Using Cellphone and Fitness App Data for Park Planning

Data from smartphone apps and fitness trackers are helping planners to better understand park usage patterns and plan for new and improved parks.

1 minute read

July 31, 2023, 12:00 PM PDT

By Clement Lau


Close-up of person holding up phone and looking at their smart watch displaying fitness data

Andrey Popov / Adobe Stock

There is no question that the field of parks and recreation has become increasingly data-driven. The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), for example, recently began to use data from fitness trackers and smartphone apps, among many other data sources, to help identify and analyze regional and rural park and recreation needs. 

In this article, park planner Clement Lau discusses the 2022 L.A. Countywide Parks Needs Assessment Plus (PNA+) and how data collected from fitness apps and mobile phones helped park planners better understand park access, use, and visitorship. In addition to smartphone data, planners also employed the latest digital tools to collect, analyze, and visualize community input as part of the PNA+.

Adopted by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors in December 2022, the PNA+ Final Report presents data, maps, analyses, public input, and recommended actions which support additional land conservation and restoration, transit to parks, and other strategies to meet local and regional recreation needs, especially in the most vulnerable communities.

To learn more, please read the source article.

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