Replica raises $41 million to deepen data-driven decision-making about the built environment

We’re excited to announce that we’ve raised $41 million in a Series B round led by Founders Fund and with participation from all current investors including Innovation Endeavors, Sidewalk Labs, Rise of the Rest Fund, and Firebrand.

When Replica started as a project inside of Sidewalk Labs more than 4 years ago, we had our sights set on understanding how people move within cities. Today, Replica has evolved into an independent company with a much bigger mission: to make complex, rapidly-changing urban ecosystems easier to understand.

We’re inspired by how our customers are already using Replica to make better planning…


Photo: Adobe Stock

In the era of Big Data — where public and private data is abundant, and keeps growing — everyday residents might not realize how they generate volumes of data throughout their days in ways that are both innocent and serious; visibly apparent and covert. Their data reveals both mundane and intimate details about their habits, movements, and lifestyles.

Every time a person uses an app to order a meal, log their 10,000 steps, look up driving directions, buy a coffee, or report a public works issue, they’re generating data. As consumers, we appreciate the conveniences this connected world provides. We…


From transit equity to workforce development, broadband access to green infrastructure, data insights can help improve outcomes for cities

Photo by Brandon Mowinkel

After a remarkably hard year, local governments now have an exciting and unusual opportunity: the American Rescue Plan is bringing an influx of stimulus money just when agencies need it most.

The ARP will send $350 billion to state and local governments, and there’s no shortage of ways this money can have long-lasting impacts. All across the country, transit providers, policy makers, and community leaders are working to make the most of this moment.

Many are looking at novel projects that can be driven by deeper data insights in the built environment. Replica is committed to helping these constituencies identify…


Photo: James Hartono

Replica cuts through cloudy data to reveal local transit in tourist-heavy Anaheim, CA

It’s relatively easy to obtain demographic information about the residents of a given Census geography. The Census Bureau produces detailed tabular information about residents’ racial and ethnic characteristics, and about economic attributes like household income and commute travel mode. It’s much tougher, however, to obtain the same information about the people who work in, or visit, those same geographies.

This data is at least as important as a residential profile to understanding an area’s economic character and potential. Transit service planners will want as much information as possible about the people who work near current and potential transit facilities: income…


Photo: Dillion Shook

Understand who’s affected by your project and make change that serves everyone in your community.

Let’s take the example of a potential congestion pricing scheme in Los Angeles. It’s undeniable that reducing traffic congestion in the city with the busiest urban highway network in the United States would yield a broad range of benefits. But it’s important to define the geographic contours of any pilot area in a way that avoids disproportionate adverse impacts.

Census Bureau data products give us a good feel for the demographic characteristics of an area’s resident population. It’s much tougher to obtain information about the people who work in that area. And it can be impossible to identify the people…


Photo: Radek Kilijanek

Replica offers a full-day portrait of a city’s travel patterns, and provides essential context: who’s traveling, where they’re going, and why they’re on the move.

It’s surprisingly difficult to assess the performance of a public transit system. It’s even harder to determine how the transit map meets the evolving mobility needs of a region’s population. Bus and rail routes often reflect the trip making needs experienced by yesterday’s population.

New development and changing employment patterns mean that mobility needs are never static. Metrics like ridership and service reliability certainly tell part of the story, but they don’t provide a great view of the share of potential transit trips being served. And they don’t offer insight into whether current routing aligns with dynamic demand. …


Photo: Claudio Schwarz

Replica reveals where Alameda County, CA planners can build alternative infra that will be used, useful, and safe.

When vehicle trips are replaced by bike trips, cities enjoy reduced congestion, air pollution reductions, and traffic safety improvements. In recent years, local and regional governments have recognized the benefits of robust cycling infrastructure, but the limited availability of financial resources to fund new infrastructure has forced planners to make difficult decisions about where to target upgrades to meet existing and latent demand. Traditional tools, like physical counts and stakeholder outreach, add cost and schedule.

Fortunately, Replica makes it easy to quickly identify where bike trips are occurring and where they’re being made by people who may not have access…


Photo: Jeffrey Blum

Can this trend be maintained safely?

By Eric Goldwyn and Elif Ensari

Replica works with academics like Eric and Elif to uncover insights in, and explore new ways of working with, its data. If you are a researcher interested in exploring Replica data, please contact us here.

When looking at the change in travel behavior across the United States in 2020 — a year marked by the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns and remote work — vehicle miles traveled by residents of cities across the US plummeted, creating an opportunity for urban planners to invest in alternate modes of transportation, accommodating a post-pandemic normal in which…


Photo by Kelly Sikkema

The story of mode split in Boston.

If you were to look at the impact of COVID-19 on travel through the lens of overall movements, the story is pretty straight forward: A massive crash in March, with trip volume down over 50% across the country. A slow, but steady recovery since, with trip volume about three-quarters of the way back to pre-pandemic “normal.”

But this high-level perspective obscures massive changes occurring in how people choose to travel — whether they choose to take trips by car, on the train, walking or on a bike. As trip volume returns, new patterns are forming. And while these may be…


Source: Federal Highway Administration Research & Technology

Cities are first and foremost labor markets — facilitators of people finding work and getting to work. As such, a significant portion of our land use, transit and infrastructure planning efforts are in service of workplace accessibility. Much like parking lots are designed around Black Friday, many cities are designed around the AM and PM commute load. Land use policy is generally done from the workplace out — a series of concentric circles out from the central business district. Even the geographic footprint of cities is generally bound by a 60–90 minute commute. …

Replica

Replica is a data platform for the built environment. Our mission is to make complex and rapidly-changing cities easier to understand.

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