What is the fastest mode of transport: walking, bicycling , transit or driving ?   Click on the map to explore ... more

From this location, of the city can be reached fastest by walking ,
by bicycling , by taking public transit , and by driving.

We walk to our neighbors' apartments and ride the subway to work. Our walking city is not our subway city is not our driving city. Each mode of transit creates a different scale and pattern of use.

This map visualizes the fastest mode of transportation from each point in the city to every other point in the city. Diverse modes of transit affect the efficiency of how a city works, and the reach of many of its citizens. We hope that these maps help shed light on the the way accessibility shapes one's experience of the city, and the need to plan our streets for multiple uses.

This map is activated by selecting a specific departure point. Once the departure point is selected, the rest of the city will be colored based on the fastest form of transportation. Those points to which it's fastest to get to by bicycle are colored yellow, by public transit: blue, by walking: green, and by driving: red.

To make this map, we gridded up the city at the block-group level, and then computed the time using each mode of transport from the centroid of the source block group to the centroid of the destination block group using the Google Maps API. For driving, we added a buffer time for parking and walking, and then we compared the four resulting times and colored the block-group based on the minimum.

A more complete calculation of transportation efficiency would not only take into consideration the time it takes, but the true cost of each mode of transport, including the cost of the vehicle, the cost of fuel, and the effect on air quality. In these calculations, walking and bicycling would cover even more area, and we will explore this in later maps.

Data Sources

  1. Google Maps Directions Services API
  2. 2010 US CENSUS Block Groups - Cambridge, MA