A travel time map that shows reachable areas by driving and train

by Louisa Bainbridge
on Sep 19, 2017

Ever wondered how far you can get in 30 minutes? Using a travel time map you can create isochrones, these are shapes that show all possible locations you can get to within a set journey time. The TravelTime Maps web app can show all points that are reachable in 30 minutes by car, public transport, walking and cycling. The map below shows where's reachable in 30 minutes time using public transport from Birmingham New Street, UK. Sign up to make your own map here

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What's new for travel time maps?

When going from A>B, most people use more than one mode of transport to get a full route. It's common to drive to a location, park up your car and walk the rest of the way. At TravelTime, we've taken it one step further and made it possible to combine driving and train too. This means that users can see how far they can go if they drive part of the way and take a train for part of their journey too.

Compare the shape below to our map above. You'll see that both let the user travel for a max of 30 minutes, but the area of coverage is far bigger in the driving and train map. It's a good tool for commuters to find new areas to live. 

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Why it's so different to a radius map 

A radius map uses a simple calculation, drawing a straight line from a centre point out to the circumference of a circle. The tech behind a travel time map is more complex. A driving and train search understands you can't travel in straight lines, you must follow footpaths, road networks and railways. Firstly the API calculates time walking from the central point to a location accessible by car. We set maximum walking times within our API and these can be changed - developers can read our documentation here. It then calculates drive times to all reachable train stations and adds a delay for parking the car at this location. Finally, we use train timetables to see where's reachable by train in the total time. You can read more about using our search API here

It also has to ensure it still draws a shape even if the user can't reach a station in the time. Rather than returning nothing, we have layers that calculate just driving and walking in the event a train can't be used. Check out our isochrone guide page for more articles. 

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