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.
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.
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.
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 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
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 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 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.
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.