Meet a BikeSpace Data Analyst

Daniel Para in front of the civic innovation office

Daniel Para has contributed to the BikeSpace project through data analysis and digital marketing since May 2018.

How did you get involved with BikeSpace?

I come from a marketing background and have a passion for analytics. I am currently trying to transition my career and I wanted to contribute to a project that would allow my to combine my experience with my passion. I went to a civic tech meetup and was looking for something to get involved with for that evening and someone told me that BikeSpace was looking for someone to do analytics and it snowballed from there. It all happened pretty quickly.

What interested you most about the project?

I initially went to a civic tech meetup because I have a passion for making the city better. What I like about BikeSpace is that even though it is narrow in scope, it has an impact. The app is focused on bike parking and I think it will prove to be very instrumental for improving the city’s infrastructure. Any type of improvement will have ripple effect because there are so many people who don’t bike because of the lack of bike parking. Even as a pedestrian in this city, I feel I would benefit from this app.

How have you contributed to BikeSpace?

The main thing I worked on was the survey, which almost 350 people responded to and we were able to gain insights about bike parking in the city. I ran through all of the quantitative questions and came up with statistics to highlight the value of this app. From these statistics, I created charts that can be used as future blog posts. I analysed the qualitative questions through grounded theory. This took a long time, but I was able to find insights in all of the different answers and use those insights to explore some issues more thoroughly because of my work. This also gave me a chance to experiment and gain experience with the grounded theory technique.

Describe a winning moment with BikeSpace.

The survey analysis was a winning moment for me, because one of the main reasons I came to the project was to learn while gaining practical experience. The team had all of this great data that sat there for about six months without being analysed because no one could figure out how to analyze the qualitative data. I had wanted to learn the grounded theory technique, so I took on this part of the project. I received a lot of positive feedback from team members about how they found the results helpful. It’s a good feeling to know that I’m able to contribute in a real way while learning. I feel my work was valuable because it gave us a lot of insights on bike parking in the city that we didn’t have before and these insights can be used moving forward in the project and to  influence decisions.

What makes BikeSpace unique?

It is a really important project that is run mostly by volunteers and the project continues to grow as people begin to hear about it. It’s rare for volunteers to be able to come together to create a project that is so cohesive and will have an impact. The volume of survey respondents speaks to the demand for this type of project.

When you’re not working on BikeSpace, what keeps you busy?

I play guitar, go to the gym, and enjoy seeing friends and family.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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