Three ways to look at flows and movement in cities

Ever since the smartphone companies can gather lots of interesting data from our habits, not just on the internet. It has for a long time played a big role in how people move around in a store or a shopping center. Now we are taking it outside. I have started to become more fascinated about flows and movement in cities. This data can be used for city planning, property transactions or just planning your day. Here are three services to look at flows in cities:

Google Maps —

This might be the most well-known service of them all, but perhaps the weakest. In this picture I put in a center spot in Stockholm to a more suburban region. It shows you three possible ways to get to your destination and even if an accident has occurred.

Another awesome tool is Popular Times in Google Maps:

Here you can gather some historical data from Google. This is a famous food court in central Stockholm. Popular times got updated with real time data late last year. You can quickly see that it is not as many people in the court as usual.

Google Maps is a good tool if you want to look at live data, but this post is more about using data for decisions. To make good decisions you need extensive historical data. However, a general rule for the company is: “data goes into Google, but it never comes out”.

Uber Movement —

I was lucky gaining early access to this service. Although Uber Movement only offers looking at four cities (Boston, Manila, Sydney & Washington D.C.) you can get an idea how it can help you in the future. Uber has already said it will roll out in major cities where they operate in. I find this service more fascinating than Google Maps since you can look at more specific and detailed historical data, which gives you more insight. I could quickly draw the conclusion that if you live in northern Sydney you can get into the city center faster in regards of time and distance.

You can also put an origin location and download data for all available destinations to compare them. This data is highly valuable according to me if used right.

Bumbee Labs —

I should start of saying that this is not a free service, but reading about this startup makes me think that they can offer all your needs if you are serious about using this kind of information for your business. Here you can not only look at amount of visitors in a city or store, but also dwell time, which means how much time people spend in an area. According to them, they have made a solution for the biggest retail chain in Sweden where they can see what type of ketchup you are looking at and for how long. The company also has proof that the actual most visited areas is not always the same as the public or investors think. In the long-term they think this kind of data of flows will be an important part for the valuation of commercial properties.