Case Study

Value Across the Board: A Conversation with SPATS

Jonathan Bass
November 16, 2023

We sat down with the Spartanburg Transportation Study to discuss how they utilize Urban SDK to satisfy their initiatives.

When we first engaged with Spartanburg Transportation Study (SPATS) toward the back end of 2020, it quickly became apparent that there was a lot happening in their part of South Carolina.

The region had plans for expanding its Daniel Morgan Trail System by an additional 30 miles to link residents.

Large corporations like Adidas and BMW had set up facilities there.

And in a move of ingenuity brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the regional airport shifted from a passenger hub to a commercial one — a means to attracting more corporate businesses to the area.

More than just a mid-point between Atlanta and Charlotte, Spartanburg has seen exceptional growth over the past few years. With that growth has come a greater need to track safety corridors and movement patterns.

Urban SDK recently sat down with SPATS to discuss some of the work the organization has done, and some of their community involvement initiatives for the future.

[Editor's Note: This interview has been transcribed and edited for clarity]

"10 Out of 10"

Urban SDK: I know you are a little bit newer to the SPATS team, but do you have any insight on deciding factor to use Urban SDK rather than another software?

SPATS: From what I understand, we were introduced at a conference and really liked what y'all are doing. [We] thought it would be a really cool platform for us to get ahead and supplement DOT data.

USDK:  I didn't realize we met at a conference. That's fun. Very interesting.

Is there anything you didn't intend on using during training, but has actually provided a lot of value?

SPATS: That's a great question. It's really ... all of it. All of it's been really helpful.

I really like the four platforms. You have Insights, Studio, and then Workspace and Data Hub. That's support [for SPATS's initiatives]. It's hard for me to pick one. 

USDK: It's good to hear that you're getting value from all different aspects of the platform, because we do have some customers who only stay on certain portions of it. So hearing that you're able to get value out of all four and kind of mix and match that is super helpful.

All of it's been really helpful ... I really like the four platforms ... It's hard for me to pick one

My next question is from a customer service standpoint: How does it compare to other softwares and platforms the organization has used in the past?

SPATS: I think it's great. I would give it a 10 out of 10.

If I need anything, I always call or email, and you're always super fast to answer and help me out.

We use different services and sometimes — like for our SPATS website — it's hard to get a hold of someone. It might take a day or two to get a hold of someone.

So yeah, I've never had that problem with y'all.

USDK: Oh, well I love to hear that!  

Are there any specific projects you've used Urban SDK on? Even if the project's not finished, or maybe not even started, we would love to hear about the ideas you have.

SPATS: So we've definitely created a bunch of maps — traffic, the three fastest growing areas, infrastructure, and all that stuff. Which is great because we're able to use that when we go to meetings, especially with the county, and explain things.

What I'm really excited about is our survey response data, and using that data from the survey to create maps. I'm still like going through all of the data — and it is so much data— to put it in Excel spreadsheets, in the correct sections. But that's really what I'm excited about.

Also, I know that y'all are working on a dashboard creator. I'm really excited for us to be able to create dashboards.

I know we have at least have one dashboard that y'all created for the top seven corridors for crashes. So it will be really cool to create something for the surveys, or for different studies, that we'll do over the course of time.

I'm really excited about is our survey response data, and using that data from the survey to create maps

USDK: I'm really excited to show you what the dashboard looks like. I just saw the prototype a couple days ago and it looks really good. So I'm glad you're just as excited as we are for that.

SPATS: I think it'll be a game changer in a way. Cause we're so visual. I know I'm super visual.

I think most people in planning are probably visual. And so it's good to have that and be able to go through different tabs, and share different data and maps.  

I'm just basing that off the dashboard that we currently have; I like the dashboard that we have.

USDK: It will definitely have a similar look, but will all be inside of the Urban SDK platform. Whereas now when you go to your dashboard that we created, you have a separate browser tab. Hopefully it'll be easier to save everything and have it all in one spot.

SPATS: Awesome. Yeah, I think it's been great so far. And there's still a lot for us to learn. I know a lot for me to learn. There's just not enough in the day to get everything done.

USDK: We all can relate! Thank you so much for this. I really appreciate you taking the time out. And if you guys need anything at all, just let me know. I'm more than happy to help.

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