navigation

No GPS Needed

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGXK4jKN_jY&w=440&h=278] “Google Maps Navigation is in beta.  Use Caution. Do not manipulate this application while driving. Traffic data is not real-time, and directions may be wrong, dangerous, prohibited, or involve ferries. Keep your eyes on the road!”

This is the opening screen when you activate Google Maps Navigation on an Android phone.  Thankfully, I was sitting on my couch when I first started it up, so I felt safe exploring its various features.  After reading a Techcrunch article about the product’s recent update, I decided I should give it a try. Normally, I don’t drive (I don’t own a car), but I could see this coming in handy in some cases on my bike.  It would certainly come in handy those few times when I do drive, because those are times when I’m traveling and therefore, almost always unfamiliar with the roads.  Google Maps Navigate (beta) transforms your Android phone into a GPS unit – a superior GPS unit some would argue.

Because it is connected through the network, there’s no need to re-download or update maps like you have to do on traditional GPS units.  When the road network, points of interest, or other map features change, Google automatically updates these data on the backend, leaving your device synched with up-to-date (albeit not real-time) data.

The Google representative in the video above points out 7 features of his product that make it unique.

  • Search for directions in “plain English” by typing an address, place name, or type of place (e.g. restaurant) into the search box
  • Search for directions by speaking into the phone, e.g. “navigate to 1965 Page Street in San Francisco”
  • Search for destinations along the chosen route
  • Satellite view
  • Street view
  • Car dock mode – activated when using a dock within the car
  • Up-to-date traffic information allows you to choose an alternate route

That last point is what Techcrunch was writing about.  No longer do you have to choose the fastest route; the new version chooses the fastest route for you, based both on crowd-sourced current traffic speed data as well as historic data.

All this got me thinking about the concept of triple convergence.  Triple convergence is a phenomenon observed in dynamic traffic systems.  The idea is that all drivers seek the most direct (i.e. fastest) route. At peak travel times, this means that everyone seeks out the same route, leaving it congested and ironically not the best route.  In response to this problem of congestion, one policy is to expand the most direct route so that there is ample capacity.  Triple convergence happens when users on other modes, other routes, or who used to travel at different times now view the expanded road as the direct route.  With these three groups converging on it, it becomes congested once again.

Some have posited that intelligent transport systems (or at least improving drivers’ access to information about the current best or fastest route) could help mitigate the problem, dampening the triple convergence effect.  Google Maps Navigation could be an incredibly good implementation of this strategy, especially considering that it bypasses any involvement of municipal or regional government and goes directly to drivers’ pockets.

-Terra Curtis

 

No GPS Needed

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGXK4jKN_jY&w=440&h=278] “Google Maps Navigation is in beta.  Use Caution. Do not manipulate this application while driving. Traffic data is not real-time, and directions may be wrong, dangerous, prohibited, or involve ferries. Keep your eyes on the road!”

This is the opening screen when you activate Google Maps Navigation on an Android phone.  Thankfully, I was sitting on my couch when I first started it up, so I felt safe exploring its various features.  After reading a Techcrunch article about the product’s recent update, I decided I should give it a try. Normally, I don’t drive (I don’t own a car), but I could see this coming in handy in some cases on my bike.  It would certainly come in handy those few times when I do drive, because those are times when I’m traveling and therefore, almost always unfamiliar with the roads.  Google Maps Navigate (beta) transforms your Android phone into a GPS unit – a superior GPS unit some would argue.

Because it is connected through the network, there’s no need to re-download or update maps like you have to do on traditional GPS units.  When the road network, points of interest, or other map features change, Google automatically updates these data on the backend, leaving your device synched with up-to-date (albeit not real-time) data.

The Google representative in the video above points out 7 features of his product that make it unique.

  • Search for directions in “plain English” by typing an address, place name, or type of place (e.g. restaurant) into the search box
  • Search for directions by speaking into the phone, e.g. “navigate to 1965 Page Street in San Francisco”
  • Search for destinations along the chosen route
  • Satellite view
  • Street view
  • Car dock mode – activated when using a dock within the car
  • Up-to-date traffic information allows you to choose an alternate route

That last point is what Techcrunch was writing about.  No longer do you have to choose the fastest route; the new version chooses the fastest route for you, based both on crowd-sourced current traffic speed data as well as historic data.

All this got me thinking about the concept of triple convergence.  Triple convergence is a phenomenon observed in dynamic traffic systems.  The idea is that all drivers seek the most direct (i.e. fastest) route. At peak travel times, this means that everyone seeks out the same route, leaving it congested and ironically not the best route.  In response to this problem of congestion, one policy is to expand the most direct route so that there is ample capacity.  Triple convergence happens when users on other modes, other routes, or who used to travel at different times now view the expanded road as the direct route.  With these three groups converging on it, it becomes congested once again.

Some have posited that intelligent transport systems (or at least improving drivers’ access to information about the current best or fastest route) could help mitigate the problem, dampening the triple convergence effect.  Google Maps Navigation could be an incredibly good implementation of this strategy, especially considering that it bypasses any involvement of municipal or regional government and goes directly to drivers’ pockets.

-Terra Curtis

 

Copenhagen Picks Billy-Bike Navigation Solution to Pilot the Future

37 companies from around the world have presented solutions for piloting the future of biking in Copenhagen. The winner was announced today at the Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities by Copenhagen's Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen: a travel plan that displays the most bike-friendly route through town.When more than 36 percent of citizens use their bikes every day to get to work, school or university, Copenhagen also needs a travel plan for cyclists, says the Mayor for Healthcare of Copenhagen, Ninna Thomsen.

Billy Bike was announced today to 20 cities and 50 companies by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen at the Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, as the chosen solution after a 4-month competition. 37 solutions that can improve health, reduce CO2 emissions, and make it easier for citizens to move around the city were submitted from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America in response to a call for pilot launched by the City of Copenhagen and Living Labs Global in July.

Astando, the company that first implemented Billy Bike in Stockholm, will now engage in detailed planning meetings to bring the solution to the citizens of Copenhagen for a pilot in 2011. Billy Bike was chosen by a group of evaluators including the City of Copenhagen and the Bicycle Association of Copenhagen. All the world's cities need innovative solutions that make everyday life easier for citizens and call for green choices while allowing for improvements in efficiency of municipal services. There are plenty of companies that develop these solutions, but it is a challenge to get them into service in the city. So we try to push this by bringing together cities and companies together, says Ninna Thomsen.

A product such as Billy Bike has a great potential. For example, we imagine that the home care services in Copenhagen can use it as a tool to get faster and safer around town, just as technology can also be used to help our visually impaired citizens find their way, as they already do in Stockholm today, says Ninna Thomsen.

The Future Bike Call for Pilots has shown that already today many solutions can be found to revolutionise our cities when a city like Copenhagen presents its needs. These are solutions that exist today, helping to reduce the barrier to implementation for cities and opening international opportunities for companies like Astando, that continually invent new urban solutions like Billy Bike affecting the lives of millions of citizens. In the coming months, the pilot will bring this solution to life for the citizens of Copenhagen to build their own opinion and contribute to the future of the city's services.

Shortlist Copenhagen Future Bike Pilot

On behalf of the City of Copenhagen, we would hereby like to inform you about the 6 Showcases that have been shortlisted in the Future Biking pilot call. To learn more about each Showcase, just follow the respective link.

Billy Bike in Copenhagen Stockholm Sweden
City Supported Community Bicycle Shop Austin USA
eMobility Management Tool Eindhoven The Netherlands
HOME TOWN Athens Greece
Little Bicycle-Sheds - Fahrradhaeuschen Hamburg Germany
Wikiloc Urban Routes Girona Spain

Evaluators at the City of Copenhagen has been impressed with the high level of quality and innovation of the 37 submitted pilots from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America and will seek to stay in contact with many of the other inspiring Showcases to see how these might fit into the future strategy of the city and relevant activities. The ideal forum to follow up will naturally be the “Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities” on November 25th where the relevant decision-makers, led by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen and Andreas Roehl, director of the bicycle programme will be available to pick up the discussion.

Full details will be published shortly!

Shortlist Copenhagen Future Bike Pilot

On behalf of the City of Copenhagen, we would hereby like to inform you about the 6 Showcases that have been shortlisted in the Future Biking pilot call. To learn more about each Showcase, just follow the respective link.

Billy Bike in Copenhagen Stockholm Sweden
City Supported Community Bicycle Shop Austin USA
eMobility Management Tool Eindhoven The Netherlands
HOME TOWN Athens Greece
Little Bicycle-Sheds - Fahrradhaeuschen Hamburg Germany
Wikiloc Urban Routes Girona Spain

Evaluators at the City of Copenhagen has been impressed with the high level of quality and innovation of the 37 submitted pilots from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America and will seek to stay in contact with many of the other inspiring Showcases to see how these might fit into the future strategy of the city and relevant activities. The ideal forum to follow up will naturally be the “Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities” on November 25th where the relevant decision-makers, led by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen and Andreas Roehl, director of the bicycle programme will be available to pick up the discussion.

Full details will be published shortly!