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couling
Shkhara
Status: Gathering Kudos

Others have pointed out that Strava route finder sometimes uses very unsafe roads.  Frequently the excuse for this is that Strava uses OpenStreetMap as the underlying map.  But that doesn't cover the issue of what is safe or otherwise feels safe.  OpenStreeMap doesn't record how cyclist feel about particular legal routes and doesn't record actual cases of incidents.

The issue of unsafe roads has been a huge problem since cycling route finders began.  Strava's heatmap based is a really powerful tool for finding fun rides. However mapping the roads that cyclists frequently use only get's half the picture.

Feature request:

Let cyclists mark sections of roads a "no-go" or "do not use". If this was immediately part of the Routes UI it could either record for just that one route or all future routes for the user.

While it would be really useful for just that user, it would also provide information to Strava so that Strava could build up an inverse heatmap of undesirable roads to overlay with the heatmap of popular roads.

Eg: if I have a ride which contained a really hair raising section of busy and dangerous road, the first thing I do when I get home is to "fix" the route to avoid it.  Currently, I must pull the route off the undesirable road.  But what would be much better is to simply mark that section of road as "no go" and let the route finder figure out the alternative.

Why heatmap isn't enough

Here in the UK there's a fairly obvious collection of unsafe / undesirable roads.  Literally any road number starting with "A" and a speed limit above 30mph with no off road cycle path (eg: A34).  These are legal for cyclists! But it most other respects they are a motorway / freeway.

And yet A roads too often get used in strava route finder and show up on the heatmap.  One explanation for this is that local knowledge can sometimes trump the danger.  For example A roads can be subject to a lot of slow moving traffic at peak times and commuter cyclists will take advantage of the traffic jams. "Sure I'll cycle along that road at 8:30 am on my way to work, but at any other time I'd get killed"

It is complex, because sometimes an A road is fine for 100m if there's a disjointed cross roads.  Sometimes you just have to cross the A road, and that's legal and (mostly) fine.  But that's a totally different story to a route taking me down 5-6 miles of A road.

A heatmap marking a road is undesirable would be a good way to counter the inevitble truth that undesirable roads also show up in the heatmap sometimes.

 

Mods please note: This is not remotely related to this other feature request

11 Comments
overrandom
Mt. Kenya

Sometimes an otherwise popular route can have a temporary hazard, or a temporary closure. Presently, the only way you can find out about these hazards is by word of mouth, or by seeing if Segments nearby have any recent activity. However, that's still guessing and doesn't really tell the whole story. Perhaps the only reason it has no recent activity is simply because no one has gone there, or it could be that the road is demolished while a bridge is being built.

This idea is to allow users to create an advisement that is visible on Maps and Route Builder. The user would select where on the map that this advisement is located, and users of the map would see an exclamation mark icon indicating that there is an advisement here. 
Advisements would be visible for either a set duration (for example, the user discovers that the road is closed until a set date) or 30 days by default. During the default 30 day period, if no further confirmation that the hazard is still there, the advisement is automatically removed.


Some usages of the advisement feature would be-

  • This road is closed until 1/22/24 as the county is working on a new bridge. County Road 5 is an option for bypass 1 mile before this. 
  • The road is being reconstructed and is presently gravel. You may be able to pass if you can handle gravel. Construction notice said this would be complete by Spring. 
  • There is nearby construction causing a lot of debris on the side of the road. 
  • This park path is part of the annual community charity race event this weekend and is expected to have a lot of runners.

 

These advisements would be different than map updates to the map data. Indeed, for some simple hazards, it's simply too much to get Mapbox updated with a closed route, only for it to open shortly after. Or, a temporary road type, such as Gravel, would be too much to get the entire mapping data updated to reflect Gravel/Dirt for just temporarily. 

The advisements wouldn't dictate a user's Route Builder options, and would still automatically create routes thru the advisement unless otherwise selected by the user to avoid advisements. If a route crosses an advisement, when creating a Route the user would be notified "This route contains active advisories. Click here to view them." It is up to the user to determine if the advisement affects them, Strava can't/won't make that determination for them.

On a completed activity, if a user passed thru an active advisory, Strava may send an optional survey to the user to see if the advisement is still needed. This would be useful in cases where a user created an advisement that's set to end a month from now, but somehow this activity was completed anyway. 

If Strava detects a certain volume of activities contained something similar to a U-Turn or activity ending, the most recent athletes may be sent an optional notice to ask if an advisement needs to be created. Strava will only create an advisement if the user then proceeds to follow the guidance to make one, Strava won't automatically create it.

To help with providing context with an advisement, Strava users can also comment on advisements. For example, if an advisement says the road is torn up and is gravel, a user can comment by saying "It's gravel, but if you are on a MTB or thick gravel tires, it should be fine."


The hope is that this allows athletes on Strava to get the most our of their plan, and be able to accomplish without surprises. 

Status changed to: Gathering Kudos
Jane
Moderator Moderator
Moderator

Hello @overrandom 

​​Thanks for submitting your idea. It has been reviewed by our moderation team and is now open to voting.

I would also encourage you to check out this related suggestion about Routes.  Thanks again.


Jane (she/her)
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

overrandom
Mt. Kenya

Thanks Jane for the heads up about the related idea! I added a vote for it. If I may suggest, my idea would also be useful for those that are browsing the map but not necessarily creating a route, so that bit is where it would differ I think.

For example, I am familiar in my home map, and know the directions natively without sending a route to my bike computer (if the activity I have is say a very standard activity that's the same path every time). Maybe to compare to starting a drive in a car- I may open Google Maps to look at a Traffic map before I start a work commute just incase there's a wreck icon or a big red line on the road.

The Map on Strava could be used similarly where someone takes a quick peak if there are any recent advisements on their main roads.

Deimus85
Shkhara

It would be a really neat feature for the route building capability to be able to mark roads you don’t like to ride. That way, when planning routes, it can be readily visible on the map what sections of road you don’t enjoy riding. Additionally, this feature would route you around those roads or avoid those roads when auto-generating a route. Obviously we can go further into that rabbit hole, like marking if you don’t mind crossing over the section of road you don’t like, or actually do mind. Another example of further customization would be direction, like if one side of the road has a big shoulder you like to ride, but the other side sucks, so just avoid going that one way on the road.

i really think that a feature like this would greatly improve the routing feature that a lot of folks use Strava for, as well as provide an additional layer of safety when building routes. The heatmap feature is really great for helping to find safe roads for cycling, but sometimes popularity doesn’t mean you prefer it. Anyways, let me know what you think and I can further elaborate if needed! Cheers and keep up the great work!

Runnur
Mt. Kenya

I like the idea a lot. Maybe advisements on areas would be useful as well: hunting, flooding, etc..

johnhugoellis
Mt. Kenya

Hi Jane,

Do you know if anything has been done on this? I had the same thought yesterday, and it's why I signed up for community this morning. I was on a ride and there was a greenway closure due to the closing of a bridge. I looked up news regarding the closure, and it looks like the greenway will not be repaired until 2025 at best. The easiest re-route I could come up on my mobile device added about 4 miles to my ride. At temporary advisement period going into early 2025 would be perfect here! 

Report on bridge closure: (https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/Home/Components/News/News/18713/36#:~:text=It%20will%20not%20reopen%20....)

Strava activity with geo-located pics of bridge closure attached: (https://www.strava.com/activities/10688527571


Status changed to: Gathering Kudos
Jane
Moderator Moderator
Moderator

Thanks for submitting your idea. It has been reviewed by our moderation team and is now open to voting.

The idea title was edited so it will be easier for others to search and vote on. Thank you for your contribution.


Jane (she/her)
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

Karyasport63
Mt. Kenya

Hello,

thank you for opening this topic which is very interesting! I've been looking for an idea like this for 2 years with no results. In fact, I created an association for people with disabilities and we go on 100% electric quad rides (Quadrix company) in France, and there are inaccessible paths (very large stones, paths that are too narrow, bridges with 2 steps, stairs...)
Just yesterday, I had to turn back twice because I couldn't get through (see my route https://www.strava.com/activities/11392230829

I would like to know if this great project will be well voted for? Because it will be very useful!

I propose several actions on this system which would help us a lot:
- indicate with a real-time remark a road/path with a danger or something inaccessible, mark it as a segment, and add photos and comments
- offer color codes, like ski slopes that the user can mark as they want. Maybe create an option only per user, but not for the rest of the world, because everyone has their own vision of difficulties
- when we are recording our mountain bike activity (or other) to be able to zoom in and out and thus see the paths around us that are inaccessible thanks to these color codes and the note.
This allows us to know which path to take or not, and above all to recognize them when creating a new GPX route.

I hope I am clear in my desires 😃
and that the project will be well voted
thank you

Karine
Follow us here to find out about our new activity (https://www.handitouterrain.org/)

 

SteveinCanada
Shkhara

It might be important to also include a timeline for this. Some roads are under construction or maybe change over time. 

KYLERHOLLAND
Mt. Kenya

I would love this feature. I was riding and the road turned into horrible gravel. I would like the ability to manually update roads that I do not want to ride as well. Thanks Strava!

sdfgsd
Shkhara

I like this. I often ride off-road; it's not the route feature that interests me. Its the ability to mark a hazard, know like you can on Waze. When riding off-road, sometimes it is very sandy in the summer, and not passable or in the autumn / winter  trees fall or there is flooding and it's not passable, all these hazards are temporary but occur, and when researching a new route, or looking to ride a route a haven't been on for a while, it would be great to know that yesterday there was a tree blocking the path etc etc