Research Partnership Award honors data-collection app

smart phones
Daynamica captures detailed daily activity and trip data.

The developers of the DaynamicaTM app received this year’s Robert C. Johns Research Partnership Award. A unique data-collection technology, Daynamica is a research-grade smartphone application that collects and processes activity and travel behavior data with minimal user burden.

By collecting rich data, the technology is capable of informing transportation planning and fostering more sustainable and healthier communities. It has been deployed in research studies involving more than 1,000 subjects, resulting in more than 120,000 person-hours of data. The studies range from travel behavior research in urban planning to physical activity and emotional well-being research in public health.

Daynamica is based on technology developed by a team of faculty and students at the University of Minnesota led by Professor Yingling Fan of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The technology has been used by researchers at Virginia Tech, Princeton University, Texas A&M University, Georgia Tech, Ohio State University, and seven Chinese universities.

Fan and her co-investigators—Julian Wolfson (School of Public Health), Gediminas Adomavicius (Carlson School of Management), and Chen-Fu Liao (Mechanical Engineering)—have also integrated Daynamica into teaching. This offers opportunities for students to use the technology and gives them exposure to cutting-edge approaches for gathering and analyzing urban data.

Daynamica-related work has generated a US patent and attracted more than $13 million in research funding, including significant contributions from the US Department of Transportation and National Science Foundation.

In January 2018, Fan and her co-investigators co-founded Daynamica, Inc., with the University of Minnesota Venture Center. Commercialized products include multiple mobile apps and the associated data analysis and visualization systems. To learn more, please see

The Research Partnership Award is named in honor of former CTS director Robert Johns. The award is presented annually to a team of individuals who have collaboratively drawn on their diverse expertise to achieve significant impacts on transportation.

Team members

  • University of Minnesota: Yingling Fan, Julian Wolfson, Gediminas Adomavicius, Chen-Fu Liao, Frank Douma (Humphrey School), Ying Song (Geography, Environment, and Society)
  • Ohio State University: Huyen Le
  • Virginia Tech: Steve Hankey
  • Princeton University: Anu Ramaswami
  • Texas A&M University: Chanam Lee
  • Northwest University, Xi’an, China: Jing Zhu
  • Shenzhen Urban Transportation Planning Center: Xiaochun Zhang
  • USDOT Volpe Center: Matt Cuddy
  • Metro Transit: Theresa Cain
  • Minnesota Department of Transportation: Lisa Austin


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