MapQuest and OpenStreetMap: Is there a Bike Under the Hood?

The MapQuest Dev Blog has announced that MapQuest can map a bike route using data from OpenStreetMap. Before you get too excited, there’s no place yet on MapQuest where you can search for bike directions, but it may mean that they are one step closer a user-friendly way to map a bike route using real-world information submitted by real people.

[W]e will route you on paths that are not vehicle accessible and also try to not let you do anything illegal, like riding on an interstate : ) On a more serious note, the following list provides some specific rules that are applied to bike routes:

  • Avoids roads where bicycle access in OpenStreetMap is set to false
  • Avoids all limited access highways
  • Favors bike specific paths (road segments that have bicycle access only "“ no auto or pedestrian)
  • Favors walkways with no auto access
  • Applies various weights to roads based on the [maximum speed of a road] (ex. favors routes where [the maximum speed is less than] 30 mph)

An example of the shortest route (i.e. for a car):

MapQuest Shortest Route

An example of the a bike route from the same starting point to the same destination:

MapQuest Bike Route

The blog is silent on when (or even if) this will become a feature on MapQuest. But what it does mean is that in the hands of the right software geek (and mapping geeks are the intended readers of the MapQuest Dev Blog) this information can be used to generate bike-friendly directions right now.

So, MapQuest, why wait?

Other articles on Bike Route Mapping:

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