After about a month in testing we’re today making available a new kind of routing on CycleStreets – namely ‘Balanced routes’.

Regular users of CycleStreets will be familiar with the Fastest and Quietest routes. They represent two extremes of cycle route – one where time is of the essence, and the other which tries to avoid busy roads. Some of the feedback we have received over the 6 months since the national release of CycleStreets has told us that in some cases they are too extreme.

The Fastest route is only interested in how long it takes to ride along each section, and so the routes it suggests often include very busy sections of road. Quietest routes, on the other hand, ignore the time and so they sometimes include long sections that require walking along a footpath.

The new route type provides a good balance between these two extremes.  Both the time taken to ride, and a measure of how busy the roads or paths  can be are included in the calcuation of the Balanced route.

This usually makes the Balanced route the most practical route for everyday cycling. They will only include sections of busy road if there is no known practical alternative. And because walking is slower than cycling they will naturally avoid long sections of footpaths or other areas were a dismount is required.

Showing the new Balanced route (amber colour), alongside the more established Fastest (red) and Quietest (green) routes.
Showing the new Balanced route (amber colour), alongside the more established Fastest (red) and Quietest (green) routes.

The above example is taken from

For some time now, the fastest routes have included the delay (and time-saving)  due to hill climbs and descents. (This is known as the Naismith effect .) The Balanced route will also partially take this effect into account.

The introduction of Balanced route has allowed us to remove the option from the Journey Planning page to ‘Include routes requiring a dismount’. That option (which could be On or Off) is no longer necessary as the Balanced route will use a section requiring a dismount more intelligently, as it balances  the slowness of walking with the quietness of the alternatives.

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