T-Kartor wins another TfL mapping contract

We are proud to have increased our share of TfL’s cartographic framework. T-Kartor is now the sole supplier of pedestrian and cycling information products containing mapping from the Legible London Database (which T-Kartor maintain under a separate contract).

A whole family products are included in this contract:

Local area maps
Highly-detailed geographic local area maps used for various ad-hoc purposes


Legible London mapping panels
These ‘heads-up’ maps are rotated to match the direction of travel and are placed on a number of pedestrian sign types. Additional information on these signs include street and landmarks indices and directional arrows to nearby neighbourhoods, landmarks or transport nodes.


Continuing your journey posters and leaflets
Highly-detailed geographic local area maps used at transport nodes such as station exits and bus station hubs. These maps usually appear with a schematic map of bus or river services. In some cases they are reproduced as an A4 leaflet.


Cycle Superhighway mapping panels
Cycle Superhighway mapping is elongated to suit the extra distance covered by bike, compared to a five minute walk distance.


Cycle Hire Docking Stations
These maps appear on the cycle hire infrastructure and involve an added technical complexity. The position of all nearby docking stations are shown on each map, so these maps are created paying consideration to the latest status of all stations within a certain radius.

We look forward to four more years continuing our excellent relationship with our highly valued customer.

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.

TfL Cycle Infrastructure Database

T-Kartor spent most of 2015 working as consultants on Transport for London’s Cycle Infrastructure Database. Following completion, work has recently begun field surveying all cycle infrastructure across the capital.

Background
London is undergoing substantial improvements in cycling infrastructure to meet an ambitious vision set out in 2012 by former Mayor Boris Jonson. Measures include the Cycle Hire program, Cycle Superhighways, traffic calming measures and specially designed junctions allowing priority and traffic lights for cyclists. The Cycle Infrastructure Database will be important for the following reasons:

As new cycle infrastructure is completed it will be highlighted on TfL customer information, which will encourage an increase in cycling.
A detailed inventory and overview of existing and new infrastructure will be an essential input to the planning process.
The new, improved Cycle Infrastructure Database will form the basis of improved cycle route recommendations on the TfL Journey Planner.

T-Kartor were chosen for this consultation project due to our experience with large data integration projects and our successful creation and management of the Legible London Database.

The creation of a Cycle Infrastructure Database requires a survey of all cycle related infrastructure: signage, road markings, traffic signals, traffic calming measures and cycle parking across London’s complete 14,000 km road network. Survey teams will register 70 different attributes and position them in relation to the road network. The database will store all of these infrastructure types, creating links to two separate GIS road networks: Open StreetMap, for presenting the information publicly on a royalty free map base; and the Ordnance Survey ITN road network, which is used internally by TfL GIS environments.

Mapping possibilities
T-Kartor created and maintain the Legible London Basemap on a GIS platform to allow flexibility of outputs and end uses. By linking to other data layers, new products and services can be supplied using the familiar Legible London base.

Some current examples:

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Cycle Superhighways appear on Legible London based signage and are aligned neatly to the basemap, stored and maintained in the database.

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Ticket Stops represent an important and constantly changing data layer for bus information products. The familiar OysterCard icon indicates the whereabouts of ticket outlets which sell and top up OyterCards.

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Cycle Hire docking stations include maps to show the positions of all nearby docking stations. This is essential information for users, who may need to deposit their hire cycle when a docking station is full, or find a cycle for hire when a docking station is empty. This data layer, holding almost 800 docking stations, changes frequently as building developments cause temporary relocation.

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Bus stops represent another frequently changing layer. This information is particularly important on station vicinity maps and bus spider maps, for ongoing travel information.

As the London Cycle Infrastructure Database is developed, it can be overlayed on the Legible London basemap and be easily incorporated into a number of new and existing information products.