[vimeo 16362921 w=400 h=250]
A new tool developed by Stefan Wehrmeyer beautifully displays mobility and access for a given point in a city. Mapnificent so far contains data for 20 cities, most of which are in the US but others include Berlin, London, and Auckland. The site allows you to set a point in your chosen city and a map will display the entire area over which you could travel by public transit in a given amount of time. It also allows you to see an area that is both 15 minutes away from yourself and 15 minutes away from a friend by transit, and since it is integrated with Google Maps, allows you to search destinations within that specified area.
Mobility and access are two important facets of a transportation system. Mobility essentially measures the speed with which one can travel from one point to another; access measures how many destinations are located nearby or within a given travel time. New York City has low mobility (for automobiles) but high accessibility; rural areas have high mobility but low accessibility. What I like most about Mapnificent is its demonstration of both concepts together. Transportation planning has relied heavily on improving mobility, without (in my opinion) enough focus on accessibility. Perhaps Mapnificent is useful beyond just as a beautiful data display but as a comparison and evaluation tool for transit providers.