I live about 200 km from the city of Winnipeg. But nobody says that. Everyone always says “two hours,” because that’s how long it takes to get there.
Time is how people think of travel. Distance is useful mainly as an approximation of time. So that’s why a map that throws out that slavish devotion to geography, and instead concentrates on travel times, would be so useful!
Which is exactly what TimeMaps does (sorry, it’s in Dutch). By mapping out the Netherlands and correlating it with train schedules, recent design grad Vincent Meertens has made a web-app that visualizes how the “distance” (travel time) grows and shrinks over the course of a day. That is, when the trains run less often, like at night, it takes a lot longer to get where you’re going. And the map gets bigger, to represent that.
Meertens tells Fast Company that he’s hoping to add cars, bikes and other forms of transportation. His next project will be New York City.
It’s up for an award — you can vote for it here.