title: good garden guide

#two : interchange

route formulation

You need to know where you are going, the list; how to reorder; how to make amendments for changing choices or circumstances: all this has been dealt with in grass routes planning.

getting on and off

The smallest level of detail for engineering an interchange is how you get on and off a vehicle. Those who are in any manner disabled are not under consideration here: they have special classes of difficulty best dealt with by their group organisation either as already well done (I suspect not) or perhaps within the framework of something along the lines of this note.

Getting on a bus is often made deliberately difficult by a green barrier to block off half the entrance, made necessary as a result of a policy of making drivers responsible for collecting fares and checking tickets as well as driving and providing customer assistance.
This must be the nadir of public provision of public transport: the idea that a conscious, sentient human being actually thought of this then implemented it.

How do you know where to get off? And at an interchange getting off is knowing where to get on. Railway stations have names though in the dark the boards are often unreadable. But how do you know that is where you want? In particular with real problems, the choice is a step into the unknown. An example perhaps? Watford to Clapham Junction is a one train an hour fast link for Surbiton, much better than carrying on to Euston. But how are you on time for the connection?
Did you have to know all this beforehand?

Signing on the London Underground is almost exemplary in comparison with everywhere else, but here is no information about the rest of the railway system and nothing about buses. It is all a puzzle. Example? Victoria line to the Hertfordshire lines: Kings Cross, Finsbury Park, Tottenham Hale, absolutely nothing!

On rail to bus interchanges there is almost nowhere that there is reliable information. The positioning of stops in relation to stations seems not have been engineered since the railways were constructed.

On a bus, even the Beck type single strip lines (pearl strings I've heard them called in german, there appears to be no word in english) are almost consistently missing. In the few cases they exist, you cannot tell how many stops there are between the stops on the string. There are no bus interchange numbers anywhere. The stops have such a small font that it is unreadable from the bus, particularly in the dark or in rain. There are now almost no conductors. The drivers frequently don't actually know where places are for fares never mind having no mechanism from within their little boxes for communicating.

At some bus stops in some places there are charts showing where to get your bus but these are generally only at substantial interchanges. Anything of smaller scale will not show even what is round the corner.

Though stops are generally placed so far away from the corner that an interchange means a walk of two hundred yards if from the system map you knew it was possible.

The new London Transport booklets are including for the first time some bus bus interchange information but only within the section covered, so you need 36 of these 80 page volumes for London.

information engineering

There seems to be nothing I can point to here at all. This is the great unknown until I win a lot more battles. But it might be that the Internet is where the battles are fought and the results then later flow into paper tools

See carfree.kingswood.king.ac.uk for how far we have got.

But at the simplest level, it is information engineering that has got me even to the stage I'm at. By taking the railway timetables and the Ordnance Survey maps, I was able to work out that South Tottenham and Seven Sisters actually are an interchange though this is not shown on the Network Southeast System diagram, and that there are seventy three of these. But I don't have the power to change the representation of the system or therefore its behaviour.

It was in turn recognising that the way in which maps shown transport meant that a different representation of frequency and bandwidth would allow for a new information retrieval tool which I called 1-2-3. See as easy as 1-2-3 for a more detailed discussion of how this notation works.

I must admit though, that at what ought to be the level of organisation of which I'm professionally supposed to be most competent, I have made little progress at all: the thousands of leaflets which I have collected about the whatness of transport and the howness have become a filing nightmare no matter how I try to organise them. I have no hopes of the Internet doing other than making this worse.

negotiating the interchange

My interest is in information, but part of the reason for even considering the transport question is to have an opportunity to consider the aboutness question. Information has a relation with concrete reality. The concrete reality of interchanges is beyond the power of an individual to change. At the simplest level, a painted line on the pavement would make a difference. This exists at the Barbican (though often only in one direction), and in Birmingham between two stations. At Guildford or Aylesbury between rail and bus it would be easy.

But thereafter interchanges seem to be deliberately engineered to make them impossible. Local knowledge is needed to show examples. Without maps or illustrations, I'm not sure this can be described.

Elephant and Castle

lines of influence

By this I mean the link between who you are and what you can achieve. At this stage I know nothing about how they work.

mode mode

As soon as two modes of travel are involved, the organisational complexity increases. All the structure lines of organisation are on mode, despite the cross ownership which exists.

air - rail/ bus

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