We didn’t expect to launch a new product in the middle of a global pandemic. But COVID-19 has highlighted the near impossible situation that cities and transit agencies are facing: efficiently moving more people in as little space as possible is now a liability, not an asset. Costs are rising steeply as funds are depleted. Major service adjustments are needed immediately.
So today, we’re pleased to introduce the public launch of Remix Explore to help governments accelerate their crisis and recovery planning. Explore is a new product experience for discovering transportation data insights and sharing ideas rapidly. It can often take days or weeks to research ground conditions and map out community impacts of proposals - time that doesn’t exist when adapting to constantly shifting recovery timelines. Explore speeds up discoverability so that cities can swiftly develop a broader range of transportation concepts and get good ideas off the ground quickly.
Cities around the world from Oakland to Milan are rapidly implementing experiments like Slow Streets to expand multimodal access and enable physical distancing. With Explore, cities can identify potential candidates for car-free treatment by analyzing the existing bike network, essential businesses, census demographics, movement counts, traffic speeds, and more.
Throughout the development process, we sat down with customers to understand their workflows and find ways to help them do more with less. The ability to see relevant statistics without manual calculations topped the list - and became the first Explore feature we built!
In Seattle, when new cracks appeared along the West Seattle bridge, city staff were forced to close the bridge to traffic and find alternative routes for residents to get downtown. They chose Remix Explore to plan scenarios for their extended bicycle network and quickly access rich transportation and demographic data to assess the community impact for the precise areas they were considering.
With shelter-in-place orders and many storefronts temporarily closed, the pandemic has redefined which points of interest take priority and how they can be accessed. Now more than ever, cities must understand the reach of their transportation network since public transit is a critical conduit to essential city services, enabling workers to commute and vulnerable communities to access care during times of crisis. The Explore product experience is designed with just that use case in mind.
In Gainesville, Florida, regional transit agency Go-RTS created a single view in Explore of key transportation and demographic data to ensure families who needed free meals could reach their local distribution center by public transit. Planner Ricky Walker explained, “As the pandemic was starting to get really serious, I needed to show the county school board where meals for children could be distributed, and which bus routes traveled to those sites. So I drew a custom area in Remix Explore to look at the demographics of the neighborhoods where people were catching the bus. It often takes a long time to dig up the data from many different sources, but now I can do everything I want to do easily and quickly in Remix.”
“Since COVID-19’s onset, our customers have created hundreds of maps, plans, and projects behind-the-scenes in Remix titled ‘COVID Emergency’ or ‘Contingency Planning’ or ‘Essential Routes’,” said Tiffany Chu, Remix’s CEO and co-founder. “With Explore, they’re now able to swiftly combine location data for hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, and emergency services - along with demographic and transportation data with customizable zones - onto new plans to understand how changes affect different communities.”
At Remix, we’re continually awed by how committed our customers are to the people that they serve. In our Transpo Talk community (a private Slack for transportation professionals to gather and navigate this crisis together), we’ve heard how agency and city staff are working tirelessly to implement massive changes to their networks while simultaneously implementing new sanitation procedures and developing public health best practices as changes unfold daily. We built Remix Explore to give them new ways to do what they need to do faster.
Developing safe, equitable, and sustainable transportation options to keep society moving has never been more important. We’re grateful to play a supporting role to cities and transit agencies during this pandemic - and we’re excited to see what they will do with Remix Explore to deliver the best transportation outcomes for their communities.
Evan Landman of Jarrett Walker + Associates and Richard Ezike of Urban Land Institute both join the Remix and Via Advisory Council.