18 May 2012

[OR_liff] 30 Minutes on Mass Transit in Oregon

2823.This also speaks to mapping and information design, as well as being just darned interesting.

Before I quit the computer for the day, my wandering eye happened on this article at The Atlantic, titled "30 Minutes on Mass Transit in 20 World Cities": http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/05/30-minutes-transit-20-world-cities/2033/. It is what it says it is, but it gives you a concrete idea by diagramming it against maps of those 20 world cities.

Alas … this is one list Portland did not make. Didn't anyone tell them we were hip?

The maps in The Atlantic's article were generated using an interactive tool called "Mapnificent". Mapnificent allows you to zoom in on any city featured and, via a simple graphic slider, choose your time span. Three Oregon transit systems opened their secrets to Mapnificient, and they are, of course, Portland (TriMet), Salem (Cherriots) and Eugene (LTD). Here is Mapnificent's idea of how far you can get in Portland in 30 minutes on TriMet, starting from Pioneer Square:

Here's Eugene, on LTD, point of departure being Eugene Station (the block between 10th and 11th Avenues and Willamette and Olive Streets):

And Salem on Cherriots, departing from the Courthouse Square block, between Chemeketa, High, Court, and Church Streets NE (Mon-Fri only … Salem you are awesome!):

The intriguing part is the discontinuities on the smaller cities' diagrams. One can only assume that schedule information is a little incomplete, or the data set is elided due to some sort of express route or lack of stops along certain streets in certain areas.

The tool is located at http://www.mapnificent.net/. You can watch a short instructional video or just zoom in to the city of your choice, click on the marker, and use the slider to your hearts content. The interface is rather self-explanatory.

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