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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

Minnesota: Smartphone App Makes Collecting Travel and Activity Data Easier Than Ever

A new smartphone app co-developed by a University of Minnesota School of Public Health researcher is making it easier than ever to collect study data on human activity and travel habits. Daynamica was co-developed by associate professor Dr. Julian Wolfson and captures detailed activity and travel information when people are driving, walking, biking, or using mass transit, such as riding a bus.

“I was drawn to the project because I saw tremendous potential to improve the way that human activity and travel behavior was measured and understood,” says Dr. Wolfson.

Daynamica automatically detects, identifies, and summarizes the daily activities of people using the app and then allows them to view entries and add details, including where they were going and the purpose of their trip.

The app is a significant improvement on traditional methods for logging daily activity data, which are inconvenient, time-consuming, and often inaccurate because they rely on people’s memories. Daynamica also improves on modern GPS sensing tools that can collect travel modes, position, and routes, but are unable to obtain key details, including a trip’s purpose, the travel experience, and who was with the individual on their journey. Daynamica gives users the best of both worlds: It captures many more dimensions of travel behavior data than either travel surveys or GPS sensing can alone.

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