By Ariel Schwartz,Ariel Schwartz
City cyclists generally know what routes to take based on where there are bike lanes, personal experience, and what other cyclists recommend. In Berlin, there's a better way.
The Dynamic Connections Map, created as part of a BMW Guggenheim Lab collaboration, lets cyclists in Berlin, Germany map the best bike routes and then figure out which routes they should take in the future, based on recommendations from other cyclists.
The website first asks users to use a simple map interface to select a bike route they take frequently, requesting data on its bike-friendliness, how central it is, the safety of any intersections, and how happy they feel while riding on it. The end result: a map of Berlin's streets, sortable by all the factors listed above.
This view shows bike-friendly streets (unsurprisingly, there are many in this Western European city).
Here, we can see streets with safe intersections. Users can zoom in or out to adjust detail.
The Dynamic Connections Bike Map isn't just intended to help cyclists find better routes; it's also a handy guide for urban planners evaluating placement for future biking infrastructure. They could, for example, use the map of bike-unfriendly streets without bike lanes as hotspots that need improvement. And streets that are already bike-friendly are easy targets for future bike lanes.
The bike map is limited to Berlin for now, but if it takes off, expect it to travel to other cities.
Copyright 2012 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.