Report links NYC Citi Bike usage to commuter journeys


Citi Bike in New York City is mainly being used for a short stage of a longer multi-stage commute, illustrating the importance of good wayfinding information at cycle hire stations.

A new report into New York’s Citi Bike scheme has been released by the NYU Rudin Centre for Transportation, available for download here.

Citi Bike is proving a success, with 14 million trips during 2016 representing a rise from 10 million the previous year. By the end of this year the system will have doubled in size to 12,000 bikes and 700 stations. The NYU Rudin Centre for Transportation claims that the diversity of transportation modes are what ‘makes New York move’.

The report suggests that riders are using Citi Bike for ‘last mile’ connections on longer transit trips, closing gaps in the fixed route public transport network.

This is why T-Kartor specialises in producing map information specially designed for each stage of the journey. In order to encourage a shift to sustainable forms of transport, complex journeys must be simplified and more options must be simply presented. At bus stops, for example, we produce maps of available bus services, but also local area maps for those searching for their destination, and onward journey maps showing alternative modes of transport in the vicinity.

Key information for cyclists on New York’s Citi Bike maps (produced by T-Kartor) includes safe and recommended routes; infrastructure such as segregated cycle paths; bike hire stations and cycle repair shops.

Information designed specifically for each mode of transport (including walking and cycling) requires basemaps in varying scales, formats and media. T-Kartor’s City Mapping Platform provides one core basemap, constantly maintained in collaboration with city authorities, with outputs to all necessary scales, formats and media. These include information totems, printed posters, hand held map leaflets, digital displays and smart phone apps.

The power of wayfinding signage to influence behaviour

Always keen to use our mapping products in situ and view them from a user perspective, I recently decided to carry out some research at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The last time I visited was at the height of the Olympic Games and the area was teeming with tourists clutching the T-Kartor produced Host City Map.

I have read about legacy plans for the area and the London Legacy Development Corporation, a mayoral planning authority with the remit to manage ongoing regeneration of the Park and surrounding areas. One stated goal was to link the Olympic Park to the communities in the surrounding urban area. Legible London wayfinding maps are intended to help towards this goal, so I planned to see how well the system works in reality.

As part of T-Kartor’s creation and maintenance of the Legible London database, we developed the online LLAMA portal, from where Transport for London (TfL) can manage Legible London products in a geographic asset management view (above). From the portal I could see the positions of 43 Legible London products. An excel output broke down the details: 11 bus stop maps, 8 vicinity maps at stations (including DLR) and 23 walking totems, of which 4 are OWCRE (Olympic Walking and Cycling Route) signs along the canal towpath. In addition, the LLAMA portal allowed me to study the layout and rotation angle of each sign, and see a preview of the printed artwork (below).

What struck me on arrival at Stratford Station is the complexity of the area. A vast shopping centre and transport hub were my first impressions, but without a map it would be very difficult to appreciate its layout. I made my way across a huge raised walkway towards the old Olympic Stadium, now home to West Ham United Football Club, where I hired a (TfL) Santander cycle.

I often hire a TfL cycle in London, and head off in any direction with the confidence (due to the high density of mapping products) that I will not get lost. Although I was very unsure of the area, I soon came across map products and felt confident to explore.

The area is still heavily under construction, and does have a very deserted feel about it. However, I am fascinated by the level of investment in infrastructure that is still going on, years after the Olympic Games left town. The area is trying to encourage growing businesses, with Here East digital quarter, 3 Mills Film and TV Studios and International Quarter London (new home for progressive business).

My cycle ride took me first through the slightly desolate park, around the outside towards Hackney Wick, then along the canal riverwalk. Within a very short cycle I had experienced areas of urban decay and vandalism; recreational areas along the canalside, where people tending their barges lended a feeling of safety; vast, barricaded building sites; new business developments and the impressively landscaped grassy verges of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

An area of such contrasts, both negative and positive, needs cohesion and context. Legible London mapping helps by displaying how the area fits together, how to quickly walk or cycle to areas of safety and just how close everything is to where you are standing. The familiar design will have helped many unfamiliar visitors to the Olympics to feel that the area is as much a part of London as the West End.

If anything, I was disappointed by the lack of density of the wayfinding signage. Once away from the Stratford transport hub I found myself worrying that I had cycled ‘off the map’ before seeing another mapping signpost and breathing a sigh of relief.

I had also expected the area to be more complete than it is. I will have to repeat my field study in a few years and see if the sense of cohesion is improved as well as the density of wayfinding signs.

T-Kartor maps Stockholm

Together with the award-winning design company Familjen Pangea, T-Kartor has completed a project to create new maps for the tram line no 7 to Djurgården. The map designs are based on experience from our successful projects in London, New York, Birmingham, Houston, Toronto, Dublin and Paris.

The detailed maps show all points of interest in the neighbourhood and the best ways to find them or complete the journey to your final destination.

The project also included new maps for the commuter Ferry lines 80, 82 and 89.

“This is yet more proof of our long-term customer relationships with close cooperation and a continuous development of new projects. This project really shows the benefit of using a consistent strategy for Mapping a Connected City to support sustainable mobility strategies. We look forward to supporting Stockholm as it strives towards a Greener Capital.”
Erik Körling, Managing Director T-Kartor Content Management

T-Kartor to create bus maps for Paris

T-Kartor has been chosen by the Syndicat des Transports d’Île-de-France (STIF) to supply up to 40,000 automated bus passenger information maps throughout the Île-de-France region.

Passenger information is a requirement for all of the 40,000 bus stops in the Île-de-France. Previously it has proved difficult for the STIF to coordinate 80 separate bus service operators to produce this information to a consistent high standard. T-Kartor’s online production system will automate the production of the information, allowing bus service operators to login, order and download information for the appropriate bus stops, then print and mount the posters at bus stops.
STIF
The maps, produced by T-Kartor to meet the STIF’s detailed design specifications, comprise a basemap with relevant places of interest. A 5 minute walk circle is added help users appreciate the distances involved. Bus stops symbolised within the 5 minute walk circle are accompanied by a routes tabs which denote the bus routes serving the stop and the end destination to show direction.

STIF

T-Kartor will utilise our considerable experience in this field throughout the project. Our online platform is already deployed to existing customers such as Transport for London and the New York City Department for Transport. The system’s automated output tools will now be customised so that all of STIF’s products meet their high standards for quality and ease of distribution.

The first phase delivery is expected to be previewed for selected bus service operators by the end of November.

Royalty free basemap for Dublin Bus


Existing bus information from Dublin Bus

T-Kartor are creating a royalty free basemap for Dublin Bus to use freely for a range of transport information products. In our experience, licensing costs for derived map uses are becoming increasingly unpopular as modern online mapping solutions are getting us used to expecting free maps.

Here it could be relevant to point out some differences between free online maps and a quality basemap made specifically for a purpose which includes print products. While free online mapping is excellent for its intended purpose, that purpose is to underpin the offered functionality of an interactive application. Printing out an internet map at A4 size will reveal that the quality is not suitable for a larger scale printed product. Equally important is the content of the map, which should be tailored to the needs of the user, rather than catering for a generic world-wide user profile.

The art of cartography lies in choosing the optimal density of content and displaying that content in a clear information hierarchy and appealing design. This content, hierarchy and design should be individual to each scale at which the map will be used (and printed). In the case of Dublin Bus we will add layers of bus information as versatile route vectors, to be supplied as an integral part of the basemap. These data layers will be carefully aligned to the base at appropriate scales with a plan for their maintenance. The vectors can then be used in a variety of ways in future, such as automated information products or online interactive bus information.

The unlocked, layered basemap, supplied in Adobe Illustrator format, will be owned by Dublin Bus for any future intended use. This is in accordance with T-Kartor principles which seek not to lock customers into our proprietary solution. We are confident instead that we can offer services on top of the basemap which are so good our customers won’t want to go elsewhere.

T-Kartor named in Transport for London’s 100 top design icons

T-Kartor have been credited with the design of the Bus Spider Map, cited among TfL’s top 100 design icons. (Click link and see item 58).

While we cannot possibly take all the credit, we have contributed much to the design since the maps were first conceived and have supplied TfL with more than 350 ’Bus Spiders’ in the past 15 years.

The concept of the Bus Spider map is unbeatable in its simplicity. Rather than show all the complex bus routes in a given area, the routes available from a small hub of stops are displayed in a schematic diagram allowing graphic simplicity and balance. The popularity of the Bus Spider map has since spread to many other cities around the world, see some of our example designs below.

At T-Kartor we are always looking for ways to save money for our customers while at the same time improving quality. As part of a suite of software creating automated transport information for South Yorkshire PTE, we developed a semi-automated Bus Spider module. Automated processes reduced production times from 3 days to 3 hours!

Stockholm Spider Map


Stavanger, Norway Spider Map


Southern Railway Spider Map


South Yorkshire PTE (semi-automated) Spider Map

Public transport and pedestrian wayfinding information updates in Birmingham

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T-Kartor are delivering public transport and pedestrian wayfinding information in Birmingham. This phased delivery includes the production of new mapping and indexing for an expansion of the Interconnect pedestrian wayfinding project as well as updates to the existing totems.

In parallel to this we are working with Centro to refresh information at interchange bus stops in the city and have also created information for three brand new stops at New Street Station. The new and updated artworks communicate recent alterations to bus services and a number of projects that have changed the face of the urban environment. The new stops have helped fans navigate to the recent Rugby World Cup games held at Villa Park and in the longer term will assist passengers traveling by bus from the busiest station outside of London.

Birmingham has recently undergone many physical changes, from the opening of the extensively re-modeled New Street Station and the new Grand Central shopping centre to the Metro tram extension that is due to open shortly.

T-Kartor attend Intelligent Mobility conference in Birmingham

Intelligent_Mobility_conference

T-Kartor were recently invited to give a presentation at an event called ‘Intelligent Mobility in the West Midlands’. The conference, now in it’s second year, was organised by Centro and held in Birmingham on 6th July and saw the coming together of industry experts describing and discussing their visions for making the West Midlands a leader in developing and delivering intelligent and sustainable mobility. Our talk focussed on a Smart City solution for customer facing mapping and information and we introduced our new content management tool for tracking and managing information assets. The solution can be used as a platform for serving a variety of data sources onto a web portal – from public transport maps and wayfinding information to municipal GIS and asset data. These can be integrated into the system as dynamic layers and used to support intelligent mobility by interfacing shared information resources into a mapping background that is used across all customer facing information outputs. Moving forward we will be working closely with Centro and their partners to develop options for using this system across the West Midlands region

T-Kartor’s 700 bike hire maps in London have helped boost cycling to the highest levels ever recorded

700_bike_hire

T-Kartor have produced maps for Transport for London (TfL) for 15 years now and we also created and manage the Legible London mapping database. We have worked on their cycle hire project since it began and have outputted maps from our system for each of TfL’s 700 ‘Boris Bike’ stations across the city.

The cycle hire scheme continues to expand year on year and recent figures from TfL show that 2014 recorded a figure of over 10 million cycle hire journeys taken by customers that year. This is an estimated 12% increase and the 5th quarter in a row numbers have continued to rise – it is also the highest number of instances of bikes being hired since their records began.

T-Kartor and partners deliver ‘WalkNYC’ pedestrian wayfinding system

NYC5 NYC4 NYC3

A new pedestrian wayfinding system known as WalkNYC has been introduced in the city of New York.

Commissioned by the New York City Department of Transportation and its partners, the system offers pedestrians a series of stylised maps, orientated to ‘heads up’ so the top of the map is always displaying the same direction that the user is facing. This is, in part a reaction to research that showed 33% of people on the streets of the city could not identify which direction was North. The same research highlighted that 13% of locals were not aware of the neighbourhood or borough they were in when questioned.

The project is as much about finding the best way around on foot and discovering points of interest as it is about orientating oneself within the city landscape.

WalkNYC was delivered by PentaCityGroup, a consortium of:

  • T-Kartor who designed the geographic database and manage cartographic production
  • Billings Jackson Design – industrial designers
  • City ID – wayfinding experts
  • Pentagram – graphic designers
  • RBA Group – engineers and urban planners

The project is also an extension of the city brand, utilising a new version of the Helvetica font which is used elsewhere in the urban realm. The design also uses a palette inspired by colours within the city, icons that are based on certain design aspects of the Helvetica typeface and an overall look and feel that is reflective of the graphics used within the subway system.

Phase 1 of the roll-out will include approximately 100 ‘totems’ of varying widths dependant on location and will feature the same mapping style already used for the CityBike cycle hire scheme which has 300 stations so far and continues to grow.

Future phases of the project will look to expand the system over a wider geographic area and to include information about other transport modes. Developing into digital and other print channels is also being discussed.