More than 18 months ago ChangingPace suggested, at a Sustainable Transport seminar, that Edinburgh could do with its own version of the impressive Cambridge Cycle Journey Planner. This was a section of the, equally impressive, Cambridge Cycle Campaign web site.
The CCJP was the creation of two cycle campaigners and computer programmers – Simon and Martin. It was a complex (but simple to use) on-line tool for journey planning in and around Cambridge full of local knowledge and packed with photos that magically appeared as a slide show along a planned route.
Just over a year ago the Scottish Government’s Sustainable Transport section awarded ChangingPace (via Cycling Scotland) a tiny amount of money (in computer project terms! – £5,000 UPDATE some controversy about spending on another cycle journey planeer) to develop an Edinburgh Cycle Journey Planner. The Cambridge duo soon realised that the opportunity was there for a UK wide CJP and began developing CycleStreets.net.
One reason that this became a viable project was the rapid development of Open Street Map which is a free to use (copyright – creative commons-attribution-share alike) on-line map which anyone can update and improve.
CycleStreets.net has been “beta” since earlier this year, this means that the public has been able to try it out but improvements (large and small) are still being made. Last week the Photos-en-route (PER) function was switched on which will be a great bonus once there are more photos (for Edinburgh) in the database.
Almost every town and city in the UK now has a sub-domain – e.g.edinburgh.cyclestreets.net (though most don’t have their own logo). Work is in progress to allow schools and workplaces (etc.) to have a customised start page for planning journeys (walking or cycling) to the chosen destination.
One challenge not yet resolved is the issue of hills. Cambridge is flat so a journey takes roughly the same time in both directions. At present the suggested journeys are impressively sensible (with a choice of direct or scenic) but estimated times are less reliable.