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…

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. …

The business model of the built environment is broken. Communities have long felt the strain of housing shortages, aging transit systems, and a shifting retail landscape; the COVID-19 crisis pushed them to the breaking point and exposed the shortcomings of how we plan and manage cities. There are two driving factors:

  1. The default planning process uses long-ago data to forecast a far-away future. Historically, getting trustworthy, near-past data was both difficult, fraught with inconsistencies and undervalued. Combine this with a traditional mindset to only think about planning and policy with a 25 year lens. Add in a reliance on consulting…

Image: CDC

Replica is a data platform for the built environment. We deliver recent insights into how people live and work by providing a collective representation of the built environment — people, mobility, economic activity, and land use — so you can understand the relationships and trade-offs behind every decision you make.

We use machine learning technology to turn billions of de-identified data points into insights, providing a quick and accessible way to combine traditional data about cities (like Census data) with new sources of data (like smartphones and payment data). …


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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