Boston Grand Prize Winner
To "improve the pedestrian experience," in Holyoke, MA, we propose aggregating data on citizen activity downtown and using it to brand a friendly urban activity: the Holyoke Stroll. By changing perceptions of the city, we believe we can change the pedestrians.
Holyoke, MA, needs a technology solution to "improve the pedestrian experience" for residents in the downtown area. Many of them perceive the city as dangerous despite the lack of crime statistics to substantiate this claim. Because residents have not taken quickly to technology beyond Facebook, civic tools like SeeClickFix can't revitalize the city's vacant storefronts and empty streets. Our team sees the issue as a marketing problem: by branding street sections as part of our grand vision—"the Holyoke Stroll"—we aim to attract residents downtown, advertise existing businesses in the area, and analyze the pedestrian experience with traffic camera sensors and geotags from existing user technology. With this rich data, the Holyoke Stroll can expand and branch out in real time, responding to the evolving pedestrian use and economic activity.
The first phase of our project involves using existing traffic cameras to collect data on how residents are walking through their city. Using this data, we can determine how residents get from Point A to Point B downtown and which routes are most used. We will also use available datasets from the city to identify transportation nodes and business locations, as well as vacant buildings to determine which areas would benefit from more pedestrian activity. By aggregating this information, we can implement the second phase of our project, in which we will identify a route through the city branded as the "Holyoke Stroll," linking important parts of the downtown.
Local businesses can participate by paying a small subscription fee to become official Holyoke Stroll members. Additionally, the project can provide the city with a number of low-cost programming activities such as closing down the route for open-street events. The traffic cameras and user technology will continue to provide data on pedestrian activity and allow the city to expand sections of the "Holyoke Stroll."
Holyoke Stroll Presentation
We wish to be considered for the "Best Data Project" category.