diamond geezer

 Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Something long-anticipated has appeared on the TfL website. An official map of walking times between stations.

In reality it's nothing more than the normal tube map cut down to cover zones 1 and 2, with the "approximate time in minutes based on a moderate walking speed" written in the appropriate gap between stations. But it is the official walking tube map all the same. Admit it, you're already itching to click through and see the whole thing.

There have been numerous unofficial attempts at doing this before. A group of St Martin's postgrads came up with the Shortwalk map in 2007, while a health insurance company devised a 'number of steps' map in 2009. But these have usually been wilfully inaccurate, it being quite difficult to determine all of the necessary intervals with accuracy. One reason you can be sure this latest version is official is that they haven't accidentally missed a number out, every adjacent pair of stations has its own data. But be aware that this is not the holy grail map of 'journeys where it would be quicker to walk'. Only adjacent stations on the same line are included, so (for example) Queensway to Bayswater does not appear.

TfL have yet to promote their new map in any way. It's hidden on a page of the TfL website you're unlikely to use regularly - the Walking homepage - where those stumbling across it are invited to "view a map of station-to-station walking times in central London". Google suggests that the map went live last Monday, 2nd November, and that Twitter user @brucemcvean spotted it the following day. A new form of tube map is like catnip to Time Out, and they were the first to circulate the map's existence more widely with a blog post yesterday celebrating the discovery. But their assertion that "the folks at TfL have released a shiny new version of the official walking tube map" misses the important point that there's never been an official walking tube map before.

A little further digging reveals that this wasn't originally TfL's map, it was put together by creative duo Ary Arasen and Joe Watson as part of a suite of ideas to help Londoners get around during a tube strike. They proposed placing signs outside stations showing the walking time to the next, but it was their tube map that went viral, appearing in several national newspapers and spreading to more than 100 countries around the world. This was in July last year, you must remember, and only now have TfL caught up. And the reason I'm utterly convinced that their official map is based on Ary and Joe's amateur production is that it contains exactly the same gross inaccuracy between Aldgate East and Whitechapel.

Other than the odd gremlin, the walking map is of course inordinately fascinating. You'll turn first to your regular journeys to confirm the data, then open out to scan the network more widely. Locations that seem close are revealed not to be, and the total irregularity of the diagram becomes clear. Times in the outer reaches are much higher than those in the centre, despite network proximity suggesting otherwise. The map strips away Harry Beck's basic premise that distance doesn't matter and reveals the reality beneath. Rather than focusing on stations we are instead encouraged to concentrate on the gaps inbetween, each line reduced to little more than a string of digits.

What's possibly even more interesting is whether the map is actually correct. Almost every number Ary and Joe provided has either been copied across to the official map or tweaked by no more than one minute higher or lower, suggesting a high degree of faith in the original data. But there are also a handful of locations where TfL technicians have seen fit to adjust the original number by a greater amount because of an initial error. Temple to Blackfriars was never 4 minutes - the new map has it at 10 - and Camden Town to Euston can be done in 19 minutes, not a pessimistic 27. Meanwhile no way did Finchley Road to Baker Street take 1 hour 4 minutes, hence the updated figure of 44, and Aldgate East to Whitechapel should clearly be 12 minutes rather than that ridiculous 2.

Ignoring that latter anomaly, here's an 'official' list of The closest tube stations in Zones 1 and 2.

3 minutes: Charing Cross → Embankment (such a short walk, never tube it)
4 minutes: Leicester Square → Covent Garden (the shortest underground, but not quite on the surface); Mansion House → Cannon Street
5 minutes: Cannon Street → Monument (Cannon Street's unnecessarily close to both its neighbouring stations)
6 minutes: Leicester Square → Piccadilly Circus; Marylebone → Baker Street; Moorgate → Liverpool Street; Shepherds Bush Market → Goldhawk Road; Embankment → Waterloo (not sure I believe that); Monument → London Bridge (not sure I believe that either)
7 minutes: Barons Court → West Kensington; Hyde Park Corner → Knightsbridge; Edgware Road → Marylebone; Finchley Road → Swiss Cottage; Marble Arch → Bond Street; Bond Street → Oxford Circus; Leicester Square → Charing Cross; Tottenham Court Road → Goodge Street; Goodge Street → Warren Street; Stockwell → Clapham North; Mile End → Bow Road

On the same theme, the tube line with the most stations less than 10 minutes walk apart is the Northern line, with 14. From Euston down to Waterloo not a single stop exceeds a ten minute walk, and the same is true from Old Street down to Borough. The DLR also has 14 stations on the map that are less than 10 minutes walk apart, indeed the line from Bow Church down to Lewisham is riddled with them. They're the two most densely packed lines, whereas the Waterloo and City and Victoria lines are the most spaced out (because they were deliberately planned as express routes).

Possibly of more interest, here are The Top 10 longest walking times between tube stations in Zones 1 and 2.

1) 76 minutes - Canary Wharf → North Greenwich (the loser by miles, because there's a whopping great river in the way and no direct means to cross on foot)
2) 44 minutes - Finchley Road → Baker Street (because the Metropolitan line misses out the two intermediate stations)
3) 39 minutes - Canada Water → Canary Wharf (it's that river again, although I'd have thought the time should be a lot more)
4) 33 minutes - Bank → Waterloo (the Waterloo & City line is a true timesaver)
4) 33 minutes - Liverpool Street → Bethnal Green
6) 31 minutes - King's Cross St Pancras → Highbury & Islington
7) 30 minutes - Turnham Green → Hammersmith (assuming the Piccadilly line is stopping at Turnham Green)
8) 29 minutes - Highbury & Islington → Finsbury Park (H&I's second appearance in this list)
9) 28 minutes - London Bridge → Bermondsey
10) 27 minutes - King's Cross St Pancras → Caledonian Road

These long treks are very much the exceptions. The vast majority of adjacent stations in Zones 1 and 2 are between 10 and 20 minutes walk apart, equivalent to half a mile to 1 mile. Eminently walkable at ground level, should you so choose, which is of course the entire point of the map. But the story would be very different had stations in zones 3 to 6 been included, with distances increasing inexorably, and the far-flung reaches of the Metropolitan line would require a considerable hike.

Enough of the tube, what of The Top 10 longest walking times between Overground and DLR stations in Zones 1 and 2?

1) 53 minutes - Euston → South Hampstead (they should never have demolished Primrose Hill station inbetween)
2) 45 minutes - Clapham High Street → Denmark Hill (they should never have demolished East Brixton station inbetween)
3) 44 minutes - Wapping → Rotherhithe (seemingly, cough, an ill-advised walk through the Rotherhithe Tunnel)
4) 38 minutes - Surrey Quays → Queens Road Peckham (which is why they're building Surrey Canal Road station inbetween)
5) 36 minutes - Imperial Wharf → Clapham Junction (which is why a privately-funded footbridge is planned inbetween)
6) 31 minutes - Surrey Quays → New Cross
6) 31 minutes - Surrey Quays → New Cross Gate
8) 30 minutes - Clapham Junction → Wandsworth Road
9) 29 minutes - Bank → Shadwell (the only seriously lengthy journey on the DLR)
10) 28 minutes - Gospel Oak → Upper Holloway

I'll be intrigued to see whether or not the map is extended in January when Stratford is pulled into zone 2 - there'd certainly be some interesting walking times out there. I also look forward to seeing that rogue digit at Aldgate East replaced by something more realistic. And perhaps someone can tell me why step-free blobs have been included, and get in the way, when the whole point of the walking map is that it's for able bodied travellers capable of moderate pace. But it's great to see a walking tube map finally given legitimacy through its appearance on the TfL website. It's slightly baffling they haven't publicised it yet, but why delay, why not get out one stop early and do yourself some good?

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this month?
28 Jan – 23 Apr (10am-4.30pm)
Sussex Modernism
The sixth annual exhibition at Two Temple Place focuses on radical art/writing in Sussex, and is damned excellent.

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Feb17  Jan17
Dec16 Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards