Me at Bank after finishing my final walk. This also happened to be where my first walk ended 3 years ago.
On Sunday, August 9th, 2015, I became the first person to walk the entire new 2015 Tube Map. This includes not only the London Underground (completed two years ago) but also the Overground, DLR, TFL Rail and yes the Cable Car (I walked via Woolwich rather than attempt to swim the Thames).
In total, I walked 632.45 miles (1,017.82 km) over the course of 39 walks that collectively took 229 hours and 47 mins of my life. I also managed to raise £1,803.43 for Bowel Cancer UK.
Below are a few stats from my various walks, followed by a few random thoughts on the whole journey and finally a complete summary of my walks if you'd like to follow in my footsteps:
A few weeks ago, Tube Challenge World Record Holder, Geoff Marshall, came up with the brilliant idea of renaming all of London's 270 tube stations with other plausible names. He made the request via the Londonist, and I suspect got a few more responses than he was expecting.
He's now sifted through the more than 300 comments and distilled them into the map above. Having walked to all of them, I think he's done a pretty good job selecting the new names, although I do have a few disagreements. I made the following suggestions and am happy to see that several (in bold bellow) made the cut.
If you haven't already watched the video above, do it now! It solves the age old question: "Can someone actually run faster than a tube train?" Want to find if they can?
Then watch as James Heptonstall races a circle line train between Mansion House and Cannon Street while his friend Noel Carroll stays on-board and films the dramatic conclusion.
Update: For an even more impressive feat watch as the same duo complete the even more ambitious run from Moorgate to St. James's Park to beat the train. Not to take anything away from achievement, but it should be noted they don't follow the circle route directly, but instead take the most direct route. Still pretty incredible it can be done.
So when Daniel Botcherby, a former co-worker of mine, got in touch and said he'd created something different using the Tube map, I have to admit I was somewhat skeptical. However, Tubenav is actually really cool.
Basically, it claims to be the first fully interactive Tube Map, which you can use to find local businesses close to any of London's Underground stations. And yes, they've licensed the map from TFL.
I found using the web app relatively straightforward and it worked well for me on both my laptop and my mobile. All the stations I checked seemed to have listing; surprisingly even far flung ones such as Chesham (not even in London):
However, the web apps' real strength lies with listings in central London:
Since I'm a fan of both the Tube and entrepreneurship, I thought I'd let Daniel (Tubenav's COO) explain it in his own words. I sent him nine questions by e-mail and here are his responses:
1) Where did the idea for the app come from?
Well, it all started from the idea that there's a huge innovation gap we're seeing in the transport system. We've got hybrid buses, oyster cards, contactless payments, journey mapping api's with live transport information but we're still using the same static Tube Map! It's a fantastic design that we all know and love but we really wanted to do more with it!
2) Who should use the app?
I think if you're new to London or a tourist looking to get around the city – This app is for you. For tourists we can help you navigate to your hotel and get you used to that area with what's around you worth checking out.
When you start moving around the city, our web app lets you simply search for places you want to go to and how to get there and we even help you discover new and exciting things to do to get you used to the city.
3) Why use this app over other alternatives (e.g. Google Maps, Yelp, Foursquare, etc.)?
We are combining the best elements of Google Maps and Foursquare with the best discovery elements of Yelp, Timeout and Yplan! We have a superior directory of places than Google Places – with more relevant content and a far more user friendly experience. We've combined searching and navigating to a place within two clicks – so you don't have to bounce between all these apps that only serve one piece of the puzzle of how to get to somewhere!
4) Where are you getting you 'recommended places' data from?
We spent a year researching the best places in the capital and in addition to that we have 3 years of data from a previous venture. So this formed the basis of our recommended places – and with London changing as rapidly as we add the data, we've got a team of tastemakers with their ear to the ground so that we can be the real-time provider of what's going on in the city.
5) How is the app going to make money?
Right now our focus is to provide the best experience possible to our Tubenav community. We want to provide you, if you're new to London or even if you think you know-it-all, something of value and show you how exciting London is.
Just the other day I was invited to a break-dance event which was absolutely incredible but there was not nearly enough people as I would have imagined for the quality of the dancers, it's these kind of fresh events that go under the radar that we will be bringing to the forefront to highlight London's diverse cultural heritage.
6) When can we expect iPhone and Android versions of the app?
This is happening soon – we're currently raising funding through Seedrs to help us get to this stage and beyond. In the meantime our web app is fully optimised for your mobile phone and tablets.
7) Was it difficult/expensive to license the map from TFL?
Yes! TFL have a great team in charge of who they let and don't let use their map and we went through several stages of approval before we were even authorised to fully build our working prototype. We're a brand new case for them since we've built London's first fully interactive Tube Map, and we're proud to have that relationship.
8) What new features do you plan on adding in the future?
In line with our idea of making London Real-Time... we'll be launching something called 'Hot Spots' and these will be beacons flashing on the Tube Map that will alert you to the 'hottest' things happening in London and even some free giveaways! So definitely keep an eye out for that!
You'll want to click on the map above to see a full resolution version
The map above was created by Brian Butterworth at Uk Free TV and is an attempt to include all current and future planned upgrades to TFL's services on one map.
On first glace it looks a bit of a mess. However, looking a little closer you'll find a few interesting things such as:
High usage stations have a slightly larger font size and are highlighted in yellow.
Stations outside of Greater London are shown with a lighter text colour.
The Map includes Crossrail 1 & 2, High Speed 1 & 2, Thameslink, the R25 and even the Northern City Line but not the current Tram services in South London or the Emirates Air Line.
Distances between out-of-station interchanges are shown
A slew of new stations have been added including: Battersea, Nine Elms, Cassiobridge, Watford Vicarage Road, Junction Road, Old Kent Road, Camberwell and I'm sure lots more.
Euston-King's Cross-St. Pancras looks like it will be one crazy interchange station.
The River Lea is included along with the Thames (not sure why)
The Beckton curve is shown on the map
I doubt a map like this would ever be used by TFL as it's simply too complicated. However, I think Brian has done an incredible job highlighting the issues that TFL will (hopefully) soon have to address. Mainly how much more can you add to the current map before it becomes unreadable.
The genius of Beck's 1933 Tube Map was that it made everything simple. While the map above uses Beck's techniques of straight, vertical and 45 degree diagonal lines, there are simply too many of them and geographical accuracy is further sacrificed. When all these services do open, it will take another genius like Beck to help use navigate our way around them. Until then, this is a great attempt in my opinion.
While the Jubilee line may be the youngest, even it has its fair share of secrets. Geoff Marshall shares just a few of the line's secrets such as the Tube's most pointless waiting room, where to find a Beatles themed coffee shop, the secret platforms at Charing Cross, the hidden entrance to the Houses of Parliament, and the cinema inside a tube station.
And if you enjoyed that one there's even more videos:
After spending 4 days in sunny Madrid last week, I think got a good feel for the city (friendly people, great food and cheap beer) along with its metro system (Metro de Madrid). While it's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the Tube, I think there are (at least) 5 ways Madrid's Metro clearly beats the London Underground.
1. It's Cheaper
While both have zone systems, pretty much anyway you cut it, Madrid is much cheaper than London. In Madrid, the basic cash fare for the Metro is €1.50 (£1.21), whereas in London, it's £2.20 (€2.70) for a non-peak zone 1-2 journey paid with Oyster or a whopping £4.70 (€5.80) if the fare is paid in cash.
2. It Has More Lines
London boasts an impressive 11 underground lines (well 10 if we exclude the two-stop Waterloo & City line). However, Madrid has it's own two-stop line, along with 12 others. This means that it beats London by 2 whole lines.
3. It Has More Stations
London Underground has 270 stations, which is pretty good until you learn that Madrid has 300. Moreover, until the recent financial crisis, Madrid was adding stations at rate that hasn't been seen in London for over 60 years. According to Wikipedia (would be great if someone had a better source), Madrid's Metro added 90 km (56 mi) of track and 80 new stations to the network between 2003 and 2007.
To put this in perspective, it's roughly equivalent to the length and number of stations found on London's entire Overground network.
4. It Has Far More Stations Per Capita
What's even more impressive is that it has far more stations per capita than London. Madrid itself only has a population of 3.3 million compared to the roughly 8.2 million people who live in Greater London.
This means that Madrid has one station per 11,000 people, whereas London has 1 station per 30,370 people.
5. It's Less Crowded
Normal day on the London Underground
Roughly 1.2 billion annual trips were taken on London Underground in 2013 compared to just 558 million taken on Madrid's Metro. This means that, on average, only half the number of people use the Madrid Metro each day compared to the Underground. Great if you want to get a seat!
So while London still has an older network with significantly more miles of track, Madrid's Metro stacks up pretty well on most head-to-head comparisons.
A Few Other Random Observations
For some reason the Madrid Metro is left-hand running, which is odd as Spaniards drive on the right. This may be due to the fact that residents of Madrid used to drive on the left until 1924.
The Madrid Metro turns 95 this year, which sounds old until you realise that the Underground is 56 years older.
The Madrid Metro doesn't currently have a direct line from the City Centre to the main airport. Almost all passengers have to change to another line. While only the Piccadilly line goes to Heathrow, it does pass through central London.
I didn't see any adverts in the trains themselves. Although you do get ads in the stations and on platforms...
These are just a few of the things I noticed in my rather limited interaction with Madrid's Metro. If you know of anything I've missed, other differences and/or interesting features, please tell me about them in the comment section below:
Well technically you can't use them just yet, but the video above shows what they'll look like. The maps are being created by ViziCities which is "... about to bring cities to life
using big data and the power of the web."