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News from CycleStreets

Archive for July, 2013

LiveRide for CycleStreets Android app

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

We’re pleased to announce a significant new version of the CycleStreets Android App (version 2.0). It brings a much requested feature – LiveRide sat-nav voice navigation.

LiveRide provides

  • Turn-by-turn voice instructions as you ride
  • Automatic rerouting if you go off course
  • Can run in the background with screen off
  • Option to keep screen on and prevent phone from sleeping

Once you’ve planned a route, simply tap the Start LiveRide button to get going. Once it’s established a GPS lock, it’ll start guiding you on your way. The display shows where you are and your direction of travel. The panel at the top shows the next turn and the distance to it. Your speed is shown at the bottom of the screen.

The padlock icon at the top right controls the screen lock. When locked, the screen will stay on. When unlocked, the phone will turn the screen off as normal. I use a handlebar mount and for short city journeys, I find it useful to keep the screen on. For longer rides, letting the screen turn off as normal helps preserve the battery. I’d also recommend using the off-line map pack too.

Planned route   Live Ride

Unlike many drivers over the past few years the chances of a cyclist getting stuck following satnav directions seem slim but do take care when using LiveRide.

– Jez

Beds for Cyclists on the Move

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Beds for Cyclists, the UK’s cycle friendly accommodation community, has teamed up with us to offer cyclists on the move cycle-friendly accommodation information on their mobiles. Cyclists can now find cycle-friendly hosts on the CycleStreets app and Bike Hub cycle journey planner apps.

Beds For Cyclists

Beds for Cyclists is the UK’s cycle friendly accommodation community created by cyclists for cyclists. It’s a fantastic resource for cyclists, and to have this information at your finger tips when you’re out on the bike is going to help a lot of tired riders find a good place to stay.

Both apps use the same OpenStreetMap data to provide the best cycle journey planner facility on the market. The A to B route planners offer three different routes; the Fastest, Balanced and the Quietest Route, giving riders of different experience a chance to find a route that suits them.

Sam Howard – Beds for Cyclists Marketing Director said “I’ve been using and recommending these route planning apps for years and have yet to find an app that tops them. I am delighted to combine the accommodation information we offer with the cycle route app market leaders.”

Carlton Reid – Bike Hub Editor said “It’s great to see innovative uses of the cycle satnavs available in the UK. The Bike Hub app already directs users to bike shops and now people can use the app to locate bike-friendly accommodation.”

Beds for Cyclists has also been utilising this journey planning software. Each cycle-friendly host now features a journey planner directly to their door powered by the CycleStreets journey planner. This allows users to plan route from any location to the cycle friendly host’s door with a few clicks.

Beds for Cyclists’ hosts also now have local cycle hire providers shown on their profiles. In partnership with Cycle Hire Info the three closest cycle hire centres within 20 miles are listed on the host’s profiles. It is notoriously difficult in the UK to travel on public transport with bikes and this will overcome that dilemma for many people wanting to have a cycling holiday. Beili Neuadd B&B and bunk house shows off these new features very nicely.

Sam Howard said “We want all sorts of cyclists to use the site and adding cycle hire providers allows people that aren’t too fussed about riding their beloved bike to get away and be able to cycle too. We’re always keen to support those encouraging cycling and cycle hire providers play an understated role in that.”

With the world’s biggest bike race underway and the cycle season in full swing, Beds for Cyclists is pedalling at full pelt to help others get away this summer on their bikes.

Beds For Cyclists

How far would you ride to avoid a busy right turn?

Friday, July 12th, 2013

The graphic shows work in progress to improve the quality of CycleStreets routes by taking into account the cost of making a turn.

This is part of routing enhancement work being undertaken by Codex Cambridge with us as part of the Technology Strategy Board Innovation Vouchers scheme.

Maps showing routes through a junction

Top: balanced route (amber) recommends turning right across busy Perne Road.
Bottom: by including turn cost the advice changes to straight on at the roundabout.

The upper frame shows three routes for a journey along Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge from west to east. The quietest route in green avoids the busy roundabout by using the shared use footway and toucan crossing of Perne Road. The fastest route in red goes straight across the roundabout. The balanced route shown in amber takes the first roundabout exit and then uses the service road marked Adkin’s Corner to connect with the shared use pavement.

The problem with the balanced route is that it is rather awkward to make that right turn off Perne Road. A rider willing to make such a right turn would likely be equally confident to have gone straight on at the roundabout.

Turning right from a major road into a minor road usually requires looking behind and moving out into the road to get into the right position to make the turn. If there is a lot of traffic it may require stopping at an arms distance from the middle of the road and waiting until it is safe to complete the turn. These factors amount to an extra delay and make the route feel more busy.

The lower frame shows the situation when the cost of making a turn has been included in planning the route and shows the balanced route going straight on at the roundabout.

Choosing the numbers

In the case of the fastest route the cost of turning right can be estimated as a number of seconds. The estimate has to be for a typical rider and represent an average time. In reality the amount will vary by the time of day, amount of traffic, the type of roads involved and the rider. In CycleStreets the only data we can easily access are the types of road. So as a starting point we can create a table with the following columns:

  • from road type (e.g. primary, secondary, service)
  • to road type
  • turn type (eg. turn left, turn right, straight on)
  • estimated delay in seconds

So for instance a right turn from a primary road into a service road could have a delay of eight seconds, whereas a left turn from a residential road to another residential road might have only a one second delay.

Turn delays in seconds only affect the fastest routes, and have no affect on the quietest routes which are only concerned with how busy the route. To account for turns in quiet routes involves comparing a right turn with an equivalent cycling distance. Eg. are you prepared to cycle for an extra 100 metres to avoid a right turn off a busy road into a service road?

Choosing the right numbers for that is a bit of an art and a lot of experimentation. This is work in progress, and there’s a bit more to do before we can include this in CycleStreets routes.

We welcome your feedback, especially to report bugs or give us route feedback.

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