Our Mobility investigates how travel behaviors and experiences vary because of factors like age, race, gender, income, or disability. It uses 2 free apps that are easy to use and make research fun. As a participant, you may learn about your mobility patterns and how travel affects your mood.

What’s involved?

This study is about daily transportation experiences for all kinds of people. It’s a travel diary that uses GPS to record the places you go and how you get there. A daily survey app documents what your trips are like and how you feel after taking them.

This project is in the pilot phase. Selected participants will be asked to complete these steps:

Google Maps and PACO app logos

  1. Install Google Maps and PACO on your phone. Log in with your email address, enable location history, and join a survey in PACO.
  2. Answer questions once a day or 3 times a day, and correct your location history in Google Maps for 1 week.
  3. At the end of the week, download location files and upload them to this website. Fill out a brief online survey about using the mobile apps.
  4. Be part of a 30-minute conference call with other participants to give feedback about the study.

How long will it take?

Steps 1-3 should take anywhere from 30 min – 1 hr to complete over the course of 7 days. The 30 min conference call will be scheduled after participants complete a week of travel diaries and location sharing.

What does my Google Maps Timeline show?

It will create a timeline of your travel, showing which modes of transportation you use and which places you visit. This information is private, and only viewable by you. If you are selected and agree to take part in the study, you will be asked to download this data and share it with the researchers. These files contain the email address used for login.

Do I have to use Gmail?

Yes, both Google Maps and PACO require a Gmail account. You can use a personal Gmail account, or use an anonymous Gmail account created for you.

What do I do with my location data?

If you are selected and agree to take part in the study, you will be asked to check and correct location history errors. After correcting errors, you would download files for each day, and upload them to this website (details here). If you want an anonymous account to be provided, the researchers will assist with downloading location history files. You can disable location tracking at any time.

What is PACO?

PACO is a self-analytic tool. After you install the app and log in, you’ll receive an invitation for two experiments. The first will ask a set of questions three times a day, and the other will ask the same questions once a day for three time periods. You can try both and decide which one works better for your lifestyle. You can also change the schedule of the survey to fit your normal habits. For example, if you commute to work at the same time, you can schedule notifications after your trip to work or home.

What will you do with my data?

You will receive a report of your data for one week. This individual report will only be shared with you. All other location and survey data will be analyzed along with data of other participants. Publications or presentations of findings will not show personal information or individual visualizations.

How do I join?

Recruiting has ended for the pilot study, but there are plans for future phases of the study. Enter your email address below to receive updates.

Will there be another study after the pilot?

Yes! The pilot study is for trying out the apps, figuring out the best way to analyze data, and troubleshooting. Knowledge gained from the pilot will be incorporated into a larger study in the near future. If you would like to receive news and updates about future research opportunities, please subscribe below.

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Who’s behind this project?

Photo of Jessica Murray holding a sign in front of a rally. The sign reads, "Elevators are for everyone" and shows iconic drawings of people in different elevators. The first shows a person with crutches and a person rolling a suitcase. The second has a pregnant woman, a baby in a stroller, a person with a heart condition, and a child. The third shows a woman with a child and a person in a wheelchair. The last one shows a person with a cane, and a person rolling a dolly with packages. The graphic and text has a rainbow gradient, symbolizing inclusiveness. The mposter was designed by Jessica Murray for a rally outside of an MTA board meeting in July, 2017. She hopes they will consider the diverse cross-section of the population that needs elevators.Jessica Murray is a PhD student at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She researches access to transportation as a critical environmental factor for human development. She also advocates to improve accessibility in the NYC subway.

OurMobility is generously supported by a Digital Innovation Grant and Early Research Initiative Grant from the Provost’s Office at The Graduate Center, CUNY


Questions, concerns?

If you have questions or need technical support, email jmurray@gradcenter.cuny.edu.

If you have questions about your rights as a research participant or if you would like to talk to someone other than the researchers, you can contact the CUNY Research Compliance Administrator at 646-664-8918.