CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Computers, GPS, 'Smart' 'Phones

Edinburgh Cycling App

(29 posts)

  1. Rosie
    Member

    Anyone interested in this app? Anyone know anything about it?

    "Kerstin from Bike Citizens, an Austrian cycling technology specialist.

    Edinburgh has a new cycling app. The app is called Bike Citizens and navigates without internet connection on the most cycle-friendly route from A to B. I assumed that you might be interested to test the app?

    The app and our other tools are available in whole Europe (237 cities), but were not available in the UK until recently. This week we've launched more than 50 cities in the UK.

    We would like to invite you to try our app Bike Citizens and to be the first to write about the new available tools.

    What's new:
    Bike Citizens App: http://www.bikecitizens.net/app/
    5 minutes by bike: http://map.bikecitizens.net/5mins
    "

    Posted 7 years ago #
  2. chdot
    Admin

    Got an email with a code -

    CYCLE YOUR CITYG

    So far can't get app (iPhone) to plan routes!

    Doesn't seem to have a 'start where you are' option.

    Will try it again, but...

    Posted 7 years ago #
  3. wingpig
    Member

    "The Bike Citizens app uses the know-how of bike couriers."

    Unfortunately I tend to treat that sort of thing as a red flag.

    "The app is specifically designed for the needs of cyclists in cities. It favours cycle paths and side streets and avoids busy main streets."

    Presumably it edits out the bits couriers use which they should legally not use?

    "Get the best routing across the city to make cycling even more comfortable and fun – discover the city from a new perspective!"

    Posted 7 years ago #
  4. tk
    Member

    You can get your city for free if you cycle 100km in 30 days with the app active. I presume they are trying to do this to detect which cycle routes are used but from what I've heard most people are turning it on in a car cradle while driving to get the free maps quickly. Could result in cycling down the bypass....

    Routing didn't work for me either

    Posted 7 years ago #
  5. chdot
    Admin

    The web site version (http://map.bikecitizens.net/gb-edinburgh) is interesting. It has dragable start and finish pins that plan routes dynamically and (only tried a couple) plans routes that are different from CycleStreets (which may or may not be a good thing!) but the estimated journey times are very optimistic.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  6. chdot
    Admin

    This one lets you use multiple points (for choosing intermediate places) just by touching the screen.

    http://cycle.travel/map

    Posted 7 years ago #
  7. chrisfl
    Member

    Not yet had a chance to play with the App. But liking the website.

    Looks like routing is based on OpenStreetMap - and from my quick look routing seem to be broadly inline with cycle.travel and cyclestreets.net routes. Although they do allow you to choose a bike type MTB, City Bike or Road Bike.

    But the "5 minutes" by bike feature is really nice. I'm just having a play and choosing the top of MMW and seeing what's within 15 minutes is really powerfull map.bikecitizens.net/gb-edinburgh#/!/1/1/55.94257,-3.1917/*,15 You can really see the impact of the Innocent Railway path, Goldenacre/Trinity Path and to a lesser degree the Canal.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  8. chdot
    Admin

    "Looks like routing is based on OpenStreetMap"

    But not CycleStreets?

    The 5 min idea is good/neat, but I think your 15 min example shows that the speed/time/distance is optimistic.

    Suspect not taking into account traffic lights and/or hills enough(?)

    Posted 7 years ago #
  9. chrisfl
    Member

    Definitely same data, different routing engine.

    If I look at Waterloo Place to Haymarket, Cyclestreets says 12 minutes (9 traffic lights and 4 pedestrian crossings) while bikecitizen says 7 minutes.

    But for a 4ish miles along the canal cyclesteets says 25 minutes (using default 12mph speed) and bikecitizen 23 minutes. So almost the same.

    Also looks like hills aren't taken into account, so bottom of the mound down to the start of lower Granton Road, bikecitizens gives 12 minutes for each direction. While cyclesteets says 13 minutes downhill and 21 minutes back. http://www.cyclestreets.net/journey/45376109/

    Posted 7 years ago #
  10. cb
    Member

    Harrison Road to Murieston Road seems to refuse to go via Ardmillan Terrace. Cyclestreets doesn't seem to make that error.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  11. chrisfl
    Member

    @cb that's mad, I did manage to get it to route down Ardmillan Terrace, but only using the Fast option.

    I think they've decided to go via Ardmillan Place; because it's a quiet road, even through there is only a tiny saving on "busier" roads.

    I really like the interface, but the routing really isn't up to scratch (yet).

    Posted 7 years ago #
  12. bikecitizens
    Member

    Hello. Didi here from Bike Citizens.

    Thanks for your feedback. After looking at the cases mentioned in this thread, I'll try to give some answers:

    Yes, we do use OpenStreetMap (as most cycle route planners).
    We built a routing engine from scratch - mainly because there was no real alternative for offline routing when we started with this project.

    @chdot
    > Doesn't seem to have a 'start where you are' option.

    The App uses the current location as starting point by default. Only if it's not available (e.g. no GPS fix) manual entry is needed in order to calculate a route

    > Suspect not taking into account traffic lights and/or hills enough(?)

    We do consider elevation data. We do not yet directly consider traffic lights, but look at the sizes of crossing ways in junctions (on average crossing a large road takes longer then crossing a small one).

    @wingpig
    > Presumably it edits out the bits couriers use which they should legally not use?

    Yes, it does :-)
    Of course courier style routes aren't a viable option for most of us. Still, they can give very useful input when it comes to fine tune the "cost factors" of the routing. They know very well what's less or more safe, where time is lost etc. Also, two of us regularly ride with a trailer with Baby/kid inside, so we are also aware of different perspectives / requirements.

    @tk
    > I presume they are trying to do this to detect which cycle routes are used but from what I've heard most people are turning it on in a car cradle while driving to get the free maps quickly.

    We do use the data for visualizations (e.g. http://www.naden.de/blog/bbvideo-bbpress-video-plugin -->

    [+] Embed the video | this one, research projects (e.g. BikeWave and are working on analytics tools for city planners.
    " target="_blank">Video Download
    Get the Video Plugin
    However the "cylce to free" option was not created with that in mind. It was our solution to the dilemma that the previous classical trial period (limited to 30 km) was a disincentive to cycling.
    If people use the car to unlock the maps, that's a pity. We may later retrospectively analyse the tracks and get back to those who cheated ;-)

    @chrisfl
    > Although they do allow you to choose a bike type MTB, City Bike or Road Bike.

    We do. It's just a bit hidden under the "More" button. However the bike type selection doesn't so far have a big influence on the routing - except when it's about the surface quality (and the correct data is in the OpenStreetMap).

    > If I look at Waterloo Place to Haymarket, Cyclestreets says 12 minutes (9 traffic lights and 4 pedestrian crossings) while bikecitizen says 7 minutes.

    It says 7 minutes with the "fast" routing profile
    With the "balanced" one it says 10 and with the "easy" one 12 minutes. We assume different average speeds based on routing profile selection.

    > Also looks like hills aren't taken into account, so bottom of the mound down to the start of lower Granton Road, bikecitizens gives 12 minutes for each direction.

    I can't confirm this. See downhill (13 min), uphill (18 min) - both with "balanced" profile (with the "fast" one it's 9 and 12 mins). Or did I misinterpret the start/destination locations?

    > Harrison Road to Murieston Road seems to refuse to go via Ardmillan Terrace.

    According to the map data this decision looks reasonable to me. Ardmillan Terrace is tagged as "Primary" street in OpenStreetMap while the alternative route consists of "Tertiary" and "Residential" streets. Our router tries hard to avoid Primary streets in all but the "Fast" routing profile.
    I can't however tell for sure if it's a good decision in this concrete case (you seem not to think so). It may be that in Edinbourgh (or probably the UK in general) primaries aren't as "bad" (from cyclists perspective) as they use to be in Austria and Germany. If that's the case, we will take a closer look and fine tune the parameters for this region.
    Do you think the detour is reasonable at least with the "easy" profile (think about riding with kids for example)?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  13. SRD
    Moderator

    > Harrison Road to Murieston Road seems to refuse to go via Ardmillan Terrace
    "Do you think the detour is reasonable at least with the "easy" profile (think about riding with kids for example"

    Nope. The route is a straight line from the canal to the NEPN. The crossing in slateford rd is a light controlled straight ahead, as is the dalry rd crossing. I ride this with my kids all the time.

    The diversion has no benefits and adds a right turn at the slateford junction (where busses are often turning left at the same time. Seems completely illogical. Not something I'd want to do with kids, unless we were getting off and walking.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  14. bikecitizens
    Member

    @SRD
    Thanks for the feedback.
    Looking at Street View, I can in fact understand the reasoning.
    What I wonder now: Does that apply to all primary roads with speedlimit of 30 mph? Here is a selection.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  15. chdot
    Admin

    @bikecitizens

    Thanks for 'engaging'.

    I think some routing 'anomalies' are due to OSM tags which are subject to the opinion of the last person to edit them.

    In the early days of OSM some roads were marked as 30mph instead of 40 (or vv) which were obviously mistakes, but the difference between (for instance) primary and secondary is more subjective.

    Route planners can deal with things differently.

    One might refuse to use even the shortest bit of 'main' road others might have a different 'tolerance'.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  16. chrisfl
    Member

    >@chrisfl
    >> Although they do allow you to choose a bike type MTB, >City Bike or Road Bike.
    >
    >We do. It's just a bit hidden under the "More" button.
    >However the bike type selection doesn't so far have a >big influence on the routing - except when it's about >the surface quality (and the correct data is in the >OpenStreetMap).

    Yes I actually really like this, we have lots of cobbled streets in Edinburgh and it's useful to know that you take this into account. I've just tried a few routes and found some roads that need surface tags added :)

    >> If I look at Waterloo Place to Haymarket, Cyclestreets says 12 minutes (9 traffic lights and 4 pedestrian crossings) while bikecitizen says 7 minutes.

    >It says 7 minutes with the "fast" routing profile
    With the "balanced" one it says 10 and with the "easy" one 12 minutes. We assume different average speeds based on routing profile selection.

    My point here is that for the same route cyclestreets chooses the same route and gives a much longer time (easy and balanced give different routes). My experience is that for this route there are at least 5 minutes of traffic light delays therefore it would be great if you took this into account.

    > Also looks like hills aren't taken into account, so bottom of the mound down to the start of lower Granton Road, bikecitizens gives 12 minutes for each direction.

    > I can't confirm this. See downhill (13 min), uphill (18 min) - both with "balanced" profile (with the "fast" one it's 9 and 12 mins). Or did I misinterpret the start/destination locations?

    No idea what I did! Great to know this is taken into account.

    > Harrison Road to Murieston Road seems to refuse to go via Ardmillan Terrace.

    According to the map data this decision looks reasonable to me. Ardmillan Terrace is tagged as "Primary" street in OpenStreetMap while the alternative route consists of "Tertiary" and "Residential" streets. Our router tries hard to avoid Primary streets in all but the "Fast" routing profile.
    I can't however tell for sure if it's a good decision in this concrete case (you seem not to think so). It may be that in Edinbourgh (or probably the UK in general) primaries aren't as "bad" (from cyclists perspective) as they use to be in Austria and Germany. If that's the case, we will take a closer look and fine tune the parameters for this region.
    Do you think the detour is reasonable at least with the "easy" profile (think about riding with kids for example)?

    So your assumption that primaries are busier than "Tertiary" is definitely normally correct. But in this case all three roads around the Triangle probably have equal levels of traffic. So the extra 200m and the right turn make this a bad choice. Not sure I can think of an easy way of making this choice.

    As feedback - I really like the website and the look and feel of the Android App is nice. But I can't get it to route for me, do I need to buy or get my "free" map before this is possible. (40km of the 100 needed cycled so far...)

    Posted 7 years ago #
  17. cb
    Member

    On the look and feel front (of the website) I think this just goes to highlight how much Cyclestreets could do with a refresh!

    Posted 7 years ago #
  18. MV
    Member

    It doesn't seem to like Cockburn Street very much (screenshot). This is on the Road Bike profile, it's fine on City Bike. I assume it's due to the combination of surface=cobblestone on Cockburn St and the Road Bike profile. But does someone on a road bike really hate cobbles so much that they prefer a 4-minute downhill+uphill detour? (I don't know, I don't ride a road bike.)

    Posted 7 years ago #
  19. neddie
    Member

    The worst thing about cyclestreets is the inability to resize the map (or pop it out) to anything sensible. Even being able to change the aspect ratio to fit your journey would be nice.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  20. chdot
    Admin

    @MV

    Cockburn Street is bad - but not that bad...

    More worrying is that the OSM data (or the app's interpretation of it) suggests you can't cycle up/down the High Street!(?)

    HOWEVER

    CycleStreets suggests you walk down the Scotsman Steps, so there must be something 'odd' about OSM data for Cockburn St.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  21. chrisfl
    Member

    Cockburn Street is http://www.openstreetmap.org/way/4235347 Main thing is the surface tag.

    I would suggest that they should be applying a penalty to the cobblestones rather than avoiding entirely. So I might go a little further to avoid cobblestones. But wouldn't avoid them entirely.

    I am spotting bits of Edinburgh without the surface=cobblestones

    Posted 7 years ago #
  22. chdot
    Admin

    Problem then isn't the tag but the degree of weighting.

    Of course there need to be (at least) two tags -

    Nicely laid setts.

    Setts/cobbles messed up by too much heavy traffic/incompetent utility companies...

    Posted 7 years ago #
  23. chrisfl
    Member

    Indeed, there is a world of difference between good and bad setts. This also moves the tagging towards subjective tagging which OSM tries to avoid.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  24. chdot
    Admin

    "world of difference between good and bad setts

    ...

    subjective tagging which OSM tries to avoid"

    I think most people could objectively differentiate between High Street and Drummond Place...

    There are a lot of options for "surface" some of which (subjectively) seem to overlap.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  25. chrisfl
    Member

    I did try and say tries to avoid subjective. It's the middleground that's hard at what point do good setts become bad setts.

    The OSM wiki page (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:surface) lists surface options of sett, cobblestone and cobblestone:flattened - It would be good to know what the routers support.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  26. chdot
    Admin

    "options of sett, cobblestone and cobblestone:flattened"

    AH!

    Thanks - hadn't bothered to check!

    "It would be good to know what the routers support"

    Yes, though perhaps the problem is OSMers tagging 'optimally' AND the degree of weighting by the router app(s).

    Posted 7 years ago #
  27. bikecitizens
    Member

    Thanks @all for following up and sorry for my late answer.

    @chdot
    > In the early days of OSM some roads were marked as 30mph instead of 40

    Where did you see that? Is it also the case in Edinburgh?

    > One might refuse to use even the shortest bit of 'main' road others might have a different 'tolerance'.

    In our case, it doesn't outright refuse, but primaries currently get a high penalty via a "cost coefficient".

    @chrisfl
    Regarding estimated travel time: I agree that we have to take a closer look at this. I'll add the given example to our list. That's btw. something where the collected user tracks should be helpful. Analysing that data also helps to understand where cyclists actually have to really wait (as there may also be green waves in place).

    > ... the Android App is nice. But I can't get it to route for me

    If you already downloaded the "city pack" (in your case with the "cycle to free" option as I understand), routing should definitely work (btw. routing will even keep working if you fail the challenge. Only navigation will stop working). If that's not the case, please write to info@bikecitizens.net (please mention any error messages or other bad behaviour you experience).

    @MV
    > It doesn't seem to like Cockburn Street very much ...

    We do evaluate the tags "surface" and "smoothness". As the question came up: yes, we do support the value "cobblestone:flattened" (with that set, it would route that street even for road bike). However, that value isn't yet very popular, see taginfo.
    Considering that the "cobblestone" value leaves too much room for interpretation, I agree that we should at least improve the that by using a penalty instead of completely banning.
    High street is not routed for the same reason (cobblestone).

    Btw. one option to already avoid such absurd detours is to enable the "hybrid" mode which allows pedestrian segments. It's not yet added to the graphical interface, but already works (link for this example).

    Posted 7 years ago #
  28. chdot
    Admin

    "Where did you see that? Is it also the case in Edinburgh?"

    I remember it from the fairly early days of OSM - usually where people people hadn't realised that some main roads had different speed limits in different sections (there are going to be many roads becoming 20mph over next few years).

    "as there may also be green waves in place"

    Not really a UK thing! - not for cycling speeds.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  29. chdot
    Admin

    "

    World's biggest bike fair honoured products, which set new standards because of their function, design and degree of innovation

    "

    http://www.bikecitizens.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PM_-Eurobike-Award-2015-Bike-Citizens_EN1.pdf

    Posted 7 years ago #

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