Today cycle.travel’s route-planner gets the biggest single improvement since it launched – a new feature we call Smart Turns.
cycle.travel now casts a forensic eye over every turn and junction on your route. Turns across busy roads get downrated; so does weaving from street to street in cities; so does any turn where you have to dismount. Routes with fewer turns are preferred, and safe crossings (e.g. ‘toucan’ crossings) get a bonus too.
The result is safer and simpler routes in both town and country. But, more than that, the turn-by-turn directions for each route are also clearer and more reliable.
New instructions like ‘Cross major road’ and ‘Leave town’ help you navigate each step at a time. Two-stage turns, where the road flares past a central island, are shown as one clear instruction. So too are doglegs, where a left is followed immediately by a right. Plus there are new symbols to highlight unusual sections of route: unpaved trails, busy roads, ferries, and sections where you need to push.
We’ve also made it easier to follow long-distance cycle routes, such as EuroVelo or the National Cycle Network, without repeatedly dodging off-route and back on again.
But there’s more!
As well as this major new feature, we’ve made dozens of smaller improvements to cycle.travel’s route-finding. It’s now smarter about routing on unpaved tracks, particularly in mainland Europe. Roads with (legally) cyclable hard shoulders get a better rating. Cycle contraflows and other one-way systems are handled better.
We’ve made a concerted effort to improve OpenStreetMap’s minor road data in the rural US, so you can find a safe, enjoyable route without having to ride down an Interstate or other busy road.
Finally, we’ve added Croatia and Mexico to the route-planner. Mexico doesn’t yet have height data but we’re working on it!
These improvements are partly laying the groundwork for two exciting new additions to cycle.travel this summer – watch this space.
As always, the foundation of cycle.travel’s route-planning is the wonderful OSRM project, and the data contributed to OpenStreetMap: big thanks to all the OSRM developers and OSM contributors for their hard work.