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Models and Data FAQs

Answers to some of the frequently asked questions about our transport models and data

General

How do you calculate journey times?

What countries do you support?

Do you use Google Maps travel data?

Why are your journey times sometimes different to Google's?

What is the maximum journey time you support?

What do the models optimise for when determining a route?

Do you calculate other metrics other than travel times?

Driving/Walking/Cycling

How does the driving model work?

Does your driving model include live traffic?

What standard speeds are used in your models?

What happens if a driving journey begins away from a road?

Does the cycling model take into account elevation change?

Why are there 'islands' in the reachable area isochrone, even for driving?

Public Transport

How does the public transport model work?

Do you have every public transport provider?

How up-to-date is your data?

A public transport route that I know exists is not showing up in my results - why is this?

Is walking included in public transport journeys?

Is the time needed to change trains or busses included?

How does the driving+train model work?

General

How do you calculate journey times?

We use a combination of industry standard speed profiles, and our own, as inputs into fine-tuned, proprietary models for each transport method that take into account things like road profile, time of day, road features, etc.

What countries do you support?

We currently support 39 countries globally (public transport is not currently available in all 39).

A full list can be found here.

Do you use Google Maps travel data?

No, all of our models are proprietary, owned and built from the ground up by us

Why are your journey times sometimes different to Google's?

Although we regularly benchmark our models against other providers including Google to ensure that the results are comparable, there are a number of important reasons why they differ including: other providers' lack of public transport data; the wide range of possible driving times other providers often suggest;  ‘human routing’ basis of the TravelTime models

What is the maximum journey time you support?

As standard, the maximum journey times that we support for any mode of transport are:

  • Isochrones / Matrices - 4 hours
  • Routes - no limit

To discuss options for increasing the limit on Isochrones and Matrices please get in touch at sales@traveltime.com

What do the models optimise for when determining a route?

For an arrival search (e.g arrive by 9am), the model will optimise for the latest departure time.

For a departure search (e.g depart at 5pm), the model will optimise for the earliest arrival time.

Do you calculate other metrics other than travel times?

Yes - the driving/walking/cycling models can also return distances (the true distance along the route rather than the 'as the crow flies' distance).

In the UK, the public transport model can also return fares (single, weekly, monthly, and annual).

Driving/Walking/Cycling

How does the driving model work?

The driving model uses our own proprietary algorithms to predict and calculate drive times. The model takes a range of data sets such as OpenStreetMap and country-specific data, and then constructs speed profiles based around road types, the surrounding area, and features of the road itself. These speed profiles are then benchmarked on test maps, fine-tuned, and then set live.

Does your driving model include live traffic?

No, our driving model does not include live traffic, and is instead calculated for peak and off-peak times. Peak times are defined as 07:00-10:00 and 16:00-19:00

What standard speeds are used in your models?

Driving speeds are determined by a range of factors including the type of road, the surrounding area, and features of the road.

The default walking speed is 1.4 m/s

The default cycling speed is 20 km/h

These default speeds are not configurable to the end user.

What happens if a driving journey begins away from a road?

When a journey begins away from a road, we 'snap' to the nearest road node, while applying a time penalty for doing so.

The maximum 'snapping distance' is 1km, and the time penalty applied is the time it would take to walk the snapping distance.

Does the cycling model take into account elevation change?

No it currently does not.

Why are there 'islands' in the reachable area isochrone, even for driving?

We only return areas as 'reachable' if they can actually be reached by a human in real life. Even for driving, this may create islands of reachable areas cut off from the main area - for example, the gap between junctions on a motorway may be unreachable because it is not possible to stop or get off the road at that point

Public Transport

How does the public transport model work?

Our proprietary public transport models traverse every possible route based on timetables and data gathered from a huge list of public transport agencies

All combinations of public transport methods are included (bus, coach, train, underground, tram, etc) as well as walking

Do you have every public transport provider?

Although it is not possible to say we definitively have every public transport agency in the countries we are live in, we are completely transparent about the data that we do have, and this is often significantly more than other suppliers' published lists of providers

For access to our interactive online tool for exploring where we have public transport coverage, please contact support@traveltime.com

How up-to-date is your data?

We have a dedicated Data Team who update all of our data at least every two weeks to ensure it is always as accurate as possible

A public transport route that I know exists is not showing up in my results - why is this?

Our public transport model is built on actual timetables, and will only allow a train/bus to be taken if that station/stop can be reached in time for when the service departs. For example, it may not be possible to walk from the origin to the station in time to catch the specific train, and so that route will not be given as an option.

If you believe there is a service/provider who's data is not being included in the results, please contact us at support@traveltime.com

Is walking included in public transport journeys?

Yes - all public transport journeys allow for walking. 

The maximum walking time allowed between stations/stops is 10 minutes.

When using the API or one of the plugins, the walking_time parameter can be used to control the time allowed to walk from the origin to the first station/stop and from the final station/stop to the destination. By default this is set as 15 minutes, and this limit is applied at both ends of the journey independently (i.e it is not cumulative).

Is the time needed to change trains or busses included?

Yes - whenever a transfer requires walking (e.g from one platform to another) then this time is taken into account.

An additional boarding time can be added using the pt_change_delay parameter (when using the API) or the Public Transport Boarding Time parameter (when using one of the plugins). 

How does the driving+train model work?

This multi-modal option calculates journeys that involve driving, taking the train, or driving to a station and then continuing by train.

The maximum time allowed for driving to the station can be configured using the driving_time_to_station parameter. 

Driving before taking a train is not required.

Driving after taking a train is not allowed.

 

To get support on any other questions, please contact us at support@traveltime.com