You might recall I did a recent poll on three public transport questions. I posted about the first two here.
The third was about frequent network maps. Here’s the thinking:
Frequent public transport services are an order of magnitude more useful to people than infrequent ones. Nobody likes to live their life by a timetable, and frequent services allow you to turn up at the stop/station and go within a few minutes. They make connections easier because you don’t have to rely on timetable co-ordination (which is difficult to provide, and risky to rely on).
In short, a network of frequent services helps public transport provide the kind of freedom that the car provides.
And having a map of these services helps people see where they can go easily in a city, without first having to look at a timetable.
Just as people look at maps of freeways and arterial roads to see which way they can easily drive to things, many Melburnians already use tram and train maps to see what’s easy to get to by PT… because, as a rule, trams and trains offer reasonable services, while buses don’t.
Reality is a bit more nuanced than that. Having a map of all frequent services would be a good way of seeing which trips are easy by PT, and would be of particular help for those who have the choice to drive, but will decide not to drive if the alternative is quick and easy.
PTV publishes no such map, and last I heard, were reluctant to do so. Apparently they did some research and concluded it wasn’t worth it. This makes it difficult to find such information other than via looking for specific routes and using the trip planner. To draw a web analogy, you can search but not browse.
My little survey made it clear that most respondents would like to see a frequent service map.
Campbell Wright has designed such a map. It first appeared on the Human Transit blog late last year. His original version showed everything running at least every 15 minutes in the weekday interpeak period — but left off everything else — which unfortunately included most of Melbourne’s train lines.
This revised version includes services running every 20 minutes, but in grey. It leaves off less frequent services. The various routes are shown by frequency, with the thicker lines being more frequent. Oh, and it’s to scale.
As you can see from this excerpt of the middle-southern suburbs (my area) there is a grid of frequent routes reaching most suburbs, but some big gaps between the routes. If you want to travel north-south anywhere between the Frankston line and Warrigal Road, you’ll be stuck with 30-60 minute buses.
The full map covers all of metropolitan Melbourne — a great effort from Campbell. Check it out — Click here to view it larger
Campbell is keen to get comments.
I think my only niggle with the design is that I’d probably have included all Metro train services… their speed and capacity (even when they only run every 30 to 40 minutes on the outer sections) makes them perhaps worthy of a thin grey line at least.
I’m also torn on the scale. At present it does clearly show the big gaps in the frequent network, but making it to scale has also meant to cover the entire metropolitan area takes up a lot of space, limiting its practicality.
But I love the idea, and it’s a great effort. This map is really a great effort to highlight where in Melbourne you can get without too much trouble without a car.
There’s been almost zero promotion of Melbourne’s most frequent PT… it’s about time it started. PTV really need to stop pretending that people will just magically find out about upgrades and start using them. A widely distributed frequent service map could help a lot.
According to iOS6 maps, North Melbourne station is in South Melbourne, Collingwood Station is in the CBD
In the Apple Store at Southland the other day, I noticed they had all the iDevices maps set to satellite.
It wasn’t hard to see why — it took all of a minute or two to find some glaring errors in the street maps. It’s not just that tram lines are completely missing; they’ve put whole railway stations in the wrong suburbs.
It’s been well over a month since iOS6 was released… I wonder how long it’ll take them to fix this stuff?
How do mistakes like this even happen?
While I applaud Yarra Trams’ efforts to put more information on-board trams, this map threw me for a moment.
I’m used to seeing east (Box Hill) on the right, and west (Port Melbourne) on the left. This had it the other way around.
And before you say it: it wasn’t designed to match the actual orientation of the tram and the outside world, because there were copies of this map on both sides of the tram, so one was the right way around, and the other wasn’t.
Perhaps I need to just stop being such a map.square.
PS. I suspect the real reason for it being like this is they wanted the major route to be at the top.
Having moved offices to Latrobe Street, I wanted to know where the nearest ATM is — that is, those of my preferred (no fee) banks, St George or Westpac.
The St George ATM/Branch locator will only show five results — including Westpac ATMs.
Searching postcode 3000, it shows me those closest to the the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, none of which are west of Queen Street. I know of at least one ATM on William Street near Bourke Street, but even when dragging the map around, it won’t show any others.
The Westpac site seems a little better
, but doesn’t appear to show St George ATMs, only Westpac ones.
I’ve sent some feedback to the St George people. Will be interested to see how/if/when they fix it.
Update lunchtime: The Commonwealth Bank locator has similar issues if you just enter a postcode, only showing the 5 closest. But it does have the option of entering a full address, but if you don’t spell La Trobe with a space, it (and others) assume it’s Little Latrobe Street, thus showing me ATMs several blocks away instead.
The ANZ one shows about 15, none nearby. If you search by street name, like Commonwealth, you have to put the space in La Trobe, otherwise it has real problems.
The NAB one seems to show all results, but in pages of 5 per page, and with no combined map, which is hopelessly unuseable. (Imagine that, in 2010!) It allows me to enter a full address, but it has the same problems with La Trobe as the Commonwealth does.
They’ve also posted this gem on the Myki web site: Under Maps / Metro trains, it purports to be a “Metro train zones” map.
What an utterly pointless creation. No reference point other than the bay. How does this help anybody at all?
(Stop press: I gave feedback to the TTA yesterday, and they appear to have already taken it offline.)
Mind you, it could be worse. Because it’s so uninformative, at least it’s not wrong.
Unlike this one, which appeared on stations in late-2003, and is riddled with errors:
Apart from the fact that it’s severely not-to-scale (Box Hill is not next to Belgrave, and neither are Clayton, Glen Waverley and Box Hill all adjacent; Ashburton is actually north of East Malvern), it manages to put some places in the wrong zones: Williamstown is actually well within Zone 1, whereas Laverton, Sunshine and others are on the zone overlap.
In both of these cases, you really have to wonder: What were they thinking?
I was playing around with the Wii Weather Channel. If you zoom out, then hold down the button as you flick the controller just so, you can send the Earth spinning around wildly.
Anyway, if one looks around southern Australia, various prominent cities and towns are highlighted.
One caught my eye: Keith.
I’d never heard of Keith. Why was it highlighted alongside such significant settlements as Melbourne, Mildura, Bendigo, Bega (famous for its cheese, don’tcha know?) and Canberra?
Was it even real? Or had someone named Keith managed to hack into Fortress Nintendo and get a spot named after himself as a joke?
I checked. It turns out that Keith, South Australia is real.
I’m sure it’s a very nice place, but it does make me wonder why it’s so prominent on the map at that particular zoom level when it’s apparently only a town of 1200 people, while other nearby places such as Horsham (pop 14000), Warrnambool (pop 30000) and Mount Gambier (pop 23500) don’t rate.