What technologies and cell phone applications are available to promote bicycling and walking?

There are a number of cell phone and smartphone applications related to walking and bicycling currently available, as well as traditional web sites. These interactive programs allow users to find bicycling and walking routes, measure calories burned by taking a trip by bike or foot, and even assess the safety of their environment. While there are many types of applications available for cell phones and smartphones, a large portion of these fall into the following categories.


Mapping and route-finding phone applications allow the user to select the most appropriate bike or walking route to a given destination. Mapping applications often allow users to upload their favorite routes to share them with others. Several of the applications are specific to a certain place or region, while others allow you to enter your address for a personalized result. Many programs synthesize street networks with other bicycling and walking facilities, while others specifically map certain types of facilities like trails.

Fitness and Health

Pedometers and cyclometers help pedestrians and bicyclists calculate the health benefits of their trips and provide tips and feedback to promote physical activity. Pedometer applications track the steps taken and the distance traveled while walking, and use that information to track calories burned and provide exercise tips.

Similarly, cyclometers track distance, speed, elevation changes, and location of cycling routes. They provide an output of graphs and maps of routes and keep a history of distances traveled by day, month, and year. Cyclometer phone applications provide fitness tips as well. Gear calculator phone applications aid in calculating gear ratios, development and gain ratios, and gear inches based on personal bike measurement inputs.

Safety and Feedback

These applications provide safety tips and aids for areas used by both bicyclists and pedestrians, and allow those users to offer their feedback on local safety concerns. For example, some bicycle safety applications work to improve safety of cyclists on the road by providing lighting. The web site SeeClickFix allows users to identify locations around a city or town that should be targeted for safety improvements. This information is then relayed to the local agency for consideration.

Carbon Calculators

A person's carbon footprint is based upon the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per person. Carbon calculator applications gather a range of inputs from your daily life - such as steps taken, miles biked, or public transit trips - to calculate your carbon footprint and offer ideas about ways to reduce it.

Safety Considerations

Exercise caution when using cell phone applications while walking, and avoid using your phone or other handheld devices at all when biking. Distractions while walking and biking can increase the possibility of crashes (see the resources below). It is best to find a safe place to stop your activity while using a cell phone application and then resume walking or biking once you have finished.

Resources on Distracted Walking and Biking


The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, funded by the US Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration, does not endorse specific products or manufacturers. Trade and manufacturers' names appear in this FAQ only because they are considered essential to the object of the document, and an attempt was made to include all relevant applications identified at the time preceding publication. If you are aware of other technologies to include in this FAQ, please contact PBIC at pbic@pedbikeinfo.org.