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How far will a 10 minute trip take you in Toronto?

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 29, 2014

toronto isoscopePlanning a journey in Toronto has never been so eerily beautiful. Thanks to Isoscope, the work of data visualization students in Europe, the effectiveness of a short car ride taken at any time of day is rendered in a visually striking, fluid-looking splat.

The site generates a layered blue blob to illustrate how far a 2-, 4-, 6-, 8-, or 10-minute car journey will take you from your starting point, factoring in typical traffic conditions and the time of day. A 10-minute car ride in optimal conditions from the blogTO office on Temperance Street, say, gets you to St. Clair and Avenue, Eastern and Coxwell, or a good distance down the Don Valley Parkway or The Queensway into Mimico (image above.)

There's also a pedestrian mode which performs the same calculations for walkers.

The map overlay was created by students at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences in Germany and it works for a bunch of cities worldwide. "Isoscope tries to [compare] different means of transport and their sensitivity for disturbances," they write. The blob tends to elongate in tendrils where the going is good and remain confined when traffic is slow.

Try it for yourself and see how far you can go in 10 minutes.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.



Riverdaler / April 29, 2014 at 11:22 am
This mapping tool will show you how far you can get on transit in a set number of minutes. http://www.mapnificent.net/toronto/#/?lat0=43.66768535179921&;lng0=-79.34291839599615&t0=10&lat=43.66383588382582&lng=-79.33927059169679&zoom=14
MC replying to a comment from Riverdaler / April 29, 2014 at 11:55 am
Good luck mapping out where you'll get in 10 minutes on a streetcar...if its the 506, 502 or 501 you'll be standing exactly where you were 10 minutes prior, but with a dozen more people waiting to cram onto the mobile sardine can.
Moaz Ahmad / April 29, 2014 at 12:13 pm
This is a very useful tool. Jarrett Walker who runs the HumanTransit.org blog has used these tools in his work and showcased them in his presentations.
Al / April 29, 2014 at 01:13 pm
They seriously underestimate walking speed. It says I won't be able to get to the end of my block in 6 minutes.
scottd / April 29, 2014 at 03:33 pm
This tool shows no difference between 1 am and 5 pm near my house which is near Bloor. Cool idea, but its not accurate at all.
stopitman / April 29, 2014 at 06:56 pm
The biggest problem with the tool is that it doesn't include pedestrian paths, which make big differences in some places. Otherwise, I think it's good because it starts a conversation on walking and the built environment.

That being said, I've made pedestrian/bike/vehicle networks and graphs and it's incredibly hard to do it well. Pedestrians are by far the hardest to model because of varying speeds, loose network compared to cars (i.e. cutting through a park with no paths), and various things that change how likely someone is to choose a street (lighting, perceived safety, # of stores, traffic, pleasantness, slope, etc.).
stopitman / April 29, 2014 at 06:58 pm
Also expect the map to cut out in a couple of days - that map provider is shutting down its previous business model.
confused replying to a comment from MC / April 30, 2014 at 11:11 pm
the sardine can is mobile but it doesn't move?
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