the Research Professional of the Year at the APBP’s annual meeting in New Orleans later this month.

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