Interactive bike commuting map

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Anton S., Nov 7, 2003.

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  1. Anton S.

    Anton S. Guest

    Has anyone seen or heard of a web based interactive commuting map, where you choose your start and
    endpoints and it figures out the best route based off of traffic flow, elevation, road condition,
    etc ? Or anything even close to this description?

    Anton
     
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  2. Rick Onanian

    Rick Onanian Guest

    On 7 Nov 2003 13:45:08 -0800, [email protected] (Anton S.) wrote:
    >Has anyone seen or heard of a web based interactive commuting map, where you choose your start and
    >endpoints and it figures out the best route based off of traffic flow, elevation, road condition,
    >etc ? Or anything even close to this description?

    No, but I've considered trying to start a project to make a program to do that. I imagine a program
    similar to MS Streets & Trips (or similar to mapquest/mapsonus/etc), with the addition of a few
    minor options that can make good bicycle routes.

    However, MS Streets & Trips is pretty good for biking, actually -- you just have to massage the
    routes it makes. First, change the settings for avg speed on different types of roads -- make
    interstates get 1mph and backroads get 99mph. Then, when you make a route, look at the result, and
    for each road you'd prefer to take over another one, add a stop on that road; it will be forced to
    route you through that road. In a few minutes, you have a good route.

    It would be easier with a program for bicycle routes, though. Are there any open source map/route
    program projects in existence? We could certainly work off of that.

    >Anton
    --
    Rick Onanian
     
  3. Steve

    Steve Guest

    "Anton S." <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > Has anyone seen or heard of a web based interactive commuting map, where you choose your start and
    > endpoints and it figures out the best route based off of traffic flow, elevation, road condition,
    > etc ? Or anything even close to this description?

    I've seen comments as to the need, but I know from experience that it's HUGE project, even for a
    small city, much less the entire USA ?.

    Many cities have planning groups, often including cyclists that develop cycling maps (often
    available on-line in PDF format). NYC is typical, as are the surrounding suburbs, all have which
    bike maps. These don't attempt to show the suitability of every road, but usually have a good
    selection that allow a reasonable route to be selected.

    But computer generated ?. Not likely. I've never had any luck with the on-line stuff and even my own
    mapping software from Garmin leaves a lot to be desired. I have yet to find any kind of data base
    that includes all the required data that would allow a computer to make the correct choices. Much of
    the requisite info. is in government data bases, but used for different purposes and is generally
    not in a suitable format to give you the information needed to make correct choices. Other info.
    seems to be scattered amongst the assorted for-profit mapping companies that are mostly proprietary
    and don't allow sharing of info.

    I've also found it necessary to field check any computer generated routes as the databases often
    have major errors in street signage and the actual condition and suitability (for bikes) at
    intersections, that may look just fine on a map, but in real life are not a good choice, thus the
    need to read the map, then go ride it, in both directions.

    My $.02

    Steve B.
     
  4. On Sat, 08 Nov 2003 00:45:01 GMT, "Steve" <[email protected]> said:

    >Many cities have planning groups, often including cyclists that develop cycling maps (often
    >available on-line in PDF format). NYC is typical, as are the surrounding suburbs, all have which
    >bike maps.

    This is needed for Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

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  5. >Has anyone seen or heard of a web based interactive commuting map, where you choose your start and
    >endpoints and it figures out the best route based off of traffic flow, elevation, road condition,
    >etc ? Or anything even close to this description?

    No. As I see it a commute, by definition, is a trip between two fixed points that happens, like,
    daily. It shouldn't take more than a small number of trials to determine an optimal route based on
    the available infrastructure and the individual rider's skill level and risk tolerance.

    It would be nearly impossible to build the kind of database you suggest, I think, because commuting
    is not just about terrain and traffic. Those are important, but what kind of program could
    incorporate the sorts of information that are of primary concern? In other words local knowledge.

    There are routes that look great "on paper" but which actually suck in reality, and vice versa.

    If I were to move to a new area, I'd be inclined to ask the locals for advice, or at least observe
    them in operation, to determine what is or is not the best route.

    The various mapping applications are fine, if you assume a motor vehicle is part of the equation,
    but the world is a different place on a bicycle.

    I like to think it's a better place.

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  6. "Hi, I'm TV's Oscar The Grouch" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On Sat, 08 Nov 2003 00:45:01 GMT, "Steve" <[email protected]> said:
    >
    > >Many cities have planning groups, often including cyclists that develop cycling maps (often
    > >available on-line in PDF format). NYC is typical, as are the surrounding suburbs, all have which
    > >bike maps.
    >
    > This is needed for Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

    You then need to work with your local planning department to develop one. In our suburban
    jurisdiction, a group of cyclists, formalized as a part of the Pedestrian-Bicycle Advisory Group
    worked out the bicycle system for the city. Each link is rated as primary, secondary, or tertiary.

    When any road improvement happens on an identified bike route, bicycles need to be taken into
    consideration in the design, at least in theory. (We won't talk about the recent bungling of the
    intersection of the Lake Hills Connector and Richard's Road.) Improvements to major bike routes are
    brought to the Advisory Group for suggestions and comment.

    The bicycle network for the city is routinely evaluated not only by the number of miles "completed"
    but also how much it is connected to other completed miles.

    If you need more information about how this could work for your town, please don't hesitate to
    contact me. I'm the current chair of our Advisory Group.

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  7. Doug Purdy

    Doug Purdy Guest

    "Eric S. Sande" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > No. As I see it a commute, by definition, is a trip between two fixed points that happens, like,
    > daily. It shouldn't take more than a small number of trials to determine an optimal route based on
    > the available infrastructure and the individual rider's skill level and risk tolerance.

    I've found it takes a lot of map examination and much exploring to find the optimal route, probably
    months... unless of course the commute is really short or there are few possible routes.

    > It would be nearly impossible to build the kind of database you suggest, I think, because
    > commuting is not just about terrain and traffic. Those are important, but what kind of program
    > could incorporate the sorts of information that are of primary concern? In other words local
    > knowledge.

    Gosh yeah, the computer wouldn't have a chance. The data doesn't exist and perceptions of risk and
    comfort in traffic are as similar as night and day.

    Doug Toronto
     
  8. Pete

    Pete Guest

    "Anton S." <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Has anyone seen or heard of a web based interactive commuting map, where you choose your start and
    > endpoints and it figures out the best route based off of traffic flow, elevation, road condition,
    > etc ? Or anything even close to this description?
    >
    > Anton

    Define 'best'. You'd have to give values for each parameter, according to 'you'. Don't mind traffic,
    but don't like hills? Shortest time or shortest distance? Or any weighted combination of the above.

    MS MapPoint might be a good starting opint to build what you need.

    Interfaces with GPS, and maybe you can derive elevation data. Traffic flow/density can be guessed
    (often incorrectly, and changing by time of day) at by street size. Define average speed for
    different types of roads. Define drivetime zone around a user defined point. n minutes from my
    house. Preferred road types. (Toll/Interstate/arterial/other) Export/interface with Excel. Build and
    add your own COM objects.

    However....parameters such as road condition (shoulder/curb/construction) are probably only
    available from the city.

    Downsides: Construction data only on highways. Not free unless you get it at a convention or
    something. Nor webbased (out of the box)

    Pete
     
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