ux research

Parks of Oak Park

Park of Oak Park parks that were targeted for this competitive analysis

Targeted parks for the data gathering products

Overview: PDOP


The Park District of Oak Park (PDOC), created in 1912, serves the recreational needs of the 52,000 residents of Oak Park, providing nearly 3,000 recreation programs and special events annually. Overseen by a Board of five elected officials, the District owns an Administrative Center, two outdoor pools, an indoor year-round ice rink, the Oak Park Conservatory, Cheney Mansion, Pleasant Home, a gymnastics & recreation center, seven recreation centers plus 18 parks totaling 84 acres of parkland. Through the programs and facilities the Park District of Oak Park provides, we significantly contribute to the quality of life in Oak Park.

The Challenge

Recommend a solution that best fit a number of PDOP’s use cases such as: quantitative data, customizable, able to integrate with their servers and fixed pricing.


Code for Chicago facilitated a competitive analysis to identify a solution; by doing this they built a baseline understanding of what products were available in the space, the key differences between each and evaluate PDOP’s use cases.

Project Month/Year

May 2021

Parks of Oak Park logo

Problem Statement

In the past, PDOP used a geofencing solution to quantify the number of people that came to the park. This data could help PDOP make better decisions on how to allocate public resources and understand if they are serving a diverse community at an equity level.

Currently, they have no methods for collecting data and their decision-making is based on assumptions.

The pro's and con's for each product per category

Our Approach

Based on the array of people counting technologies in the marketplace. The team used a variety of methods and tools to narrow down viable solutions. Many of these could be grouped into categories based on either the technology used, like thermal counters, or based on the approach, like using social media. Therefore, the team started with a “divide and conquer” style to reduce masses of possible avenues to practical and effective chunks.

The group divided work per product type to help even the workload


In order to gather valuable information, each solution should identify clear pricing figures, installation guidelines, data collection details, and its strengths and pain points. In addition, a major factor in the analysis was installation and adapting it to each park within Oak park.

Constraints such as size, layout, telecommunication infrastructure and device mobility were identified.

Based on this the team created a number of artifacts to evaluate which people-counters would identify the best fit: First was a decision tree then a detailed table determining power/wifi connectivity, from there a graph determining the trade-offs for each counter, a chart measuring the accuracy and cost for each solution and lastly a workflow examination after talking to vendors.

Once all the data was collected - scalability and pricing was last compared.

Screenshot of the spreadsheet used to catalog different products per category


By completing this project for PDOP, Code for Chicago was able to confidently recommended the ready-made product of a geofencing solution to quantify the number of people that came to the park. This product was recommended because it was:

Decision tree that goes over which product to pick per use case

One of the final pro/con chart that goes over each data gathering product

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