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Archive for the ‘Local Authorities’ Category

Bikedata beta – data for cycle campaigners in one place

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

We’ve been working on a new website, Bikedata (working title), providing cycle campaigners around the UK with a ‘one-stop shop’ for data that helps them in their work.

Today we announce the open beta of the site – ready for you to try out, but we know there are bugs.


Collision data

Helping campaigners campaign

Getting more people cycling means improving the infrastructure on our streets so that everyone, whatever ability or level of confidence, is able to cycle easily and safely.

To achieve this, cycling campaign groups around the country work daily to make the case for cycling. They look at traffic consultations, propose changes to the highway, scrutinise planning applications, and work with local people and their local council to achieve these improvements.

Getting changes on the ground involves both a solid factual case for improvements as well as making an emotional case. For instance, reducing speed limits to tame traffic relies on having good access to collision data to demonstrate that there is a problem.

Thanks to our Outlandish Fellowship and some kind follow-on funding, we’ve been working on Bikedata, which is now ready as a beta site. (Beta means there are some problems we know about still but it’s good enough to start making public.)


Traffic counts

Data to make campaigning easier

The site gives you direct access to UK data for:

  • Collisions
  • Planning applications
  • Traffic counts
  • Cycle theft
  • Trip length (from CycleStreets journey planner)
  • Problems reported by cyclists
  • Photos (72,000+ images) for campaigning
  • Cycleability ratings of every street and path
  • Campaign groups around the UK



Cycleability ratings

In most cases, you can use filtering controls to show what you want to find. For instance, you can filter collision data to showing serious/fatal collisions at junctions. Or, perhaps you’d like to see all the reported places where cycle parking is needed:



Cycle parking problem locations – filtering in action

You can enable multiple layers at once. Our aim with this in the future will be to enable various correlations, e.g. showing how high pollution and traffic levels in an area might result in low levels of cycling.

You can also (again in most but not all cases), draw over an area to filter for that. Some layers also have an export facility enabled, so that you can easily obtain a spreadsheet of the same data as the map is showing.



Area drawing, to obtain an area for export

What layers do we want to add next?

  • Pollution
  • Taxi data (Cambridge only at this stage)
  • Census trip data
  • School travel data
  • … and more!

Next steps

We’re on the lookout for funding to enable us to develop this further. We’ve achieved everything you see with under £7k of funding, so think how much further the site could go.

Things we want to do include:

  • Change the UI so that it automatically ‘tells a story’
  • Add more data layers, e.g. pollution and accessibility analysis
  • Add charts to show change over time, ‘telling a story’
  • Add heat map views of several layers
  • Enable comparisons between Local Authority areas
  • Add a proper design and interface – the current UI is essentially a prototype
  • Enable more filtering controls
  • Ensuring all data is up-to-date, e.g. collision data needs an update
  • Add permalink URLs to enable all views to be persistent; currently this is only partially working
  • Fix oodles of bugs and inconsistencies

If you’d be interested in supporting any of the above developments, please do get in touch.

Also, code contributions are very welcome – the code is open source and on Github, and should be very easy to start working on, so let us know if you need advice, or just submit pull requests!



Lots of collisions, and the cycleability of the road is marked as low: 40%

Thanks

Thanks again to Outlandish Co-op, without whose funding and support would not have enabled us to get this project off the ground.

Lastly…

What should we call the site? Let us know your ideas!

CycleStreets.net in the Propensity to Cycle Tool

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

A guest post from Robin Lovelace:

After 2 years in the making, the paper describing the Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT), and the thinking behind it, has finally been published (Lovelace et al. 2016). The PCT is an online tool for helping to decide where to prioritise cycling policies such as new cycle paths.

The PCT would not have been possible without CycleStreets.net, so as well as describing the PCT and its use of their routing services, this article serves as a big Thank You from PCT to CycleStreets.net.

What is the Propensity to Cycle Tool?

For those new to the PCT, it’s an online tool for helping to decide where to prioritise cycling policies such as new cycle paths. It lives at www.pct.bike – check it out!

The context of its development is explained in the accompanying video on that page. This article reports how the tool itself works and how it uses data from CycleStreets.net.

The PCT is best understood by using it to explore current cycling levels, at regional, area, desire line, route and route network levels. We will take a look at how the PCT works at each of these levels, after a brief look at the scenario results at the regional level (the senarios are described in more detail in the paper).

Under the 2011 Census scenario, the PCT represents levels of cycling to work based on the Census. This is a reasonable proxy for levels of utility cycling overall. We used origin-destination (OD) data from the Census as the basis of the PCT as this is best publicly available dataset on English travel patterns. The input data is described in the paper and can be freely downloaded from the official UK Data Service website.

The regional picture and scenarios

The first thing the user sees on the front page is a map of England, broken into 44 regions:

We used deliberately large regions because successful cycling plans should be strategic and joined up, covering both large areas and large spans of time. This discourages the stop-start investment plans that have typified funding for active travel.

By hovering over different regions, the user can see what the current level of cycling to work is. We can discover that West Yorkshire has a low current level of cycling to work, 1.3% in the 2011 census, and that Cambridgeshire has a relatively high (but low by Dutch standards) level of cycling of 9.7%.

An exciting feature of the PCT is its ability to allow the user to imagine ‘cycling futures’. This can be seen on the front page map by clicking on the different scenarios (set to Census 2011 by default). We can see, for example, that under the Government Target to double cycling levels by 2025, West Yorkshire’s level would rise to 3.3% (more than a doubling) whereas Cambridgeshire would see cycling levels grow to 13.7% (a larger rise in absolute terms):

plot of chunk unnamed-chunk-2plot of chunk unnamed-chunk-2

Under the Go Dutch scenarios, these regions would see 23.1 and 13.5% of people cycling to work, respectively. This represents a huge leveling-out of cycling levels across the country, but still highlights the fact that some regions have higher cycling potentials than others, due to average trip distances and levels of hilliness.

Cycling levels at the area level

To launch the PCT for a region, click on it. Try clicking on West Yorkshire. You should be presented with the following image, which shows the area-based level of cycling to work from the 2011 Census. (When using the PCT, it is worth remembering that the visualisations work for every scenario.)

This shows that West Yorkshire has very low levels of cycling to work, hovering around 1% to 2% in most places. This suggests strongly that the region has low levels of utility cycling overall (despite the successes of the region’s sport cyclists). There is a cluster of zones with a higher level of cycling to the north of Leeds city centre (around Headingly) but even there the percentage of people cycling as their main mode of travel to work does not exceed 5%.

Cycling potential at the desire line level

This is all useful information, especially when we look at how the cycling potential could shift in the future. However, it provides little information about where current and future cyclists actually go. This is where the desire line level can be useful. This can be selected by clicking on the Straight Lines option from the Cycling Flows dropdown menu. The results (zoomed in for Leeds) are shown in the figures below (see Figure 3 in the paper).

What the above figures show is that as the level of cycling increases in a city, the spatial distribution of cycling can be expected to change. Under current conditions (be they related to socio-demographics or infrastructure or other factors), cycling in Leeds is dominated by the travel corridor to the north of the city centre. Yet there are clearly many short trips taking place from the south into the centre, as illustrated by the high cycling potential south of the city under the Go Dutch scenario.

Allocating cycling potential to the route network

This is where CycleStreets.net comes into play.

We know how many people go from A to B by cycling from Census data. But we have very little idea of how they are likely to travel. This is where the routing algorithm of CycleStreets.net comes in handy. We used the CycleStreets cycle routing API to estimate the ‘fastest’ route for all short (well, up to 20 km in Euclidean distance) desire lines in England.

Not only does CycleStreets.net allow us to find all the fastest routes, a good indication of where new infrastructure should be built as people (especially women and elderly) have a strong preference for cycling along the most direct routes.

The results of all this routing work is illustrated in the future below, which shows the fastest and quietest routes associated with the top cycled routes in Leeds.

Interestingly, the big fat line up to the north-west is Otley Road, well-known to have very high level of cycling. This also shows up in Strava data as having high current levels of cycling:

This is not formal validation but it is a good sign that the PCT and other data sources line-up for the current level of cycling. The big question is whether the PCT’s estimates of cycling levels under various cycling futures, including Go Dutch.

Here is not the place to answer such a question. Only the passage of time, and commitment from people (perhaps informed by models such as the PCT) to sustainable travel will help answer that one.

There is much more to say about the use of CycleStreets.net in the PCT but it gets rather technical very quickly.
Suffice to say at this stage that it involved writing lots of code in R, a language for statistical programming, and that this has now resulted in the publication of stplanr, an R package for sustainable transport.

(For more on how to install R and (for bells and whistles) RStudio, which this blog post was written in, please see the relevant sections of the book Efficent R Programming (Gillespie and Lovelace, 2016).)

With R installed, stplanr can be installed with:

install.packages("stplanr")

With this package installed, you can start using the CycleStreets.net routing algorithm with the following function:

library(stplanr)
route = route_cyclestreet(from = "Leeds", to = "Cambridge")

which results in spatial data, which can be visualised as follows:

library(leaflet)
leaflet() %>% addTiles() %>% addPolylines(data = route)

There is much more I could say about the technical side of things but at the request of the editors I will leave it there for now. For more info please see the stplanr vignette.

I plan to follow this overview article up with a more technical blog post in the New Year. Watch this space!

Reference

Lovelace, R., Goodman, A., Aldred, R., Berkoff, N., Abbas, A., & Woodcock, J. (2016). The Propensity to Cycle Tool: An open source online system for sustainable transport planning. Journal Of Transport And Land Use, 0. doi:10.5198/jtlu.2016.862

CycleStreets wins Cycle Planning Awards 2016 ‘best innovation’ category

Monday, September 26th, 2016

We’re delighted that CycleStreets has won the ‘best innovation’ category in the Cycle Planning Awards 2016, organised by Landor Links.

The award, for ‘CycleStreets and Cyclescape’, recognises our work on developing the CycleStreets suite of tools, including Cyclescape.

As the winners announcement states,

“CycleStreets provide data to a wide variety of journey planning websites and apps, encouraging the uptake of cycling by giving people information on where it is convenient and safe to ride and also providing better routes to existing cyclists.”

Beating off some stiff competition in the Best innovation – use of technology or new technique category, we were nonetheless pleased to see that another project making use of CycleStreets, the Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT), was one of the runners-up too.

An unfortunate clash of dates meant we were unable to attend the awards in person, because we were in Brussels attending the main OpenStreetMap conference, State of the Map 2016. So thanks to James from the PCT project for collecting the award on our behalf:

  

As all good things come from Cambridge, it was great to see also that that the hard-working Cycling Officers at Cambridgeshire County Council won the category of ‘Most cycle-friendly policies (Local Government) – a well-deserved award to our friends there.

Thanks too to AECOM who sponsored the category!

You can read more about the awards on BikeBiz.

TransportHack @ Smarter Travel LIVE!

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Matt Whittle writes:

This weekend we attended the Smarter Travel Live hack weekend. The aim of the hack event was to produce an output to support one of five challenges set by various organisations. We chose to tackle the Carplus challenge which was to try and find a way to reduce the use of cars as the primary transport means around the Lake District.

To begin the challenge we brainstormed several possible ways in which provisions could be made to facilitate the ease of switching peoples mode of transport, these included:

  • Increasing cycling space on trains and buses
  • Car sharing schemes
  • Bike hire and sharing scheme

It soon became apparent that as a group we felt that a hire and sharing scheme would work best for the area, therefore we set off to try and gather evidence of how popular the scheme could potentially be as well as providing evidence to where the scheme would best be suited.

We were provided with a travel survey which listed the origins and destinations of c. 8,000 visitors to the park, this listed the mode of transport as well as the number of people making the journey. From this data we were able to visualize the flows of people to the park as shown below.

flows

From this data we then began to summarize what the most popular locations were in the region. For this we set out a criteria that popular locations had to attract more than 100 visitors from the data. The results can be seen below.

loc.JPG

This then lead to the question, where do current cyclists cycle in the Lake district? By using the flow data and some clever use of CycleStreets API we were then able to allocate all of the current cycle flows to the route network.

The approach, using origin-destination data routed to the on and off road travel network using CycleStreets.net, is similar to that used in the Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT). An early draft of a report describing the methods in more detail is available.

cycling

The analysis showed the the current popular cycle network had one main entry point to the lake the district, the thick red line flowing from Milnthorpe, through Kendal and out to Windermere. Beyond the corridor the data supported evidence that flows up to Ambleside, Grasmere, Coniston and Hawkshead were also popular.

The next question to answer we decided to answer involved trying to discover which car journeys could potentially be replaced by cycle journeys. Using the flow data and R code we managed to find all of the car journeys in the data set that were under 10km. Once again, using the CycleStreets API these were allocated to the road network and then visualized.

cars

This visualisation supports the idea developed in from the cycling data that cycling could be popular in the north Windermere area. A 10km journey would take an estimated 30 mins when travelling at a reasonable cycling speed of 12mph (19kmh).

These two visualizations therefore supported out idea that cycling could be a popular activity in the north Windermere/ Kendal corridor area. However what we had overseen was where should this system be implemented e.g. hire locations and how should it be carried out e.g. new infrastructure or rework existing infrastructure. Some research into cycle hire in the Lake District was carried out and we discovered that there was already a fairly large economy in the region, however the system does not support A to B trips, it is primarily for users to hire bikes from a location and drop off at the same location. Plans have already been suggested for cycle hire in Kendal. What we therefore propose is that a cycle hire system could work by working with the current bicycle hire network (see below, these are current e-bike cycle hire locations from electric bicycle network) to support A to B transportation by bicycle.

ebikes

Using all of this analysis we then created a ‘core’ cycle network based on the popular destinations, current cycling, car journeys less than 10km and the existing hire locations. This is where we suggest cycling infrastructure should be placed initially. Once this is built extentsions could be built to Grasmere, Coniston, Troutbeck and Grizedale in order to link up to other popular locations.

network

Our hack has therefore provided evidence to support a cycle hire network in the Lake District. The analysis has suggested that cycle journeys could replace a large amount of car journeys in the region, therefore reducing congestion. The initial brief stated that people wanted to get out of their cars when they were visiting the Lake District, this has provided a potential solution to that need.

We put all of our data, code and visualisations on Github.

You can view the map of all the spatial data created for the project.

Thanks to Landor and Transport API for organising such a great event.

Cycle North Staffs app created by CycleStreets

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

We’ve created a new cycling app for Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

The Cycle North Staffs app, developed by CycleStreets, is here to help you to get the most out of your cycling. The app is packed with routes across Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme to get you to school, to work, or for leisure. It’s suitable for all ages and abilities.

The app is available for both iPhone and Android, and is available free of charge:

   

The app has a wide range of features:

  • Plan cycle routes from A-B
  • Gives a choice of routes: fastest, quietest, and balanced option
  • Browse leisure routes – fancy a pleasant hour’s ride somewhere nice?
  • Browse points of interest, such as bike shops or tourist attractions
  • Shows time, distance and quietness level
  • Shows how many calories you would use
  • Avoids hills automatically where possible, and shows the elevation profile
  • Calculates CO2 saving compared to a car
  • Browse photos and videos of cycle facilities in the area
  • Save your favourite places for easy access

Leisure routes   Local area information

Points of interest   Photos and videos of the area

The app makes use of our open-source iOS and Android codebases, helping lower costs to the Council and providing a well-tested codebase.

We are able to create custom cycle apps and embedded cycle journey planner websites for Local Authorities, companies and others. Do get in touch if this might be of interest to your organisation.

The apps have been possible thanks to the great work of our developers Neil and Jez.

How can people help improve mapping used for CycleStreets?

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Finding out about good cycle routes – where it is safe and convenient to cycle – means availability of good maps and the knowledge of local people about their area.

We’ve created a new edition of our community mapping guide, Cycle mapping for cycle routing, freshly updated for 2014. The brochure explains how people can help improve CycleStreets and OpenStreetMap to help people find their way.

For the new 2014 edition, we’ve replaced screenshots and examples for the newer iD editor and made other updates.

You can view it and download it for free:

Cycle mapping for cycle routing

You can also browse it in magazine-style on Issuu.

Thanks to our brilliant designer friend, Ayesha Garrett, who has done the updates to the design work.

The original guide was in conjunction with Cycling Scotland, and some of the updates have been made to complement the West Sussex cycle journey planner which we run for that Council.

Cycle Hackney app created by CycleStreets

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

cyclehackneylogo

We’ve created a new app for Hackney Council, the Cycle Hackney app.

Available for both iPhone and Android, the app aims to provide information to the Council on where people cycle for their daily journeys, and where improvements to the street and path network are most needed. This combines crowsourced GPS traces to help create a heatmap of utility cycle journeys.

Download on the App Store    Get it on Google Play

The app is aimed at utility journeys – everyday cycle journeys, rather than being an app for the sport or time-trialling demographic that can be found elsewhere.

Cycle Hackney app - screenshot     Cycle Hackney app - screenshot

After each journey, a short questionnaire appears to obtain some basic demographic information – this only takes a few seconds to complete:

Finished recording

In a press release for the app, we said:

“We’ve been pleased to create the Cycle Hackney app for Hackney Council. Although there are other apps for leisure route sharing, none have focussed on utility cycling data. The app will help identify streets and paths heavily used for everyday cycle journeys, as well as letting people report problems on the network. Local people can therefore use it to help the Council improve cycle infrastructure that will enable more people to cycle. Higher cycling levels are crucial for economic, environmental and health reasons, and Hackney is a leading borough in this.”

The app was launched at the Hackney Cycling Conference 2014. Hackney Council asked attendees of the conference to come up with an unusual or notable route to the conference. Here were the two winning entries:

One person, the winning entry, cycled the boundary of Hackney – an impressive feat!

Hackney boundary

Another person took the opportunity to create some ‘GPS art’ to spell out ‘I Love Hackney Cycling’:

I Love Hackney Cycling

As well as giving a list of routes, enabling users to track their distance and calorie usage, the app allows people to upload reports of problems they encounter in their daily journeys.

Cycle Hackney app - screenshot     Cycle Hackney app - screenshot

We’re pleased that the new app was a finalist for the London Cycling Campaign Awards 2014, in the Digital Campaign of the Year category.

Hackney Council’s transport team would welcome any feedback on the app, for instance, new features that would be useful to add, or other feedback. We’ve enjoyed working with Hackney on this project.

The app uses code from Cycle Atlanta and our own CycleStreets apps. The app has been created by our developers,  Neil Edwards (iPhone) and Jez Higgins (Android).

PS We can create apps for Local Authorities and others that combine our portfolio of cycle mapping solutions – journey planner, photomap for reporting problems, GPS tracking, and information updates. Do get in touch if this may be of interest.

Steer Davies Gleave integrates CycleStreets routing for Local Authority websites

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Craig Nelson, from Steer Davies Gleave, writes in this guest post about their experiences of integrating the CycleStreets data interface (API) into cycling promotion websites recently created for Local Authorities:

In 2006 Steer Davies Gleave developed the UK’s first multi-modal journey planner for Brighton and Hove Council, as part of the Journey On project. Whilst it was ground-breaking, the project was tough – there was nothing on the market like it at that time so we had to work with a GIS software provider, set up a web service and play around with ITN data ‘fused’ locally collected network information. Whilst this allowed us to create a really accurate network for journey planning (including gradient information), maintenance was expensive and time consuming. Also, whilst we had full control of the network, it was near-impossible to let others edit or contribute.

Last year we took the decision to start looking at alternative data sources that are crowdsourced and alternative planning engines, and CycleStreets was the obvious match for our needs. We’d previously been working with a broad range of APIs for travel information provision – we like to use existing data sources rather than replicate or create new ones.

We were impressed with the CycleStreets approach, and really liked the way that OSM data was being managed by local people. With the push for ‘Big Society’ and an emphasis on local authorities saving money, we thought that hooking into what CycleStreets had created would be a good move. After discussing with Martin and Simon it became clear that an API could add considerably value to what we do and what we could offer our clients and, importantly, the public.

We’ve recently used the CycleStreets API for a wide range of multi-modal journey planning projects.

The first was a schools journey planner for Hertfordshire County Council. The client on this project really liked the way that their sustainable transport team could update the cycle network themselves and encourage others to do so as well.

Schools journey planner for Hertfordshire County Council

At the same time we were working with Swindon Borough Council to develop a new Swindon cycle map – we soon realised that we could use OSM to provide printed outputs as well as online and journey planning networks. Genius! With some initial support from the OSM team, we started to train up Swindon’s sustainable transport staff and get them involved with maintaining Swindon’s OSM network.

We now take regular updates to maintain their cycle map (printed and online) and rely on CycleStreets to update their journey planning network. It’s a fantastic proposition that works brilliantly.

Swindon Borough Council cycle map

More recently we’ve used the CycleStreets API for Travel West’s new multi-modal journey planner and will be using it for three more UK local authority mapping and journey planning projects.

Travel West multi-modal journey planner

What makes the API so attractive, apart from the regular updates to the network, is the ease of use and the way it can be integrated with our existing products. Clients love it too as they can keep their costs down and feel that they are buying into a really cutting edge source of data.

We’re really looking forward to what CycleStreets come up with next!

For further information, visit www.steerdaviesgleave.com.

‘White label’ cycle journey planners for Local Authorities and others

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

White label sites

We can create ‘white label’ sites which blend our journey planner seamlessly into your website, for a small fee.

We’ve created such sites for a range of organisations as our new webpage about this service outlines.

These sites are a great way to promote cycling in a Local Authority area or for a business. (They do not include the Photomap aspect of our system, to avoid liability issues.)

These sites can include:

  • Quick links to particular towns/cities in your area (or perhaps employment sites for a company)
  • ‘Cycle to us’ links so that the start/destination point for a journey can be pre-set
  • Extra option: Points of Interest (e.g. bike shop locations, cycle parking, etc.)

We can also include our leisure routing mode, or undertake customisation work.

Read full details on our White label sites page.

West Sussex cycle journey planner   Demo site: 'Placeford'

Bike Week cycle journey planner   Cycling Scotland cycle journey planner

Moving Somerset Forward cycle journey planner   PleaseCycle journey planner

Spogo cycle journey planner   Bike Hub cycle journey planner

LCC cycle journey planner   CTC cycle journey planner

Traveline Cymru adds cycle routing from CycleStreets

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

This is a guest post from Traveline Cymru who have just integrated our cycle routing data interface (API) into their multi-modal travel service.

Traveline Cymru logo

Traveline Cymru has launched the latest addition to the journey planning service on its website, with the introduction of the option to plan a cycle route. The routing is provided by CycleStreets.

Now when planning a journey in Wales using the Traveline Cymru website, you will be able to select ‘cycle only’ and a written route of directions will be provided as well as the option to view your route in map form.

Step 1: Go to the Traveline website and plan your journey by entering a travelling from and a going to destination.

By selecting ‘Additional Options’ it allows you to decide what kind of cycle route you require for example the fastest or quietest way. It also gives the option to select a cycling speed.

Traveline Cymru screenshot

Step 2: Select the ‘Cycle Only’ tab.

Step 3: This then allows you to see how long your cycle journey will take you. To get further information on the route, click ‘Journey Details’.

Traveline Cymru screenshot   Traveline Cymru screenshot

Step 4: The journey details will tell you exactly what roads you will be cycling down, how far to go and how long it will take you. This can be saved, bookmarked, printed or emailed for future reference.

Step 5: If you would like to see your journey plotted on a map, click ‘View route on map’. This will then open another browser with your cycle route shown on a Google map. The yellow markers indicate a new point on your written instructions.

Traveline Cymru screenshot   Traveline Cymru screenshot

Traveline are very excited about the addition of CycleStreets to the website as it will allow people to consider cycling as one of their travel options. It helps put Traveline Cymru one step closer to being Wales’ one stop shop for ALL travel information.

Please visit http://planner.traveline-cymru.info/journeyplanner/enterJourneyPlan.do to try it out for yourself!

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

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