Getting around London
February 1, 2005 3:57 PM   Subscribe

The Transport for London Journey Planner shows you how to get from anywhere in London to anywhere else by public transport, on foot or by bike. Fancy a stroll from Trafalgar Square to Big Ben? Help yourself to a custom-built PDF route map. If you're travelling by road, you can use webcams to see exactly what the traffic's like. (But the best downloadable London maps are still on the BBC web site)
posted by iffley (13 comments total)
I couldn't live without this site.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:04 PM on February 1, 2005

It is extra cool, and I've used it myself. However, when I'm on the ground and trying to get from point to point, the good old A-Z is my weapon of choice.

I wish public transport in the U.S. was even half as good as the U.K.'s and Europe's...there's nothing like getting up in the morning, deciding you want to go to Edinburgh for the day, and hopping on a fuss, no muss.
posted by MiHail at 4:14 PM on February 1, 2005

It's true; much as the British complain about the problems in our transport (and we have reason to), the actual infrastructure is amazing.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:17 PM on February 1, 2005

The BBC's tube map is just a bitmap, but TFL have a lovely PDF version.

Feeling bored? Play name the stations. Or try navigating the tube upside-down.

More tube humour.
posted by Mwongozi at 4:40 PM on February 1, 2005

We have one in Sydney too, use it all the time.
posted by tellurian at 5:32 PM on February 1, 2005

It's like a real life version of Scotland Yard. I'm coming for you Mr. X!
posted by euphorb at 8:17 PM on February 1, 2005

The Journey Planner is a great idea, and it's good for getting a general idea of what options you have for getting from A to B, but it falls down in the actual implementation.

For instance if I plug in the postcode for my house and for my workplace (3.5 miles between them) and then ask it to give me transport options, it comes back with some rather convoluted bus/Tube journeys, the shortest of which is 1 hour 4 minutes.

How is it possible, then, that I didn't leave the house till 8:45 this morning and managed to get in at 9:20? It's because I know, unlike the journey planner, that the cardinal rule of London transport is, avoid buses if at all possible, minimise line changes on the Tube, and walk if you get the chance. I walk about 12 minutes and have a 4 stop journey on one tube line. Door to door, 30-35 minutes.

Like I said, nice idea, shame about the execution.
posted by LondonYank at 4:40 AM on February 2, 2005

LondonYank: The planner's worked well for me in the past, and has recommended walking where appropriate. Maybe it has a weakness around where you live. Even Multimap directions sometimes just go haywire.

I also used to avoid buses where possible because I thought journeys would take a long time. But, under some circumstances (direct route, well-timed departure, within the congestion-charging zone, avoiding specific highly-clogged-up roads) a journey on a London bus really delivers.
posted by iffley at 5:48 AM on February 2, 2005

LondonYank: try clicking on "More Search Options," then changing your walking speed to "Fast" and selecting "I'd rather walk if it makes my journey quicker". I've found that using those options gives me an uncannily accurate picture of my expected journey times. Your kilometrage may vary, of course.
posted by yankeefog at 6:35 AM on February 2, 2005

there's nothing like getting up in the morning, deciding you want to go to Edinburgh for the day, and hopping on a train .. no fuss, no muss.

Well, I guess it depends where you're starting from. But if you're planning a day-trip from London to Edinburgh and back, you'll be on the train for about nine hours -- and if you don't book in advance, you'll be paying nearly £200 for your ticket. I fear you have a slightly rose-tinted view of rail travel in Britain. As far as long-distance travel is concerned, 'hopping on a train' simply isn't an option any more -- it's just too expensive.
posted by verstegan at 8:11 AM on February 2, 2005

Chicago also has a similar site. I use it all the time.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:24 AM on February 2, 2005

Anyone know a site like this for Paris? I'm going there soon.
posted by dnash at 9:18 AM on February 2, 2005

The San Francisco bay area has a pretty smart route planner too.
posted by ntk at 9:30 AM on February 2, 2005

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