New map tool calculates fastest way to get around Toronto
A lot was said about data privacy, climate impacts and the prospect of reducing car use in the city — the latter of which led nicely into the Google-owned tech giant's announcement of something called Toronto Transit Explorer.
Similar to OldTO, which launched in March, ToTX is a free open-source map tool prototype created by Sidewalk Labs.
Samara Trilling introduces the Toronto Transit Explorer at @SidewalkToronto public roundtable. We’ll post more on it tomorrow but it’s live and available to test out at https://t.co/ulSGb6O7Fy pic.twitter.com/SzLJ3LDfKd— Sidewalk Labs (@sidewalklabs) May 3, 2018
It's not a traditional navigation app like Google Maps, though you can use it that way.
What sets the Toronto Transit Explorer apart is its focus on showing people how to best access any part of the city, from any other part of the city, in terms of time spent.
Have you ever been in a hurry to get somewhere and had to figure out "which would be faster, subway, cab or bike?" It's basically an automatic version of that, with the exception of car travel.
Users simply click on a location and ToTX calculates how long it will take them to get there by bus, streetcar, subway, bicycle, walking, bike-share, wheelchair-accesible transit or a combination of these methods.
The Toronto Transit Explorer is a prototype that shows how long it takes to get anywhere using public transit—bus, streetcar, subway, and commuter rail—as well as wheelchair-accessible transit, bike-share, cycling, or walking. Enjoy and explore! https://t.co/Re2Ldqgsmq— Sidewalk Labs (@sidewalklabs) May 4, 2018
"Built on top of an open-source transportation router called R5, the Toronto Transit Explorer uses public data feeds from 13 transit agencies throughout the Greater Toronto Area to determine travel times, service schedules, and wheelchair accessibility," reads a press release issued Friday.
"It pulls data from Toronto’s Open Data Catalogue to generate bike-share trips, provides the option to combine bike-share and transit trips, and calculates personal bike rides depending on your choice of speed."
The fastest way to get pretty much anywhere in Toronto appears to be by bicycle as of early Friday evening, but let's be real — anyone who uses a bike could have told you that.
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