Tripadvisor has launched a new platform to help consumers identify areas that are less crowded in cities around the United States.
Known as Crowdfree.me, the platform was created by a team of engineers from Tripadvisor, Slack, Amazon Web Services and nine other technology companies.
Tripadvisor spokersperson Brian Hoyt says the initial idea came from someone who is no longer with Tripadvisor, but another engineer still with the company took the lead on developing the platform in partnership with these other companies, whose engineers volunteered time to develop the system.
Crowdfree.me is intended to help consumers avoid crowds at both businesses and public places such as parks and beaches. The system uses aggregated, historical traffic data from anonymized cell phone location pings from users that have opted in to share their location via their mobile devices.
The data is displayed on a map and graphed based on the time of day and the day of the week. Data is updated once each day and more recent data is weighted higher than older data.
Users can click on a location to view how crowded it is for each hour on a particular day or a given day of the week. An overlay of a heatmap also indicates the density of crowds in public areas, using yellow for low density and red for high.
The platform also incorporates location safety scores from ViruSafe by Neura, one of the technology partners, so users can identify public spaces and businesses where Covid risk rates are high.
The system does not store personally identifiable information, and Hoyt says none of the data is used for commercial purposes.