The Civic Works team at OpenPlans just launched another sweet micro-site: — for NYC’s forthcoming bike share program.

The site is notable for a few reasons:

First, it’s beautiful and fun to use.  The OpenPlans team has been putting out a ton of these small, beautifully designed and really fun sites recently (see,, including the NYC Bike Share location suggestions map that got thousands of suggestions when it launched last year.  A lot of the functionality you see here has been built into the open source Shareabouts app.

Second, it’s built on top of the OpenTripPlanner — OTP is an open source, multi-modal trip routing engine that OpenPlans has been working on for a number of years now; originally built for the new TriMet system map, it’s also been used in several other countries. represents one of the more creative ways to use OTP — as an API which the site talks to via JS. OTP lets you do awesome stuff like use the “bike triangle” to prioritize between safety, speed and flatness. (note that this feature was originally developed by David Emory for the Atlanta A-TRAIN mobility map)

Here is Frank Hebbert’s write up on on the OpenPlans blog.

I am really impressed by and proud of the work that OpenPlans has been doing lately.  They are on fire pumping out small, but beautiful, compelling and powerful apps.

3 comments on “”

Ah, a bike routing application that allows the user to adjust the algorithm. While this may not be the most user friendly (just giving options could make it difficult for people who don’t understand what influence the triangle has on their results), it could help people who know a little bit more about their city and believe that the Google Maps bicycling directions suck. 

But I have a question: How do you determine “safest?”

Good question — not sure how safest is currently calculated though i can imagine a bunch of data sets (accident history, traffic speed, road widths, etc) that could inform it.  I would ask @fkh:twitter  how it’s done presently.

“Safest” is determined here by the presence of bike lanes. We’re using OpenStreetMap to calculate a network that is suitable for trip planning (technically called a graph). The streets with cycle lanes get a lower score per mile than streets without. When you choose your start and end points, the trip planner picks a route with the lowest total score.

The triangle changes the relative importance of different factors, so if you move the triangle marker over to the safety corner, you’re strongly favoring a trip made up of safer streets – for right now, those are streets with bike lanes. 

OpenStreetMap isn’t totally accurate about the streets that can be biked – but because it’s a wiki map, anyone can go in and fix it. For example, the Manhattan  Bridge was not listed as prohibited for bikes, so I went to OpenStreetMap and reclassified those road segments earlier today.

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