Designing and evaluating a smartphone app to increase underserved communities’ data representation in transportation policy and planning

Courtney Cronley, Anna O'Dell, Noelle Fields, Stephen P. Mattingly, Nicole Iroz-Elardo, M. Christine Highfill, Rebecca Cole, Mary Kris Stringfellow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The current global focus on transportation equity, as well as a move towards smart mobility, highlights the need for more representative transportation data to inform transportation planning. In this case study, an interdisciplinary research team describes the process of refining and evaluating the utility of a transportation daily diary mobile-phone-based app. The process is framed through transportation equity and diverse key stakeholder engagement. The team custom-designed the app, MyAmble, to capture successful transportation behaviors, as well as latent demand, defined as travel not taken but desired, among underserved populations. Stakeholder focus groups with subject matter expert (n = 30) and end users (n = 19) were conducted prior to pilot testing the app, and post-pilot test focus groups (n = 18) and usability surveys (n = 76) were conducted to evaluate the app's usability. Pre-pilot focus groups indicated that transportation planners desired more questions about safety and other transit modes. End users identified missing destinations, such as temporary housing locations. Post-pilot focus group members reported that using MyAmble required minimal training or technological assistance and that they had sustained confidence throughout usage. Further refinements include reducing length of daily use and resolving Broadband or data plan obstacles for end users. Designing transportation apps to collect data about transportation behaviors among underserved population members is critical to equitable transportation planning. Moreover, key stakeholder involvement in the design may produce more successful apps and those which include more relevant information for planners, as well as more inclusive travel behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100763
JournalTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Mobile transportation daily diary
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Transportation equity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • General Environmental Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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