What is the Catch! App?

The Catch! app is a journey planner developed by the company called TravelAi.  They are creating a new class of journey planner that crowdsources how the transport system is operating in real time to give more accurate, frustration-free routing across all modes of transport.

The UK government, through its Innovate UK agency, has awarded funding to the Catch – Citizens at the City’s Heart project to develop the app.  The team involved in the project is made up of 5 local authorities (including Newcastle City Council), 2 universities, and a number of innovative transport data companies.

Why is Newcastle City Council promoting this App?

Newcastle City Council is a partner in the project.  Once the app has been developed by the technical members of the project, Newcastle City Council’s role (and the role of the other Local Authorities involved) is to promote the use of the app and then determine the usefulness of the data collected.

Any agreement to use the app is between the user and TravelAi, NOT Newcastle City Council.

How does it work?

The app gathers real-time information to provide reliable routing suggestions and within one click show you when the next buses and trains are leaving from stops near you.

Meanwhile, by simply downloading the app and ensuring GPS is enabled, it will automatically detect your travel.  It will study your speed, location and pattern of movement to detect your mode of transport and route.

How will your data be used?

The Catch! Team will process the location data to infer, among other things:

  • Mode of travel
  • Frequented locations
  • Purpose of journeys
  • Individual travel patterns & behaviour
  • Community travel patterns & behaviour

If there are enough users, the data gathered can provide an accurate and invaluable insight into transport usage, demand and operation.  This could help evaluate pinch points, identify trends and make more informed decisions to improve the transport network. 

Role of Catch! App in Streets for People

We are using the Streets for People as a testing ground for the app.  We want to test:

  • If the data gathered by the app can be used to inform decisions about the project
  • If the app can assist in the monitoring and evaluation of the Streets for People Schemes. As no initiatives have been implemented, is it possible to use the app obtain a baseline of how people are moving around the area before schemes are implemented and compare this with how their movement has changed post implementation?    

Why should I download the App?

You’ll have the best travel information at your fingertips and the journey planner will always be free.

Downloading the app will help:

  • Determine if data gathered can be used to inform decisions
  • Evaluate and monitor the success of Streets for People initiatives.
  • Support the Catch! – Citizens at the City’s Heart project by helping to evaluate the usefulness of the app and the data is produces.

Will the app drain my battery?

The app uses between 5-15% of your battery. While every effort has been made to keep battery use to a minimum, it is recommended that you charge your phone every night.

What data is transmitted from the app?

The app transmits your registration details, app performance data, and details about your travels.

Who is the data transmitted to?

The data generated by the app comes to TravelAi and they are a registered data controller under the Data Protection Act. The Terms & Conditions have been drawn up to allow them to pass the data to third parties, such as Local Authorities and transport operators.

How is my privacy safeguarded?

During the project, personally-identifiable data might be shared between the consortium partners for the purposes of the project. Any use of the data outside or beyond the project will be restricted to anonymised data to protect your privacy.