Images via Polymaps
This amazing Polymaps project from SimpleGeo and Stamen shows where San Francisco's roads are a little worse for the wear. The "Pavement Condition Index Map" illustrates the condition of the street pavement across the city, pointing out in a very visual way where the asphalt needs a little TLC. Why do we care? Because cities that have smooth, safe roads are better for bicyclists -- oh, and hypermilers too. Check out how the team pulled together the information. Streets with high pavement quality are shown in green, while those in the worst quality are red.
The project also shows the importance of open source data for everything, including transit systems. The map was made possible by pulling together two datasets: paving PCI scores and street centerlines. The map is open source itself, so anyone can grab the code and make tweaks to how the information is presented or what can be done with it.
As Streetsblog San Francisco points out, "I assume Neal and Michael at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's Good Roads pothole fixin' Superhero HQ have already checked this out and gushed over the results." Why? Because maps like these are ideal for demonstrating to city officials why, where, and how funds can be distributed to make a city even more bike (and bus) friendly. And, the more pedal- and pedestrian-friendly a city, the healthier it is all-around.
Photo by Lloyd Alter
This is a perfect example of why maps are so darn cool. So..think you'll work on getting something like this created for your city?