This is the first in a series of posts covering new or existing functionalities of Journey Planner, with the intention being that users (including developers subscribing to the API) can get the best from the system. In this post I’ll be looking at Points of Interest (POIs) and how we aim to make this information as comprehensive as possible, as well as asking for your suggestions for any new POIs you feel should be added to the system.
We believe that the Journey Planner should not just be accurate, but tailored to the needs of people who use it. To support this we actively manage a detailed database of Points of Interest within Journey Planner, covering places people are likely to travel by public transport, or cycle to. This is a combination of a bulk upload, and points we have added ourselves.
Currently, we are undertaking a major project to enhance the quality and range of Points of Interest within the system. This involves not only researching new attractions advertised in complementary publications such as Time Out, but also ensuring that the points are up to date. Currently, we are updating information about shows and theatres in London, so you can enter the name of a popular show and be routed straight to it, without worrying about the theatre name.
However, equally important has been the recent audit of all hospitals and health centres on the system, removing expired facilities and adding new ones, reflecting the range of journey purposes users of the system have. We are constantly looking to increase the geographical spread and types of points added, with an ongoing review of schools information in place. Markets is the next category to be looked at.
With a city the size of London, we believe the knowledge that people have of their local area is essential in developing the service further. Please let us know if you would like new facilities in your area added to the system by emailing [email protected]. We need a full address and postcode (if possible) as well as the full official name of the location. Please note that we would not generally add small local shops, such as takeaways, which people would tend to walk to.
Do you review searches that people attempt, but which don’t produce a result?
Good question, We don’t at present – but do have statistics of the most popular start and end points and through journeys. However, failed searches is one for our User Experience specialists to consider.
This all seems to be about the horrible “new-look” journey planner with those dreadful google maps. Please TFL, keep the old, easy to use version, complete with the nice Adobe maps, as the alternative at http://www.journeyplanner.org
If you want to improve the service, better to make the system use sensible routings instead of playing around with the appearance and actually making it it more difficult to use!
Openstreetmap has good coverage of London and could probably be offered as a user-selected alternative.
I’d certainly prefer not to have to use google maps, or any other google-sourced content unless it is safely and securely re-hosted on tfl servers. If its google, then its spyware and government-funded organisations like TFL ought to avoid having google content on their sites.
Hi Harry, most people seem to be comfortable using Google Maps on their devices and it’s very usable in our site. It’s not right to say that it’s spyware. It would be a considerable amount of work (and expense) to offer alternative mapping solutions. We look at the mapping platforms from time to time and we’ll do so again in due course to see if we still have the best available for the site.
Just wondering to what extent the ‘places’ within Journey Planner are coordinated with those (‘villages’,’neighbourhoods’,’landmarks’) used in the Legible London wayfinding scheme.
There isn’t a set co-ordination process as such, however, every new Point of Interest needs to be associated with the correct local area and borough, so there should be a decent level of consistency.
What I would most like to be able to do is plan a journey by clicking on a map but, if that’s possible, it’s not intuitive. I’m sure this used to be an option. Seems I have to use Google for this, but their presentation (and insistence on US-style 12-hour clock) is not really to my liking
Which journey planner engine you guys use?
The back office is supplied by MDV, who are based in Munich, and have been responsible for the Journey Planner since its introduction in 2002. With the introduction of the new website, the interface supplied by MDV was no longer used, and the website accesses the Journey Planner engine via the same API made available to developers through Open Data, meaning the website and independent apps should be consistent, if the latter are configured correctly