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Get lost

I have to admit that I am fascinated by maps – well, some maps.  So from Metafilter via Shaky, some interesting London public transport maps.  Firstly, a geographically accurate London Underground map (rather than the classic Harry Beck diagram with straight lines), and secondly, (Mayor of London) Ken Livingstone’s ambitious plans for a much bigger network of underground, overground, light rail and trams by 2016, though unfortunately most of the new lines probably won’t get built. 

Then there’s a rather more elaborate version of the maps they have in all the tube trains showing the stations and interchanges.  This one attempts to show the position of the platforms, which is useful if you want to know where you are going. 

Or if you really don’t know where you’re going, you could try Transport Direct, a new UK government service that will advice you on the best route to take to get from A-B.  Unfortunately, it may take you via X, Y and Z: 

For instance, a person leaving south London in the evening for Sale in Manchester would arrive at 6:31am the following day, but only after spending the better part of six hours waiting for a train at the remote Navigation Road station. No mention is made of the night bus that would deliver the travellers to Sale in little over 40 minutes.

The short trip between the Lancashire resorts of Fleetwood and Blackpool should be a straightforward 45-minute bus ride. Those following the website's advice would embark on a near two-and-a-half journey consisting of two train trips, a bus ride and three bouts of walking.

Sometimes vital transport data can just disappear. A motorist from the Cornish village of Polruan wanting to visit nearby Falmouth would unquestionably choose the ferry across the River Fowey. Yet, on occasion, the system simply forgets the ferry exists, with drivers guided on a picturesque two-hour journey skirting around the estuary.

So just another highly successful UK government IT project.


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An interesting point of fact for you then: All lines built before the Victoria Line had to follow roads because of property laws. These were changed and the Victoria line was the first to cut across blocks (hence the diagonal from Euston to Oxford Circus).

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