Cycling Visionaries Awards – Project Details

CycleStreets: cycle journey planner

CycleStreets: cycle journey planner

CycleStreets is the UK-wide cycle journey planner website, created for cyclists by cyclists. It lets people plan utility cycle routes anywhere in the UK (other countries being added), simply by selecting a start point and finish point. A choice of three routes are presented: fastest, quietest and an option balancing these two. There is also a Photomap with over 40,000 cycling advocacy images.

CycleStreets is the UK-wide cycle journey planner, created for cyclists by cyclists, and run on a not-for-profit basis. It lets people plan utility cycle routes anywhere in the UK, simply by selecting a start point and finish point. (Route-finding is really needed in a country like the UK which has limited cycle infrastructure.) A choice of three routes are presented: fastest, quietest and an option balancing these two, considered suitable for most cyclists. We’ve also developed a circular leisure-routing mode, being added to the apps.

Currently our routing covers the UK and a few other countries. We’d love to go worldwide, if funds can be found to increase server resources, and for people to translate the text around the site. (We’re in the final stages of open-sourcing our code.)

Cycling apps also use our routing, as do various companies and organisations around the UK – we are actively trying to get our routing into other projects. Apps include the Bike Hub satnav, the official Barclays Bikes app (for the London cycle hire scheme), Citymapper London, and more.

Main website:

Mobile apps:


Where has the information for the journey planner come from? Answer: OpenStreetMap.

Cyclists (and others) all around the country have collected street and path data and put it into OpenStreetMap (OSM), which is the map equivalent of Wikipedia. It’s a great project that anyone can get involved in. Cycling is an ideal way to survey street information: a bike can get round housing estates, cut-throughs, park paths and other areas much more easily than, say, a car. You can also make simpler changes like adding cycle parking locations or bike shops – just go to

We take a copy of OpenStreetMap for the whole of the UK each week, and we then use our knowledge as cyclists to create cycle-friendly routing. For example, we know that less confident cyclists in the UK dislike certain types of roads. OSM knows about cut-throughs that can give cycling the edge over car journeys. We know about the need to avoid hills where possible. Using this knowledge, we aim to give new cyclists routes they didn’t know about, and to find shortcuts for experienced cyclists.


As well as the journey planner, there is also a ‘Photomap’, which is intended to help campaigners:

Based on the idea of photos on a map, people can add examples of best practice or pictures of problems (such as lack of cycle parking). There are now over 40,000 pictures in the Photomap, each categorised with a caption and geolocated.

If you’re looking for a picture of something cycling-related, it is very likely there will now be a photo there on the topic.

We’re working to extend the Photomap concept through our other project listed here – Cyclescape:

There’s also a collision data viewer:


CycleStreets also has a range of free mobile phone versions available, thanks to volunteer developers:

iPhone, Android apps are available, and a mobile HTML5 site is also available at

CycleStreets routing is also included in leading apps for the London cycle hire scheme, such as the official Barclays Bikes app and London Cycle, and some others. There’s even a full ‘Sat Nav for bikes’, called Bike Hub, which the cycle industry has helped fund and which includes a great bikeshop finder.


– Help add your area to OpenStreetMap: and

– Help with the code:

– Add routing to an app – our data interface (API):

– Other ways to get involved:

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Martin Lucas-Smith, CycleStreets

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Category: Science, Research and Development

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