Cycling Visionaries Awards – Project Details

 
 

radlkarte.at

radlkarte.at is a digital map for cyclists in Vienna: two different networks of everyday cycling routes can be shown over a road map highlighting cycling infrastructure. The different network types give an overview of (1) the fastest possible routes and (2) the safest possible routes. This helps cyclists – especially those new to cycling – to see alternative routes between their desired A and B.

Motivation



Bicycle routing is much more complex than car routing. With a car everybody can drive at roughly the same speed and differences in perceived safety of a road are small: from young adult to grandmother, from tiny Smart to huge SUV, from driving alone to having children in the backseat.

However, this varies significantly for different cyclists and situations (young male adult with race bike, inexperienced new cyclist, unhurried grandmother, father with children on cargo bike,…).

Developing a good bicycle router is difficult because it requires information that is not yet available. State-of-the-art road graphs lack information like density and speed of motorized traffic, percentage of heavy goods vehicles in motorized traffic, safety of junctions and safety distance to the door zone. This and more information is required to estimate perceived and actual safety, which is at least equally important to a good bicycle route as travel time.





Idea



The approach of radlkarte.at is to guide cyclists based on personal experience of everyday cyclists, which is collected and presented on a digital map. No algorithm decides on a single best route, but route choice is left to the user and his or her individual needs.

The map consists of two layers: (1) a road map highlighting bicycle-related infrastructure and points of interest (POIs) in the background and (2) two (selectable) overlaid collections of roads that form different networks of everyday bicycle routes.





Background Map



radlkarte.at uses a customized rendering of OpenStreetMap that retains the known shape of the city by showing parks, important buildings and even motorways, but especially highlights features of interest for cyclists.

Roads where cycling is allowed are generally white, yellow or orange, depending on their importance (for motorized traffic). Gray is the default color for roads where cycling is not allowed, brown is used for uneven road surfaces like gravel or cobblestones. Cycle paths and lanes are superimposed in green, and one-way arrows are only shown when the road is a one-way for cyclists as well. Points of interest like bicycle shops or bike-sharing and public transport stations complete the map.





Network of Everyday Bicycle Routes



Two different networks representing (1) the fastest possible routes and (2) the safest possible routes through the city were collected and are regularly updated manually. The use cases behind the two networks are (1) routes for experienced cyclists when time is precious and (2) routes that can be cycled on with children and that are as recreational as possible. For both networks the goal is to give a big picture of how to cycle through the city – without too many local details. Selected roads are individually rated and visualized as follows:

– Premium (dark blue): exceptionally quiet and nice for cycling; places without cars; recommended for recreational cycling and cycling with children.

– Calm (blue): physically separated cycle paths and roads with very low volumes of motorized traffic; recommended for safety-conscious cyclists.

– Average (violet)

– Stressful (red): high density and/or speed of motorized traffic, dangerous door-zone bike lanes; uncomfortable and not suitable for cycling with children.





Usage



The target audience for radlkarte.at are people new to cycling or cyclists visiting areas of Vienna which they do not yet know well.

The map and its two networks help identifying alternative routes between a desired A and B, that match the users’ abilities and current preferences. Users can decide on the trade-off between calm cycling and travel time themselves, e.g. how many detours are acceptable in order to stay on calm roads. This is easily possible by switching between the fast and safe network and the color-coding of roads.

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Markus Straub

Wien, Austria

Category: Science, Research and Development

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