Mapnificent

The other day I came across Stefan Wehrmeyer‘s very interesting tool, Mapnificent, which estimates how far you can go by public transportation in a specific period of time (defaulting to 15 minutes). There is an option to indicate you have a bicycle available. Obvious uses of the tool are looking at commute times and evaluating a tradeoff of living in the ‘burbs versus rural. Another interesting use is trying to find a location that’s within reasonable travel distance to a group of people.

Because it’s maps and data, I had to test it out on some scenarios. First, here’s the reach from my home using public transportation only and with a bike. On each map, you can click to enphiliplait:

Places I can reach in 15 minutes relying solely on public transportation
Places I can reach in 15 minutes relying solely on public transportation
Range of places reachable from within 15 minutes of home, with bike
Places I can reach in 15 minutes by bicycle

The immediate radius around my home includes up to 15 minutes of walking. As you get further north, the circles are a combination of bus and walking. They get smaller as you go north because the bus is taking some time to move along its stops.

The map on the right represents the radius reachable with a bicycle, including putting the bike on the bus for a few stops. From the starting position — uphill — this seems to be a reasonable estimated radius. According to the Walkability Index people, we are 42 – Car Dependent. Yep, I’d agree.

Next, I wanted to look at the distance from my former employer.

Places I can reach in 15 minutes relying solely on public transportation
Factoria Square, Bellevue, WA
Range of places reachable from within 15 minutes of home, with bike
Factoria, Bellevue, WA

This area is interesting because its walkability index is high — 82/100 — despite being rather pedestrian unfriendly (heavily congested, near the nexus of two Interstates). Left and right are public transportation (and walking) only, right includes with a bike available.

What is a little strange about the data is there are at least three bus stops near the corner. The one just north of I-90 is the major launching point for express buses into downtown Seattle. Intuitively, I would have expected there would be a large jut west.

Next, I wanted to look at accessibility from a former former employer in Seattle. I’ve always thought of Seattle as having a pretty regular bus system. Indeed, its walkability index is extremely high — 94/100 — walker’s paradise.

Places I can reach in 15 minutes relying solely on public transportation
Seattle – just south of lake union
Range of places reachable from within 15 minutes of home, with bike
Seattle – south of Lake Union, but with a bicycle handy.

I’m getting hungry just thinking about all the good food that’s available within 15 minutes of south lake union.

Just for fun, I wanted to see what it suggested for my alma mata. Since graduating last century, they’ve added a light rail system through the Texas Medical Center. The walkability index here is somewhere in the middle at 62/100 – “somewhat walkable.”

Places I can reach in 15 minutes relying solely on public transportation
From Rice University, by foot or public transportation
Range of places reachable from within 15 minutes of home, with bike
From Rice, by with a bicycle handy.

Mapnificent is a pretty impressive tool, and one I wished were around when I was looking for a home umpteen bezillion years ago.

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