Emily Macrae has volunteered as a researcher with BikeSpace since the project began in June 2017.
How did you get involved with BikeSpace?
BikeSpace was kicking off just as I was getting involved in Civic Tech so the timing was perfect. I was able to join the team early in the process and I’ve seen how the project has evolved since then.
How would you describe your role with BikeSpace?
I have a background in social research so I spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of data we need and the best way to find that information, whether that’s sifting through policy documents or calling someone up for a phone interview. As part of BikeSpace, I fill in gaps in our understanding of bike parking issues to support work on web development and design. In practice, that means designing survey questions, coordinating beta testing, and even working on digital marketing.
Describe a winning moment with BikeSpace?
This winter, the research team led an online survey asking about cyclists’ experiences with bike parking in Toronto. We received a very strong response rate even though it wasn’t peak cycling season. That level of engagement speaks to the community’s interest in the issue of bike parking and a willingness to get involved. Thanks to more than 300 people who responded, we have data on the challenges that cyclists encounter when they try to lock up their bikes. We were able to use those insights to inform the development of the web app.
What makes BikeSpace unique?
The team! I’m so impressed with the perspectives everyone brings to this project. Not just professional skills in marketing, web development, or UX (although each week I’m amazed with the amount of experience among the team when we meet!), but also the amount of personal experiences as cyclists in Toronto and other cities.
What keeps you busy when you’re not working on BikeSpace?
I work in policy development, I take photos for Heritage Toronto, and I’m a lapsed lindy hopper…
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.