Sustrans, Bike Hub, Barclays, and others have invested in smartphone mapping apps to increase cycling levels. Why?

From maps to apps: getting more people cycling

Why? Because showing people where it’s good to cycle is a key part of every cycle campaigners armoury. City cycling maps, colour-coded with cycle routes, quiet roads, and highways to avoid, have long been used by bicycle advocates. Knowledge is power.

When people are shown safe routes to cycle near their homes, they’re more likely to take up cycling. (Such provision of information works for public transport, too: show people they have a hitherto unknown bus service close at hand and some of the newly-informed will ditch cars).

In the digital age, paper maps are less relevant. Online journey planners and smartphone apps are now the way to get cycle-specific geo-info into the hands of would-be or hesitant cyclists.

Apps from the Bike Hub levy fund, Cyclestreets and a whole bunch for London’s Cycle Hire scheme, including a new ‘official’ one from Barclays, are soon to be joined by an iPhone app from Sustrans. It has been submitted to the app store but is not yet online – search for ‘Sustrans’ in iTunes.

The app takes the info and annotations from the OS maps on the Sustrans website and makes them mobile.

‘The complete National Cycle Network’ app will be free app and includes access to over 25,000 miles of walking and cycling routes, including 13,000 miles of the National Cycle Network.

The Sustrans app also integrates with the public transport network via linkage with the DfT’s Transport Direct journey planning website. The app recommends cycling and walking routes rather than being a satnav.

The latest route developments and additions to the Network will be updated fortnightly and users can plan and save routes and share them. The app also has the option to record a GPS track of a used route.

The OS mapping highlights local grocery shops, schools, libraries, museums, sports centres, and bike shops.

Martyn Brunt, Sustrans’ Development Manager for the National Cycle Network, said:

“Whether it’s getting around locally, finding your nearest bus stop or supermarket, a safer route to school, or looking for places to go, this app is an invaluable everyday tool. The high standards Sustrans has applied in developing the National Cycle Network mean it shows the best routes for walking and cycling across the UK, and the level of local detail, no matter where you are, makes it a great ‘go-to’ app for local knowledge, everyday travel or leisure.”

‘The complete National Cycle Network’ app has been created by app developers Isomaly and has been funded by Sustrans along with funding from the Scottish Government.

In other bike mapping news, Cyclestreets has been awarded £27,000 in the Ordnance Survey’s GeoNation contest. Cyclestreets will use the cash to upgrade its campaigners tool-kit, allowing cyclists to suggest and map cycle infrastructure needs.

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