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Cycle Maps - the new design challenge

1 bike Blog Posts cycle Cycle Planner CycleLifeStyle cycling InnerTube Bike Map maps Spokes urban cycling

I've been impressed by the quality of Cycle Maps which seem to have suddenly hit the web! Given that I'm about to travel, I thought I'd review some here!

London Cycle Map: This is a new map designed by Simon Parker. Having discovered the frustration of fragmented maps and routes, he has teamed with a professional cartographer to design and deliver a map which fits into your pocket. Here is what CycleLifeStyle UK have to say about it: "Parker’s design is centred on five routes that form a star-shaped intersection through a point lying beside Hyde Park. These routes are coded with the number ‘1’ along with a letter that describes their colour (N for Navy, R for Red, G for Green, O for Orange, and C for Cyan). Each of them is flanked by a series of parallel routes of the same colour that fan out across the capital, keeping the same general direction, like waves. The result is a network of parallel, coloured lines that dissect London at five different angles, each line numbered in relation to its distance from route 1 of its colour; odd numbers are below or to the left, even numbers above or to the right. In addition there are two circular routes; one connecting London’s major train stations (Y for Yellow), the other encircling the City (P for Pink)."

The map relies on signing the network of routes with the idea being that once people start using the routes, further amendments can be made. This approach offers a staged progression of dedicated cycle lanes and features. Although the network is not currently being created, Parker's map demonstrates the elegance of a system which focuses on getting to where you want to go rather than knowing exactly where you are.

Transport London have a great interactive Cycle Planner which allows you to enter your destination then calculates the best cycle route, gives distances and estimated times. You can choose whether you want quiet streets or main roads and whether you want to travel slowly or quickly. You can print your cycle route or upload to any GPS enabled device!

Edinburgh InnerTube Bike Map is a colour-coded map which aims to promote off-street cycling. While you can currently download and print the map, the designers are hoping to produce an interactive online aspect later this year. Edinburgh already has an excellent resource available through Spokes which can be ordered online or via the post. These maps have been around since 1987 and are updated to include new and planned routes. They come in several scales and include Lothian and surrounds.

and finally the New York City Cycling Map which is distributed by The City of New York. This map is updated each year and includes the new cycleways which are currently being built. I had a chance to compare the 2011 map to one which I had used in 2005 while doing my Fellowship in New York. I was delighted to see the improvement and look forward to more!



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  • Angelina Russo on

    You might be interested in this City has developed an innovative signage system to help riders on recreational paths navigate their way through unfamiliar territory by following unique visual IDs painted on the paths.Now, where is Boroondara?!

  • Angelina Russo on

    Hi GilbertI really like the London Cycling Map. It offers locative icons which means that I wouldn’t spend the entire cycle squinting up looking for street signs! I need to know that I’m going in the right direction rather than confirming that I’m on the correct road. Visual cues and other wayfinding measures (but not bumpy ones) would need to be simple and easy to understand. I guess one of the big issues there would be creating a lot of visual noise, particularly if there were multiple navigation pointers in the same place.What about you?

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