Routing is a hard problem. Routing for drivers is pretty good at this point, mostly because we have been very good at designing for cars and creating predicable infrastructure. Routing for bikes is a whole other story, data quality is poor and the physical infrastructure is, at least in North America, not strongly predictive of cycling comfort/safety. And cycling comfort/safety is the top priority for the vast majority of (potential) cyclists.
Here come some general thoughts on bike maps. Not throught through yet, just jotting down some ideas so that I don’t forget and maybe to start a discussion. Bike enthusiasts, OSM folks and mapping technology wonks read on! Why make a new bike map? Plainly put, I don’t like a lot of the bike maps out there. Time for my little bike map rant: Lots of maps don’t accomplish their core mission: accurately map bike infrastructure.
Motivated by the excellent Washington Post Wonkblog I mapped Vancouver’s bike infrastructure. Looks good at first, but when you take out the ‘fake’ “Local Street” bikeways more in line with Wonkblog’s methodology it’s looking pretty bleak in large portions of the city. Of course the devil is in the details and infrastructure cannot just be judged by how it’s labeled. If one were to look for 8-80 infrastructure, then the separated lanes would make the cut.