Sunday, November 22, 2009

A frequent service map for Melbourne's south-east

As a fan of Adelaide's Go Zone concept, I've been following its application in other cities, eg Jarrett Walker's frequent network discussions on Human Transit.

Here is my attempt at a similar map for Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs. This area was chosen due to its concentration of major trip generators (often off the rail network) and the number of high-service bus routes (including SmartBus routes).

Unlike other maps, I vary the lines to reflect the service level on each route (or related group). A continuous line indicates a wide span, whereas a broken line operates for less of the day (and/or fewer days of the week). Line thickness reflects service frequency; thick lines reflect a service that meets my criteria for a frequent service.

Shown on the map are some routes that by themselves do not meet the criteria of being a frequent service. However where these overlap other routes to provide a high combined service I decided to show them along the common sections only. I believe this is useful for passengers unsure of whether to board that bus or not.

This map is is intended to supplement rather than replace existing information, particularly at interchanges. There will still need to be maps for individual routes, preferably showing major trip generators along them. Equally critically, alighting passengers still need high-quality geographically-based maps to guide them to their destinations (something often missed). Nevertheless, I think this schematic style successfully simplifies what is a complex network dominated by a large numbers of less frequent routes.

Comments would be appreciated.


Daniel said...

It's an interesting idea.

Some years ago I discussed with Metlink the idea of putting out a map showing train, tram and frequent buses (for non-Melbourne readers, trains and trams are almost always at every 15-20 mins or better).

They saw issues with it, partly because of the vexed question of where you draw the line at "frequent".

I still think it's got some merit though - just as I think the Smartbus label (for its faults) is becoming synonymous with frequency, rather than the other bits such as realtime information and bus priority, and it's worth considering labelling some of the frequent non-Smartbus routes as Smartbus.

Russ said...

Peter, I think it is a nice idea, but the gross distortions of space disturb me, as does the colouring, of bus routes which doesn't seem to add information.

The biggest problem in representing Melbourne's network is that it isn't coherent, so can't easily depict service levels or speeds, or even major network nodes (since they often aren't on the major network). I'm inclined to think you need two levels of map, an inter-regional map that depicts routes connecting clusters of major points and regional ones that show those clusters as radial networks (as in a CBD tram map). I also think you need better differentiation between service levels, rather than frequent/not shown, say, A level (6 min peak, 10 off peak), B level (10/15), C (15/20), D (20/30), and E (30/60).

Might be easier if I try myself though. Do you have a handy list of service levels for different routes in Melbourne?

Peter Parker said...

Russ, many of the high service routes are listed under related routes, and also in the frequency guide linked from below:

Craig said...

Daniel, intersting you say they sounded agansit it - have you seen that map in the Met Shop, that is a silimar concept, but more of a focus on cross-town bus routes...for instance 789/790/791 features, despite running 40 mins Monday - Saturday, while many more frequent routes missed out.

Riccardo said...

I still think the most navigable approach that can work in Melbourne is the old East Kew bus. You know the one, that left from Sandy to Southland, from Broady to Coolaroo, from Lilydale to Healesville to this day. The East Bong/South Morass/Knox City buses too.

People will remember the major routes that are paired/pulsed with rail routes, and that's a start. Add these to the Smartbus routes, you have the beginnings of a legible network. Beyond that, it will be hard work.

Jarrett said...

Peter. Great effort. When I present this concept, I often get this question about where you'd draw the line. While that is a decision you have to make in each case, it's not a reason to just bury the concept.

It's sort of like deciding that because you're not sure when to get up in the morning, you should just stay in bed all day.

Unknown said...

Interesting idea.... I might look at one for my area (North)