When Replica started in 2018 as a project within Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, we set our sights on understanding how people move within cities. Since then, we’ve evolved into an independent company with a much larger mission: We want to make it easy to understand the full, ever-changing complexity of urban ecosystems.
The need for this is clear. Historically, timely and trustworthy data has been undervalued, difficult to acquire, and hard to utilize. And too often, the people who make decisions about the built environment are expected to rely on narrow, outdated, and incomplete datasets. Cities are one of the most complex systems on the planet, yet nearly every decision about them is made without identifying, measuring, and addressing the second-order impacts of those decisions.
We aim to empower public agencies and their private-sector partners with reliable, high-quality data that never compromises the privacy of individuals. We know that better information in the form of transportation, land use, and spend data can help public agencies achieve better outcomes for the people who live in the cities, towns, and regions they work in. We also know that data is most valuable when it is timely, transparent about its quality, and easily accessible to those who need it.
Replica started building simulations of real-world travel behavior in 2018. Our methodology results in data that represents a typical day of activity in great detail for a given season, while ensuring that we never share the actual movements of individual people.
In 2020, responding to the urgent needs of the Covid-19 pandemic, we created a Trends tool offering weekly data on mobility, consumer spending, and public health data down to the census tract level. Public agencies used our data to monitor the progression of the pandemic and economic recovery, integrating our data into public-facing dashboards that communicated key data points about city services during the emergency.
In 2021, our activity-based travel demand model grew to cover the entire contiguous United States, creating the first nationwide travel model of its kind. Our unique platform makes it possible to connect the dots between mobility, land use, health, and commerce, revealing the critical interdependencies in the built environment.
We’ve walked in your shoes as former public sector officials, architects and engineers, real estate professionals, and consultants. We’ve also been fortunate to work with some of the largest public agencies in North America. Here’s what we’ve learned:
For those whose work shapes the built environment, there are rarely “right” or obvious answers. Everything is a trade-off in a complex system. The goal must be to make more informed, holistic decisions, not to search for a silver bullet.
Cities are more than mobility. Your data should be, too.
How can we help you see your city better?