Friday, May 26, 2006


Time times for commuting

Travel-time Maps and their Uses: "Transport maps and timetables help people work out how to get from A to B using buses, trains and other forms of public transport. But what if you don't yet know what journey you want to make? How can maps help then?
This may seem a strange question to ask, but it is one we all face in several situations:
Where would I like to work?
Where would I like to live?
Where would I like to go on holiday?
These are much more complicated questions than those about individual journeys, but one thing they all have in common is transport: can I get to and from the places I'm considering quickly and easily?
The maps on this page show one way of answering that question. Using colours and contour lines they show how long it takes to travel between one particular place and every other place in the area, using public transport. They also show the areas from which no such journey is possible, because the services are not good enough."

A great idea that I've been thinking about for a while. All they need to do is turn it into a production system.

What I couldn't work out was an easy way to get the travel time. What this group has done is interesting. They have used a proxy for the travel time. They picked the time taken to arrive at a place at 9.00 am. In other words, the time most likely to be used by people when using the map in the first place.

What is needed is a website for this to be built where you can input details of your journeys. Reading the article it looks like the Ordnance Survey is fulfilling its government brief of making money out of the taxpayer for something that the taxpayer has already paid for. All government information should be free.

One extension I can think of is this. You might have a set of transport needs. My commute to work, visiting my parents, travelling to my favourite shops and restaurants, playing sport. I should be able to set up these journeys and give them a weight. Now the isochrones for each journey can be calculated, multiplied by the weighting and totaled. That then gives me the locations that minimise or optimise my transport needs.

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