Our latest project brings together Natural England, the University of Oxford, Oxfordshire County Council, the Ramblers, Blenheim Palace, and Editions Systeme D to explore opportunities for crowdsourcing measurements of path quality.
Survey and literature review
Our initial work focused on a public survey and literature review to ask the question: "What makes a good path?" You can read the survey results and summary here:
There are tens of thousands of miles of public rights of way and other public paths across the UK that citizens can use to connect with nature. While most of these paths are legally recorded and mapped, their quality and ease of use is unknown, which means that users may not be fully aware of whether the paths they want to use, or might use, are suitable for their intended use (e.g. manual or electric wheelchair, trail running, horse riding, family walks and rides etc.). Furthermore, if improvement works need to be done to make them more inclusive, safer (e.g. through the removal of challenging or hazardous obstacles) and more usable, there is no systematic way to capture and convey this information to the relevant authorities.
To overcome this knowledge gap, the GreenspaceHack team partnered with Natural England, the Ramblers, Blenheim Palace, and Editions Systeme D to design a free, open, crowdsourced tool that citizens could use to capture and share the quality of public rights of way and public paths across the UK. After creating and testing a proof of concept version of the app, we are conducting expanded usability testing to incorporate additional features and refinements to the app to make it more fit for purpose with the ultimate goal of incorporating feedback from the app directly to those responsible for path maintenance (e.g. councils, landowners, etc.) so that all citizens across the UK can connect with nature through high quality public rights of way.
If you are interested in contributing to this project, please download the free app (only available on iOS at the moment) here:
After using the app, please fill out the form below to provide us insights on how we can improve the next version of the app: