“Mapnificent”: Your Freedom to Roam

Long ago I highlighted an early product by WalkScore.com which enabled you to select a location and time of day, and then showed you a map of all the places you can get to on transit within a specified time.  Reader Tom West points me to a new effort along similar lines, called Mapnificent, by Stefan Wehrmeyer.  He describes the product on his blog in both geeky and practical detail.

Here’s everywhere you can get to in 28 minutes from 9th & Market Streets in San Francisco.  I’m assuming this is based on midday timetables.

The white dot in the East is a walk radius from West Oakland BART station, the first station east of the bay.

The sharp point sticking out toward the ocean is made up of walk radii around the stops of the L-Taraval streetcar.  As you go further out you have less time remaining to walk, so the circles get smaller.

Other assumptions are more peculiar.  Waiting time at a connection point is assumed to be a third of the headway, rather than half, because such connections are sometimes timed.  In practice, timed connections are most important at very low frequencies, 30 min or more, where they make a huge difference in travel time.  But there’s no consistent way to represent this with averages.  The WalkScore tool avoids this problem by tracking a trip via actual timetables, so no averaging is required.

It would be nice to have more options to fiddle with, such as your walking speed.

Still, these are important tools, because they help people make smarter decisions about where to locate.  Eventually, every realtor and leasing agent will use something like this.  And every transit agency will want its services shown.

18 Responses to “Mapnificent”: Your Freedom to Roam

  1. Zoltán November 18, 2010 at 4:14 am #

    And in the meantime, where frequent network maps exist, I will continue to press them upon people that discuss residential location with me.

  2. ant6n November 18, 2010 at 4:38 am #

    Just another reason to publish GTFS.

  3. Stefan November 18, 2010 at 4:53 am #

    There are actually options to fiddle with: click on Settings in the top menu bar!
    I am also experimenting with a slightly more sophisticated way of calculating the waiting time, but it remains a heuristic.

  4. jfruh November 18, 2010 at 6:18 am #

    It’s interesting that going out into the Sunset on the L is so much faster than on the N (which has no corresponding spike). I guess this is the advantage of taking the Forest Hill Tunnel?

  5. Tom West November 18, 2010 at 6:52 am #

    Warning: if your local area is included, this thing is horribly addictive.

  6. ant6n November 18, 2010 at 7:31 am #

    I think for TTC, it includes GO transit as if it was rapid transit – although they only provide rush hour service. On the other hand, it seems that for Berlin, the Regional trains are not included – although these accept transit tickets, and come hourly, or every 120min (i.e. generally more useful than GO trains).
    What would be really cool would be some sort of color coding that tells you how many transfers are needed to reach a point 🙂

  7. Stefan November 18, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    @ant6n the transfer color coding is an interesting idea, I’ll put it in the feedback forum:
    Berlin’s Transport Authority did not open their data, it’s manually scraped and therefore it is more difficult to include regional trains.

  8. David Marcus November 18, 2010 at 8:06 am #

    I’m a big fan of mapnificent. It’s worth noting though, that the reachable area grows as a circle from the transit stop…i.e., it does not capture the impact of the street grid.

  9. Sirinya November 18, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    I’m so bummed that LA isn’t included.

  10. Stefan November 18, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    @Sirinya I have LA and San Diego, but the licenses of the data are somehow ambiguous and I’m not sure if Mapnificent is allowed to use. Contacting LA Metro has not been successful so far.

  11. David P November 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    @ant6n – in Toronto, GO does provide all-day service on most routes via a combination of trains and buses. And it looks like mapnificent uses the “time of day” setting to determine whether faster peak period trains or slower off-peak buses are used.

  12. Tom West November 18, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    @ant6n – it covers an area (such Toronto and surrondings), not an agency (such as TTC). I don’t care about what agencies I use – I want to know how long it will take to get there.

  13. jonna November 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    We covered this on thecityfix last week: http://thecityfix.com/mapnificent-how-far-can-you-go-in-15-minutes/

  14. Paul C, Vancouver November 18, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    @ant6n. The GTFS data for a lot of transit agencies is already published. At least Translink in Vancouver publishes it.
    As for the program itself. It is quite interesting. It does take into account the difference between a regular bus route like the 41 in Vancouver and the 99 B-line. Both which travel the same direction. You can get further on the B-line of course which is shown on the map.

  15. Joseph E November 18, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    Stefan, go ahead and use the data for Los Angeles Metro. I am certain they will not bother you. They are currently in trouble for a few wasteful lawsuits (the suits had legitimate targets, but were more expensive than they were worth) and are not looking for any more bad publicity about unnecessary lawyering.
    And is there anyway you could make the walking and bike distances based on actual travel times? Google will calculate bike and walking distances for you. It might make the application much slower, but it could be done.

  16. Bill Kinkaid November 19, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    It looks promising but two nitpicks:
    1. It’s spectacularly slow to load. But that’s not unusual for this type of thing.
    2. It’s apparently based on Google Maps, with which I can roll my mouse wheel to zoom in and out. So why is the roll direction reversed on this site?

  17. Anonymous November 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Looking at that map of San Francisco, I think Mapnificent is way overestimating most people’s swimming speed.

  18. Jarrett at HumanTransit.org November 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Anonymous, Treasure Island and East Bay destinations are via bridge transit and/or BART