Suppose you’re out and about in LA, and you’ve got a spare hour. What to do? Where could you go? How far could you go?
Thanks to Mapnificent, it is now possible to figure out just how far you could roam within a certain period of time in the Los Angeles area.
Developed by a German graduate student named Stefan Wehrmeyer, Mapnificent produces Google Maps that show how far someone could travel from one point using mass transit, walking or biking.
Wehrmeyer explains his project in much greater detail here and in the video below.
Mapnificent seems to work well where the topography is flat and the streets are organized into a grid. Check out this 15-minute radius map from the intersection of Wilshire and Normandie based on a weekday morning commute:
My travel radius widens when I add biking as a transportation option (meaning I’d be willing to bike and/or bus to a destination):
There are some quirks to Mapnificent that will probably get scrubbed out over time.
Jarrett Walker at Human Transit points out that Mapnificent assumes that “waiting time at a connection point is assumed to be a third of the headway, rather than half, because such connections are sometimes timed.” In actuality, noted Walker, “Timed connections are most important at very low frequencies, 30 min or more, where they make a huge difference in travel time.”
Walker also laments the absence of Mapnificent’s ability to adjust walking speed. Nor, I must add, is Mapnificent able to account for factors such as topography. For example, Mapnificent assumes that I could easily make it to various points above Sunset north of UCLA, in 15 minutes — never mind the absence of sidewalks or the topography (hilly and steep) on a weekday morning:
By and large, Mapnificent is a fascinating tool which should help Angelenos broaden their imagination about where they reach via transit, biking, or walking. Give it a try and let us know what you think.