Un jour de la Société de transport de Montréal by TRAM (Transport Research at McGill) – (Ahmed El-Geneidy and his student Colin Stewart)
The earth is approximately a sphere, yet we try to force this round object into a square grid through the use of latitude and longitude and Ordinance Surveys. Why?
The rationale for use of grids depends on scale. We have naturally come to think of the earth rotating on an axis with a prime meridian reflecting that access on the surface, intersecting the axis at the north and south poles, complemented by an equator belting it. The equator has a natural physical meaning, but the prime meridian is arbitrary. Greenwich, England is no more the start of time than any other place. But longitude, if not latitude is arbitrary. The idea of longitude lines running north-south does have convenience in that it tends to align with the magnetic poles, and benefitting navigation.
Geodesic domes, developed by Buckminster Fuller (who did not invent soccer, but whose name was given to the Fullerene) enclose spherical areas with a mesh of triangles, forming many hexagons and 12 pentagons.
We could remap the earth using geodesic principles. Fuller did this with his Dymaxion Map. The triangular cut marks do not align with latitude and longitude. However, one should be able to align the triangles with either latitude (the equator) or longitude (a prime meridian), though that might cut land masses, which dilutes the political point Fuller was trying to make.
There are many ways to skin the earth, and stretch it out like a tanner stretches leather. The way we present this 3D object in 2D affects how we perceive it. We expect (in western countries) north to be up, and are disoriented when maps are presented otherwise. Yet we don’t expect our environment to clue us in very often, we don’t typically see compass marks in the pavement to show us which direction is north, to help us reorient (meaning turn to the east, oddly we never reoccident and turn to the west).
The map is the user interface to the environment, and we need to give it more consideration. We should also better embed navigation clues into our environment. Some cities post wayfinding systems around, especially near transit stops. Even (especially?) in the age of the almost ubiquitous smart phone, this still seems wise, so people can keep their eyes looking ahead, focused on the real environment, rather than face down in a phone, or staring into an imaginary distance with glasses.
Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends slideshow: 2012 KPCB Internet Trends Year-End Update
Nice slides on Asset-Heavy vs. Asset-Light dealing with transportation.
FH sends a link to this very nice visualization from the City of Melbourne: 24PM their pedestrian monitoring system data:
“The City of Melbourne’s 24-hour pedestrian monitoring system (24PM) measures pedestrian activity in the central city and Docklands precincts each day.
The system, which comprises 18 sensors, counts pedestrian movements to give the City of Melbourne a better understanding of how people use these precincts so we can manage the way they function and plan for future needs.
The online visualisation tool is an interactive map of these sensor locations, which enables users to see pedestrian counts on particular dates and times and compare data.”
I don’t know how I missed this, Via CA, Patch reports on a “Pedestrian Seductive” project in Hopkins:
“Planners envision Eighth Avenue as a ‘pedestrian seductive’ corridor that will entice riders into the downtown from the light rail station planned for Excelsior Boulevard. This artist’s rendering offers one vision of the proposed light rail station and the Eighth Avenue gateway to downtown. Credit City of Hopkins”
Let me just say, watercolors of trees and brick in the sidewalk are hot. However, steps from apartments onto sidewalks are merely amicable. Almost anything would be a higher and better use post-LRT than what is there now.
Wikipedia says the town used to be the Village of West Minneapolis, but took its name from the train station, named for the landowner (Harley H. Hopkins) on whose property the station was built.
The map is here.
Pioneer Press: Timelapse video: New Hastings Bridge is floated into place:
“Watch the entire process of moving the 6.5 million pound bridge down the river and being lifted into place, which took about 60 hours from start to finish, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The roadway for the bridge won’t be poured until next spring.”
Gabriel Ahlfeldt lecturer at the London School of Economics, presents on the digital conversion of data derived from Olcott’s Blue Books, the unique dataset of historical land values, land uses, building heights, and other information in Chicago and its suburbs, published annually between 1900 and 1990. The digitization project, which opens up new possibilities for statistical analysis of long-run adjustments in land values, involves using geographic information system (GIS) software to create a rectangular grid following Chicago’s street pattern and produce a unique spatiotemporal dataset, providing insights into changes in the spatial structure of the city.
Trucks, like other vehicles, have been anthropomorphized. The Anthropomorphic Uhaul has drawn ire. On Sodor, Elizabeth the Vintage Lorry was already old stock. Trucks of course were major rivals to trains, so Thomas and Friends’ prejudices are understandable.
To be clear, the anthropomorphic vehicle is not always goodness and light, e.g. Maximum Overdrive. There is an entire genre of horror movies about possessed vehicles, including: “Car, Maximum Overdrive, Duel, Christine, Black Cadillac and Blood Car to name just a few.”
One should also see: The Taco Truck Anthropomorphic
A new design firm, Carticulate, has pieced together planning documents and laid out Twin Cities (GreaterMSP for corporate types) transit maps in a much nicer way than the Metropolitan Council has … The Metro: Twin Cities Transit Visualized. Their white paper is here.
While there are still bugs (I assume Bottineau is the Blue Line extended, and will go to Brooklyn Center, not Maple Grove; Northstar has not exceeded projections; not all the fonts are consistent in size), the elements of the improved design can be seen on this and other maps they have on their website.
[I have complained about bad maps before. With better design like Carticulate's we can just argue the substance of the lines.]
I would love to see this for buses, and their work on improving bus stop signage.