Complex Bus Routes

Posted by mwbg on 14 September 2013 in English (English)

I’ve been splitting my local bus route up into various segments. The actual route seems to vary almost every trip and the variation is greater within suffix letters than between suffix letters!

The idea is to do it as a super_relation. Not quite sure what this is, or how it works. Information seems to be fragmented. Is route_master an example of a super_relation ?

OSM Relation Manager seems to have been down for ages now.

Would I be right in creating a route_master relation just to assemble various segment options of the bus route into the route variants ? Would any of the main renders recognise it ?

Comment from Pink Duck on 15 September 2013 at 08:56

I don’t get the need to do separate bus route relations per variation of route. What are these being put into OSM for? To visualise where buses go? To be able to correlate a timetable of a particular route at a given time with the route itself? If OSM has sufficient information for bus access permissions then automatic routing could be used to do all this, combined with the NaPTAN stop information. Are there really enough people with enthusiasm to keep such route variations up to date several times a year?

Comment from mwbg on 15 September 2013 at 10:39

Ordinarily, I’d agree with you: maintaining multiple variants of a bus route is a bit silly.

Thing is, my local bus company has historically used a “route number” (in this case, 44) to refer to what amounts to a whole bus network within the collection of little districts that is WR14. It’s all called the 44 and has significant variations on Saturday, Sunday, Schooldays, within individual days, and according to drivers’ whims.

These aren’t just minor “doesn’t serve XXX after 1900” variations: WR14 has no obvious terminus: it is served by what amounts to a large terminal one-way loop. There are at least two major variations of this loop, altering the duration of the route by about 30 minutes. In addition, short-runnings are common.

Think of the District “Line” of London Underground, or the Metropolitan “Line”: these aren’t “line”s at all, but collections of overlapping routes with a variety of service patterns, routes, and calling points.

There are “A”, and “C” variants of the route, but these variants are minor compared to the variants within the route, especially considering the number of short-runnings.

There is also a large extension within Worcester, to “County Hall”. Only certain buses go there, and there is no correlation between those that do and what suffix letter they have.

FMR (the operator) are not very good at publishing coherent maps and information as to where their buses go and the buses often (more often than not) run with wrong display blinds (mainly because not everyone can agree where the logical terminus is). Look at the timetable and you’ll see what I mean.

I wouldn’t be too bothered if a relation didn’t have to be a strict linear collection of ways/nodes. As it is, I have to do it in pieces and, given that it’s in pieces, I might as well take the opportunity to re-assemble those pieces using super-relations.


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