Archive | mapping RSS feed for this section

The casualties of war

17 Nov

This is one of saddest maps I have ever studied. It is an online slippy map showing where people died in  traffic collisions – every single square represents someone who didn’t come home one day over the past 10 years. Here are some screen-grabs. The first image is for the West Midlands area; the blue square indicate where people were killed in traffic crashes while walking, the green ones for people cycling, the orange ones for people on motorbikes and the purple ones for vehicle occupants. The second image gives a more detailed view. Notice the 1 year old girl, the 12 year old boy, the 20 year old young woman and all the others. Do try it for yourself and see what the war likes around where you live. When is this civil war (between motorcars and people) going to be brought to a close and who will ensure that it happens? Possibly for starters we should take a moment to grieve on Sunday along with thousands of other people around the world on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. See below for places where services are being held in memory in the UK.

Road fatalities in the West Midlands 2000-2010

Fatalities and injuries in the Birmingham area – detail

Services are being held in these places on Sunday 20th November 2011:

Aberdeen, Kings College Chapel, 3pm Contact: June Ross 07595 904360
Ashburton, St Andrew’s Church, 2.30pm Contact: Jeff Baker 01392 435627
Bath, Chapel Arts Centre, 3pm Contact: Sandra Green 01275 399025
Brecon, Brecon Cathedral, 3:30pm Contact: Cathedral: 01874 623857
Cambridge, St Luke’s Church, 3.30pm Contact: Rev Lance Stone 01223 351174
Carlisle, Carlisle Cathedral, 3pm Contact: Rev Mark Boyling 01228 523335
Chichester, Chichester Cathedral, 3:30pm Contact: Paul Foster 0781 069 7781
Gloucester, Gloucester Cathedral, 3pm Contact: Canon Celia Thomson 01452 415824
Hailsham, St Peter & St Pauls Church, 3pm Contact: Gill Powell 01323 847714
Halifax, Piece Hall, 3pm Contact: David Short 01422 392142
Hereford, Hereford Cathedral, 3:30pm Contact: Jackie Boys 01432 373311
Hull, St Mary’s The Virgin, Lowgate, 2pm Contact: Rev Michael Hills 01482 214551
Kidderminster, St Ambrose R.C. Church, 6.30pm Contact: Christine Sollom 01299 832581
Leeds, Leeds Parish Church, 3pm Contact: Carole Whittingham 0845 1235541
Lincoln, Central Methodist Church, 3pm Contact: Simon 01522 504 0711
Liverpool, St John’s Gardens, 1pm Contact: Pauline Fielding 01513 426381
Liverpool, Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas, 3pm Contact: Pauline Fielding 01513 426381
London, St James’s Church, Piccadilly, 2:30pm Contact: RoadPeace Office 020 7733 1603
Northampton, Holy Sepulchre, 3pm Contact: Chris & Nicole Taylor 01604 705171
Norwich, R.C. Cathedral of St John the Baptist, 3.30pm Contact: Bridget Wall 01366 382433
Preston, Christ Church Precinct, 11am Contact: Maria Hodgson 01772 720279
Ripon, Ripon Cathedral, 3pm Contact: Rev Keith Jukes 01765 603462
Sheffield, Upper Chapel, Unitarian Church, 6.30pm Contact: Rev David Shaw 0114 272 5338
Thame, St Mary the Virgin Church, 3pm Contact: Elizabeth Richardson 01189 231802
Worksop, St John’s Church, 3pm Contact: Mrs A Moat 01909 472324


Casualties: Stats19 as deposited by the DfT. © Crown Copyright.

Maps by ITO World Ltd. Base mapping © MapQuest 2011. Map data © OpenStreetMap and contributors CC-BY-SA

20 mph proposals in Edinburgh and road safety

13 Nov

Edinburgh is proposing a significant increase in the number of streets covered by 20mph. This is being promoted as a way to encourage waking and cycling and to improve road safety. It has been reported that they also support the scheme because ‘lower speeds make people feel safer when they are walking and cycling and make streets better places to live’. I am very supportive of 20mph zones, I live in one myself, and they do indeed help make streets feel less intimidating. However.. it is also very clear that 30 mph speed limits are being retained on the roads where most people are getting injured.

Here are three maps to show the compromises being taken between road safety and ‘keeping traffic moving’. The first map shows the proposed streets to be 20 mph (green and yellow) and 30 mph (blue). The second map shows where people have been injured between 2000 and 2010 by mode (blue for pedestrian, red for cyclists, tan/green for vehicle occupant). The final map shows these two superimposed illustrating that very few crashes from the past 10 years have actually occurred on the roads included on the scheme. (Click on maps for full size versions)

Existing 20 mph zones (green) and proposed schemes (yellow)

Location of traffic casualties by mode in Edinburgh 2000-2010

Overlay, traffic casualties 2000-2010 on top of proposed speed limits

One realistic approach for now might be to welcome the introduction of these 20 mph limits in residential areas and also to also press for average speed camera checks on the remaining arterial roads enforcing the 30 mph limit as they have just installed in part of Plymouth.

Mapping pedestrian/cyclist road casualties by age

12 Nov

The Stats19 casualty data that the police have been patiently collecting for many years now is a mine of information. Here are some maps looking at where pedestrians and cyclists are injured and killed depending on their ages. I have taken three places which show up some patterns which deserve more analysis (London, Edinburgh and Northampton). There are some obvious patterns, in that children are hurt in the residential areas, 16-55 year olds tend to be injured in the commercial centres and along the main arterial roads whereas 55+ year olds have their own distinct patterns. However, it is also possible to see tell-tail clusters which deserve more investigation, including the apparent rat-runs along ‘residential’ roads that have much higher levels of injury than surrounding roads, and also the junctions and sections roads where higher numbers of casualties that surrounding ones. Click on the maps to make them bigger and see what you can find.

South London pedestrian and cyclist casualties by age 2000-2010

Edinburgh pedestrian and cyclist casualties by age 2000-2010

Northampton pedestrian and cyclist casualties by age 2000-2010

Lots more mapping coming up on the lead up to World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims on the 20th Nov.

Rembering the dead on London’s roads

12 Nov

Thank you to the hundreds of cyclists who took part in the Tour du danger today to highlight a number of London’s most dangerous junctions and put pressure on the Mayor and on TfL to do some serious work on them.

Here are some maps showing where people are have been getting killed and injured in recent years. The first one shows deaths and injuries from traffic crashes between 2000 and 2010, the second for 2010 only and the next one for 2009 and the final one for 2000. Areas of blue indicate were pedestrians are getting injured and killed, red shows the high risk areas for cyclists. Purple is for motorcyclists and tan/green for vehicle occupants. Click on the images to see them full size.

Road casualties in Central London 2000-2010

Road casualties in Central London 2010

Road casualties in Central London 2009

Road Casualties in Central London 2000

These maps appear to show that fatalities amongst vehicle occupants has fallen from 17 in 2000 to one in 2009 and then zero in 2010. For cyclists the trend is apparently going the other way (up from four in 2000 to eight in 2009 and also in 2010). Motorcyclist fatalities are up from 0 in 2000 to 6 in 2010, pedestrians falling significantly. Do however be aware that this map only shows one fatality blob for crashes with multiple fatalities (which may include multiple modes). I will do some more work on this in the coming week and the figures may then need to be adjusted upwards.

Based on Stats19 road casualty data. See ‘Reported Road Casualties Great Britain‘ for more details.

Attacking the A40 bus lane in High Wycombe

17 Oct

Having abolished the M4 bus lane some hard-line motorists are now gunning for getting rid of bus lanes and are regretably even getting the support of local papers. A great example of this sort of thing is the campaign to get rid of the bus lane along the A40 into High Wycombe is now being championed by the Bucks Free Press who have created a ‘ban the bus lane’ petition to support their ’cause’.

The advocates of removing the bus lane say that it is dangerous and slows motorists – the council patiently explains that removing the bus lane will not increase the number of vehicles able to get into the town and will only result in slower journeys because of bus passengers switching to cars. The bus company point out that the lane is well used by buses and that they are about to increase the level of service with new buses.

Here are some maps showing what is going on (all taken from official data). The first one shows bus service frequency on roads in the area (yellow most frequent) and confirms that there are many bus services along the A40 from Loudwater in the bottomm right of the map into High Wycombe at the top left. The second one shows traffic counts and traffic mix in the area in 2008 – the small yellow dot on the A40 towards the bottom right indicates that over 85% of the vehicles using that road are private cars or taxis. This confirms that the problem of congestion on the road is from cars not buses!

Bus service frequency on A40 into High Wycombe

Traffic counts and traffic mix around High Wycombe

One of the reasons given for removing the bus lane is because ‘it is an accident waiting to happen’. Here are the actually accident results since 1985 on the road (big red dots a pedestrian fatality, small red dot a pedestrian serious injury, big blue dot for a driver fatality and a small blue dot for a driver serious injury). There have regrettably been six of pedestrian fatalities and two driver fatalities and also a number of driver serious injuries (how fast do you have to be traveling in a car in an urban area to have a serious injury I wonder)! Possibly this is a good reason to slower well-enforced speed limits rather than the removal of a bus lane?

The final map shows where the schools are and where the kids live. As you can see most of the kids have to cross the A40 road to get to school each day.

Fatalities and serious injuries on the A40 approach to High Wycombe

The location of school and school-age kids to the SE of High Wycombe

All maps produced by the pre-release version of ITO Map. Base mapping OpenStreetMap and contributors. All maps cc-by-sa 3.0.

Variations in speed limits in urban areas

22 Jun

Here are some maps highlighting a wide variation in the speed limits in force in urban areas in different towns and cities based on OpenStreetMap viewed using the Speed limit mapping view of ITO Map. Oxford and Berlin both make considerable use of 20 mph limits or the km/h equivalent (shown in green on these maps) with most of the other roads at 30 mph (shown in orange on the map). Norwich and my home town of Ipswich make some use of 20 mph but use 30 mph for most residential roads and have some core roads operating at 40 mph limits (shown in red). Stevenage has much higher roads with a core network operating at 40 mph and nearly all of the rest operating at 30 mph. This may be due to Stevenage being a ‘new town’ and having been built with separation of pedestrians and motorists in mind from the start. In Milton Keynes the core network operates at 60/70 mph and pedestrians only use these roads to access bus services. There is limited information in OpenStreetMap about the speed limits for most of the rest of the residential roads in the city.

Speed limits in Oxford, mainly 20 mph (green) with some 30 mph (orange)

Speed limits in Berlin, mainly under 40 km/h (green)

Speed limits in Norwich, some 20 mph, lots of 30 mph and some 40 mph (red)

Speed limits in Ipswich, mainly 30 mph with pockets of 20 mph and some 40 mph

Speed limits in Stevenage, core route at 40 mph with nearly all other roads at 30 mph

Speed limits in Milton Keynes, core routes at 60/70 mph (light blue and bark blue)

It is worth remembering that a child hit at 40 mph has a 90% chance of being killed, at 30 mph it is 50% and at 20 mph it is 10%. I will publish some maps in due course showing both speed limits and road casualties. In the mean time why not help improve the coverage of speed limits in OpenStreetMap?

When maps are biased

20 Dec

Maps are simplifications of reality and by their very nature introduce bias based on what they include and what they leave out. Unfortunately most current maps have a bias towards the car given that they leave off most of the detail that matter only to pedestrians and to public transport users. This problem is compounded when the maps produced by authorities specifically for these user groups also leave of the relevant details.

This problem was demonstrated very clearly to me today while we were delivering some xmas cards on foot today. We delivered our first card half way down Beech Road and then needed to get to the southern end of Cambridge Road as shown on the following map from Google. This map has an amazing amount wrong and is almost completely useless for walking directions as you will see as the post develops. From this map it would seem sensible to head north then east along the busy Woodbridge Road and then all the way down Cambridge Road.

Google Map

Actually, I knew that there was a convenient set of footpaths missing from this map so we set off south to pick up a footpath that went up through the woods from Mendip Drive and then east along a short path. The paths are shown on this map from OpenStreetMap. The small blue squares are bus stops btw.

openstreetmap take 1

However, we then spotted a footpath I didn’t know about which seemed to be going in the right direction. We asked someone getting snow off their car if it would help, but he told us to go up to the main road as per the Google map. I knew that wasn’t right so we completed the trip as already planned going down to Mendip Drive. The clever bit about OpenStreetMap is the edit feature, so when I got home I pressed edit and added the missing path and the map now looks like this – notice the additional path.

openstreetmap take 2

What is clear to me is that the guy cleaning was using a mental model based on the roads as supported by the Google mapping. It gets worse though.. There is also a mapping website called which aims to address this limitation with other mapping and which, as you might have guessed, promotes walking. Unfortunately it doesn’t have these paths on either and recommends the route as Google and the car driver! notice that there are no bus stops marked either. recommended route

And then there is the local official cycle map published by Suffolk County Council which also misses the paths off!

official cycle map

And now lets look at the local bus map which also misses all the footpaths and curiously doesn’t even show the positions of the bus stops which seem to be kinda important to public transport users.

Bus map

What is going on here? OpenStreetMap which is produced and maintained by volunteers like me is available for free and is very accurate.The official cycle map which is produced at significant expense by Suffolk County Council, the local instance of which was commissioned and paid for by Ipswich Borough Council and the local bus map which is produced by the local bus company all largely reinforce the car drivers view of the world by leaving off this critical detail!

I will again recommend that that stop spending money on these resources and promote OpenStreetMap as Microsoft do with Bing Maps which  can now display OpenStreetMap data. OpenStreetMap data can of course be used as the map base for all of the above specialist local maps if necessary.

Bing maps supports openstreetmap