Planning a trip? Look no further than GoPhillyGo
GoPhillyGo is a new mapping tool developed by the Clean Air Council and Azavea, with funding from the William Penn Foundation. The site makes it possible to plan multimodal trips, either by bike, transit or walking, without doing multiple searches for directions from other mapping sites.
The Clean Air Council started design on the application in the summer of 2014. After a few rounds of design revisions, Azavea began development and the Clean Air Council launched GoPhillyGo in June of last year.
“GoPhillyGo benefits Philadelphia by getting people out of their cars; making bike, transit, and walking trips easier; and interacting with their environment along the way,” Nick Rogers, sustainable transportation director at GoPhillyGo said in an email. “The site also promotes some of the region’s best environmental destinations, like wildlife refuges, marshlands, and environmental education centers.”
The Clean Air Council owns and manages GoPhillyGo. Azavea is the developer of the site. Azavea is a software and web developer that has a specialty in creating mapping related websites. Clean Air Council has been promoting sustainable transportation in the Philadelphia region for several decades, according to Rogers.
Before, GoPhillyGo ran a pilot program in Norristown and Southwest Philadelphia examining how combining modes of transportation, specifically bike and transit, can drastically increase the area a person can cover without a car in a given time.
“The practical outcome of this is that more trips are possible without a car when a user combines modes like bike and transit,” Rogers said.
There are a variety of data and technologies that drive GoPhillyGo. On the software side, they rely on the open source OpenTripPlanner project to calculate directions and "travelsheds". OpenTripPlanner relies on OpenStreetMap data for roads and trails, and on General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data for the transit schedules.
Bike directions can be selected that put more weight on flatter routes, safer routes, or the faster routes. Transit users can select a larger radius they are willing to walk, Rogers added.
“GTFS is a standardized format for locations and times of public transit systems, and we use data from SEPTA, PATCO, NJ Transit, DART, and Phlash,” Rogers said. “For display, we also use data from the DVRPC, Uwishunu, and the Indego API.”
One of the primary features that make GoPhillyGo unique, and sets it apart from other mapping resources is the combine mode feature it has. Multimodal transportation means combining more than one type of transportation.
“So biking to a train station, taking the train, then biking the last bit to your destination is a multimodal trip. Bikeshare is perfect for combining modes - taking the subway into Center City, walking to an Indego station, biking to another station, then walking to your destination,” Rogers said. “When you combine modes on GoPhillyGo and get directions, it gives you the best set of directions using all of the modes you select.”
GoPhillyGo is focused on the Philadelphia region right now and have considered expanding the program to include Delaware, all of New Jersey, Northeast Pennsylvania, or New York. Rogers said he would not rule their options out for the future.
In the next year the Council hopes to have a mobile optimized version of the site, so GoPhillyGo can be used on the go and on a user’s phone for directions. After that gets off the ground the Council will evaluate the need and benefit of developing native apps.
“At the current time we are focused on making the Philadelphia part of this as effective as possible,” Rogers said. “The website is all open-source though, so a group in any other area could build a Chicago, or New York, or Boston version of this website using data from their region.”