Posts Tagged ‘bike’

OpenStreetMap leveraged for bikes: Ride the City – DC Metro

Monday, February 8th, 2010

screen-shot-2010-02-08-at-21357-am

[Editor’s note: This routing tool considers bike paths and trails and supports drag and drop start and stop icons (rather than just address entree). It’s available for several major metro areas across the US and just came to Washington, DC. How can you get it in your town? Yet another reason to contribute to OpenStreetMap.org, the backend behind the tool. Thanks Jaime!]

Republished from Ride the City.

Washington D.C. is a great city for bicycling: its greenway network is extensive and it’s relatively flat. D.C. is also home to Smartbike DC, a public bike rental program.

We’re happy to announce that today bicycling in the nation’s capital just got easier: Welcome Ride the City – DC Metro! This newest addition includes Washington D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, all of Fairfax, and the Maryland suburbs within the Capital Beltway. We’re hopeful that by making it easier to ride bikes around the epicenter of U.S. political power that we may inspire more action to bring about improved bicycle facilities everywhere, especially in cities where biking is a sensible alternative to driving.

Ride the City – DC Metro was probably our biggest challenge to date. It was tricky because of the many jurisdictions (six counties) and various data sources that had to be organized, not to mention the 1,148 square miles of area and over 450 miles of separated (i.e. Class 1) bike ways that had to be manually edited. We’re happy to have had help from many good people in the bicycling world. Among those who helped, we’d like to thank Chantal Buchser (Washington Area Bicyclist Association), Bruce Wright (Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling), and Jeff Hermann (Fairfax County DOT) for helping us with data, troubleshooting, and leveraging volunteers to test routes early on.

(For those of you who are new to Ride the City, keep in mind that the Cloudmade basemap that we use is based on Open Street Map, the volunteer effort to map the world. If you notice discrepancies on the map, you can edit Open Street Map yourself or tell us about it and we’ll edit Open Street Map for you. To learn more about Open Street Map, click here.)

Try it out at Ride the City . . .

Interactive Commuting Time Maps – Find Where to Move (MySociety)

Monday, November 10th, 2008

[Editor’s note: This MySociety.org article from 2007 shows how an interactive web map can help users narrow down the best places to live or work based on a home prices ($) and commute times (t) by car, bike, bus, or train. Interactive Flash versions of the maps are after the jump. Thanks Lynda!]

Reprinted from MySociety.org.

In 2006, our late friend and colleague Chris Lightfoot produced a series of time travel contour maps, after the Department for Transport approached mySociety about experimenting with novel ways of re-using public sector data.

This mapping work was very important because it provides a potentially revolutionary new way of working out the best place for people to live and work.

Commuting Time Maps

Following widespread interest across the net and a major feature in the Evening Standard, the Department for Transport asked us to show them how this work could be taken further, and that is what we are showing here today. Get a quote for your map now

Improving legibility and clarity

Many of the maps we produced last time were very pretty, but could be somewhat difficult to interpret. We therefore teamed up with Stamen to improve the visual clarity and fun. Our first approach was to improve the base mapping to something more delicate and appropriate, using OpenStreetMap. We then worked on the colours and textures of the contours to make them quicker to interpret. Click on the images for larger versions.

Old map of London

Showing travel times to work at the Department for Transport in Pimlico, arriving at 9am

Old map of London showing travel times to work at the Department for Transport in Pimlico, arriving at 9am
Click image for bigger version.
© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Department for Transport 100020237 2007

New map of London

Showing travel times to work at the Department for Transport in Pimlico, arriving at 9am

New map of London showing travel times to work at the Department for Transport in Pimlico, arriving at 9am

Click image for bigger version.

(more…)

Walking and Cycling With Google Maps (Google Maps Mania)

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Republished from Google Maps Mania.

Mlib’
screen shot of Mlib
French website Vlib celebrated its one year anniversary recently. Vlib is a great map mash-up that shows bike rental locations in Paris. Renaud Euvrard has created a mobile application called Mlib’ that means you can now find bike rental locations on your phone.

It is fairly easy to find a Vélib station in Paris, as they on many street corners, however the stations are often empty. Mlib allows you to find the nearest kiosk with bikes to your current location. Mlib is very quick to load and the content has been kept to a minimum to ensure ease of use.

French speakers can read more about the application on Renaud’s blog Renalid.

MapMyWalk
screen shot of mapmywalk
MapMyFitness, LLC has a host of fitness mapping websites. Google Maps Mania has previously reviewed MapMyRide and MapMyRun.

MapMyWalk allows you to plot your walks on a Google Map. Once you have mapped your walk you can view it in 3D with the Google Earth browser or on a Google Map and share it with your friends. Alternatively you can search for walking maps created by others.

The mapped walks feature a handy terrain view, so you can evaluate a walk’s difficulty. It is also possible to embed a walk in your own website or blog by cutting and pasting a small piece of code.

TFL Cycling Maps

screenshot of TFL cycling map
London’s Transport for London website has added a Google Map of cycling routes in London to its website. To search the map you can choose what type of cycling route you wish to see, cycling paths, cycling on quiet roads or cycling on busier roads. You then have to choose which London borough you wish to find cycling routes for.

Here in lies a big problem. Because you can only view one borough at a time, when a cycling route moves into the next borough you have to guess which map you need to load to see the rest of the route.

There also seems to be a problem with the map’s search option. I tested the map with a route I regularly cycle that is possible without cycling on any roads. For some reason TFL advised me to ignore most of the cycle paths on the route and to take a longer journey on a number of roads.

TFL provide free paper cycling maps for London. At the moment these are a far better option for cyclists.

Via: Mapperz

EveryTrail
screen shot of evertrail
EveryTrail is a GPS mapping community site that features hiking and cycling trails. Currently the site has over 130,000 tracked routes in over 130 countries world wide.

Recently EveryTrail has implemented the Google Maps Flash API to display geo-tagged photos alongside the tracked routes. This new feature means that viewing tracks is now a very pleasurable experience and the photographs give you a real sense of the views you can expect on a hike or ride.

EveryTrail allows you to download a KML of a track to view in Google Earth or download a track to a GPS devise. You can also embed a walk in your own website or blog by cutting and pasting the embed code.

GPSies
screen shot of GPSies
GPSies is a website that allows users to track cycling and hiking routes which have been recorded on a GPS device. It is also possible to download any of the routes to a GPS devise.

Each tracked route can be viewed on a Google Map. The routes come with an altitude profile so it is possible to quickly assess its difficulty. Each track also comes with a number of user ratings for landscape, condition etc.

More Walking and Biking Maps

Geography Is For Real: Oil Costs Up (Sundry)

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Omnibus of a weeks’ newspaper coverage (reprints):

Are Oil Costs Creating a ‘Made Here’ Movement?
NY Times’ Andrew C. Revkin on August 2, 2008

Referencing:
Shipping Costs Start to Crimp Globalization
NY Times’ Larry Rohter on August 3, 2008

Larry Rohter, who recently returned to the United States after many years covering Brazil, has a fascinating story in the Sunday paper examining how high oil prices may be blunting the globalization of manufacturing. Concerns over carbon dioxide emissions may be playing a role, as well. He starts out with an anecdote about Tesla Motors, which planned to build its batteries in Thailand, assemble most of the components of its electric sports cars in Britain, and then sell them in the United States.

But high shipping costs have changed that company’s plans, and those of many others, Larry writes. Here’s the “nut graf”:

Cheap oil, the lubricant of quick, inexpensive transportation links across the world, may not return anytime soon, upsetting the logic of diffuse global supply chains that treat geography as a footnote in the pursuit of lower wages. Rising concern about global warming, the reaction against lost jobs in rich countries, worries about food safety and security, and the collapse of world trade talks in Geneva last week also signal that political and environmental concerns may make the calculus of globalization far more complex.

Maybe the world is not as flat, or small, as it once seemed. The breakdown of trade talks also implies more countries are thinking local. I’m not sure this bodes well for the global thinking, and interaction, that’d have to take place if the world were to get serious about curbing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. What’s your take?

Continue reading at New York Times . . . 

Cycling Back Around: Bike Safety Hits Close to Home (WaPo, WSJ)

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

[Editor's note: My mother was hit by a driver while riding her bike today and broke 2 fingers. Share the road and look for bikes! Cars and bikes both need to obey normal traffic laws! And let's get some more bike lanes striped.]

Continuing “Geography Matters” series . . .

Risking Life and Limb, Riding a Bike to Work in L.A.
(Most emailed article of the day on Friday)
Cyclists, Banned on Freeways and Reviled By Drivers, Save a Buck and Make a Point

By RHONDA L. RUNDLE
Wall Street Journal
August 1, 2008; Page A1
LOS ANGELES — Paula Rodriguez, who lives in the San Fernando Valley, got so disgusted with soaring fuel prices last spring that she stopped driving, sold her SUV and bought a bike.

But pedaling the 15 miles home from her job, the 30-year-old Ms. Rodriquez has encountered something more frightening than $4.50-a-gallon gasoline: the mean streets of L.A., home of the nation’s most entrenched car culture.

“Drivers scream at me to get off the road,” says the medical-billing clerk. The main commuting route near her home is so terrifying, she says, that she usually takes an alternative route that adds four miles to her trip.

Even then, it’s not an easy ride. On one stretch, splintered glass in the street could puncture her tires, she says. On Wednesdays, she has to dodge garbage cans blocking the bike lane. On Friday evenings, as the sun sets, she feels menaced by drunk drivers. Such threats compel her to sometimes swing onto the sidewalk, even though that could get her a ticket. “I go slow, ring my little bell and stop sometimes to say ‘hi’ to pedestrians,” she says.

Commuters across the U.S. are responding to high gasoline prices by finding alternatives to driving. But in Los Angeles, it takes a special kind of road warrior to hop on a bike in the name of saving the planet and a little money.

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal . . .

bike dc girlCycling Back Around
Four Wheels Good, Two Wheels Better. In the City, an Old-Fashioned Conveyance Returns

By David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 2, 2008; Page C01

This is the summer you realize you need it again.

This is the summer of women on bicycles riding around town free as anything, wearing long dresses or skirts, sandals or even high heels, hair flowing helmet-free, pedaling not-too-hard and sitting upright on their old-school bikes, the kind with front baskets where they put their laptops, and handlebars that curve gently back in a bow shaped like the upper line of someone’s perfectly drawn red lipstick.

… The machine of the moment is the 1969 Schwinn Deluxe Racer, picked up on Craigslist for $75, with lightly rusted metal fenders and a three-speed Sturmey-Archer shifter on the upright handlebars. Or it’s a new Jamis Commuter, or a Breezer Villager, this year’s models that aren’t ashamed of the primitive, durable genius of an old Schwinn.

“Somewhere along the line, we made biking a hobby and a sport instead of a way to get around,” says Alexandra Dickson, an architect who commutes from Southwest Washington to her downtown office on a blue Breezer Villager that she calls Babe, after Babe the Blue Ox. “I’d like to see it get back to being a way of getting around.”

… What’s happening is, the American conception of the bicycle-as-toy and the bicycle-as-sports-equipment is being infiltrated by the European notion of the bicycle-as-transportation and the Asian notion of the bicycle-as-cargo-hauler.

The idea has dawned that, guess what, contrary to biker dogma of the 1970s and 1980s, you don’t have to break your back with drop-down handlebars and obsess over ever-lighter space-age frames. The totemic two-wheeler is no longer the Specialized Roubaix Elite Triple with the carbon frame and the 30-speed Shimano drivetrain for $1,949.99, last seen tearing down Beach Drive on weekends, bearing lawyers and lobbyists in full spandex peloton plumage. And good riddance to the 1980s’ and 1990s’ craze for tank-treaded, double-suspension mountain bikes. The only time you ever found yourself “off-road,” dude, was on the C&O Canal towpath.

Hybrids came along, of course, a compromise between road bikes and mountain bikes. Now hybrids have been refined and gussied into “commuter bikes,” made by such companies as Jamis, Breezer and others, costing a few hundred bucks up to $1,000.

The handlebars are set higher than the seats, so you sit upright and comfortable. What a concept. The reign of the purists is over, and all the accessories they forbade are permitted again. There are baskets in front and racks in back. There are chain guards so you don’t get grease on your slacks, and skirt guards so you don’t catch your dress. Kickstands are no longer a heresy punishable by sneering. Fenders are back, along with mudflaps, so you don’t get a splatter trail up your back on rainy days. On some of the models, front and rear lights come installed.

Continue reading at Washington Post . . .

bike safetyAs More Cyclists Take to The Streets, Dangers Persist

By Moira E. McLaughlin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 29, 2008; Page HE01

I am waiting for my husband to ask me quietly whether I might reconsider biking to work, something I have been doing for about three years. After the July 8 death of a 22-year-old cyclist in our Dupont Circle neighborhood, I wonder when his “Be careful getting to work this morning” will turn into “Think you should find another way to get to work this morning?”

I don’t mind public transportation, but I like the flexibility afforded by a bike. Walking is all right, too, but I’d take my eight-minute morning bike ride over a 20-minute trek.

And I am clearly not alone. On one recent morning, I counted 10 bikers waiting for the light at 14th Street and Rhode Island Avenue NW. The Whole Foods Market on P Street in that area has two big bike racks, yet finding a space on them can be almost as hard as finding a space to park your car.

Continue reading at Washington Post . . .

Bikers, Pedestrians Seeking Better Web Maps (AP)

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

philla bike(Reprinted from the Associated Press’ Mobile News Network. Thanks Curt!)

By PATRICK WALTERS. Published: Jul 25, 2008

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — With the old gas-guzzler in the garage, you’ve got your bicycle ready and your sneakers laced up. Now all you need is a map of the quickest, safest routes for riding around town. Well, not so fast.

As more commuters consider ditching their cars to save money on gas, Internet mapping services, cities and community groups are being pushed to lay out the best routes for biking and walking — just like drivers have found online for years.

Technical and practical roadblocks stand between such a network becoming ubiquitous, but there are signs of progress in this world of $4-a-gallon gas.

Google Inc. just launched a walking-directions service. MapQuest is reporting more use of its “avoid highways” function and offering a walking directions service on cell phones. And some cities have developed detailed online maps to help walkers, bikers and transit-riders find the fastest routes.

“They haven’t yet reached the Holy Grail of ‘I want to go from here to there, show me my options,’” said Bryce Nesbitt, a walking and biking advocate in the San Francisco area.

The first challenge: how to account for factors that make bicycle and walking routes different from driving paths.

Pedestrians need sidewalks, but don’t have to abide by one-way streets. Walkers and bikers can cut through paths or trails not meant for cars, but they must avoid highways. Bikers, unlike walkers, need to think about whether a road is paved, and are prohibited from sidewalks in some cities.

All these variables mean the fastest, easiest route for a driver may not be the same as for someone on foot or riding a bike. And developing a comprehensive system for non-drivers requires a tricky step: collecting huge volumes of local metadata and getting them on national databases used by mapping services.

“In the U.S. we are primarily a driving country, or have been for a very, very long time,” said Christian Dwyer, MapQuest’s senior vice president and general manager.

Advocates believe making electronic walking and biking directions available on the Internet could help change that culture, especially in urban areas.

The technical challenge involves overlaying detailed information for walkers and bikers onto existing online maps, and then applying it to algorithms used to lay out the quickest routes. If some path, walkway or shortcut is on a map but not accounted for in the algorithm, it may be useless.

“There are some horror stories of the past of people being routed onto the Appalachian Trail or a couple driving off the ferry dock,” said Jay Benson, vice president of global strategic planning for Tele Atlas, an international mapping company that supplies data to Google, MapQuest and others.

But if these tweaks are done right, the Internet mapping services could tell a biker to use, say, a riverside trail to avoid congestion, while showing a walker to dart through a parking lot to cut off a corner — or at the very least to head against car traffic on one-way streets.

Some local efforts are already having some success.

In Atlanta, a nonprofit group set up a Web site last fall that lets people punch in whether they are walking, biking or using transit — and then get specific directions. New York also has a site that helps bikers avoid roads that aren’t meant for biking and make maximum use of roads with bike lanes and greenways.

In Broward County, Fla., planners are working on a project that would let users factor in things such as speed limits, traffic volume, lane widths and shortcuts.

The project, shooting for online launch by next summer, has programmers looking at aerial maps and punching key factors into the route-setting algorithms. They also incorporate things like where people or bikers can make left turns but cars can’t.

“I get a lot of calls from people, especially now with gas prices being up, looking for routes for how to get to work,” said Mark E. Horowitz, the county’s bicycle/pedestrian coordinator.

This week, Google Maps launched a feature that offers walking directions for trips shorter than 6.2 miles. That is being added to a feature already helping visitors find the best mass transit routes.

Mapmakers and route planners say they need to capitalize on existing community knowledge. That would be a change for companies like Tele Atlas, which typically goes out and test drives road routes itself. But it is open to accepting bike and pedestrian route information from cities and community groups if it can be verified from multiple sources.

In Philadelphia, for example, regular walkers and bikers know many shortcuts that save time. A bicycle commuter traveling from the northern edge of downtown to residential and commercial areas to the south knows he doesn’t need to meander through the congestion of Center City; taking a paved trail along the Schuylkill River takes time and heartache off the trip.

Such “secrets” could be shared with newcomers or tourists if they were added to online maps.

“The easier you make it for people … the more they’re going to do it,” said Joe Minott, executive director of Philadelphia’s Clean Air Council.