“An advanced city is not a place where the poor move about in cars, rather it’s where even the rich use public transportation.”
Our cities are living, breathing jungles built with concrete and designed around our hopes and aspirations. They evolve along with us. For spaces that are so integral to our way of living, however, we don’t have an awful lot of information handy on the best way to navigate them. Sure, an auto-rickshaw or cab will take you anywhere you want to go, but there are those among us who would choose to get lost in the city, only to know they can safely find their way home again.
Cartographer Sudipto Ghosh and designer Shimonti Sinha may just have the answer. They have created a fascinating new map of Delhi’s road public transport system.
The colourful, useful map is aimed at helping people choose between a number of possible routes between two points — as opposed to Google Maps and online applications which show the quickest way to get home. This offline map also seems like something that would be a hit with tourists. The routes listed are the 100 most frequent ones; any route where buses were more than 15 minutes apart was simply left out. It also includes Metro stations and HOHO (sightseeing) bus routes.
These routes together create a map of Delhi that is more steep angles and gentle curves than messy, actual roads. The team calls it a “cognitive bus map”; the simplification doesn’t miss out on any essential details and is much easier to use.
During the making of the map, the team stumbled upon the ingenuity of the people who designed the bus system.
“If you consider Delhi as a clock then a route such as 501 which goes from Saket to Mori Gate follows the hands of a clock, i.e, the bus goes from 5 to 1. The consistency of this numbering system has been lost over time, but at least the first number of the 3 digit bus route originates where it is supposed to.”
Ghosh and Sinha have already approached the Delhi Transport Corporation to try and get the map up on bus shelters, but their request has been met with stonewalling from public officials. They hope to print these maps in bulk and sell them at Rs. 15-20. They haven’t given up on all hope of government assistance for their project.
Most large cities in the world have had maps such as this for decades. For India’s national capital, this isn’t just a matter of catching up and providing a hugely useful offline service, it could also be of great help at a time when the odd-even rule is being implemented and citizens are having to depend on public transport more than ever.
You can learn more about the project on its Facebook page.
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