Tonight I’ll be presenting at Transportation Techies (@TechiesDC) (Presenting Quantified Community at #WalkHackNight August 20, Transportation Techies Meetup) walk hack night on the use of population sensors instead of equipping people with wearables to promote physical activity.
Why not wearables to improve population health?
They work for me, but I am not the user.
- They work for me, but the user is not like me. I am not the population we are designing for.
- Many people stop wearing wearables eventually.
- Monitoring of individuals’ activity data raises privacy issues in an employed population.
- It’s expensive to equip and maintain wearables for a lot of people (even if people didn’t stop wearing them as they currently do)
What have we learned with our population sensors?
- We’re able to see our trails/sidewalks in a completely different way – we had no idea that 1,000-1,200 people were walking by most weekdays.
- The inflow and outflow of people to downtown Washington, DC, has a regular rhythm
- The Metropolitan Branch Trail itself has a visual heartbeat when looking at daily pedestrian counts
- We can replicate these findings using different methods – infrared vs computed cell phone video ( thank you @eco_counter and @placemeter )
What can we do?
- We can do things now – we don’t have to equip every human with a device
- We can convert more and more of our activities to ones that include physical activity
- We can see the impact of our work, in near real time, in a privacy protected, efficient, robust way
- We can become systems thinkers and focus on the design of our environment which may impact health much more than the habits of a smaller group of individuals
Why does this matter?
- To improve health, we have to look at the entire population, and there are still significant inequalities
With the addition of a Capital Bikeshare (@bikeshare) station, and a new sidewalk open on the other side of the street, we have more options than ever to model the future of physical activity for a city. Come join us!