A map of the entire UK bus network

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ValleyLines142

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There's no reason why not but I imagine that due to the vast number of services across the country it would probably be just a maze of colours!

Take London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester's bus networks. Just on their own it'd be highly complex and precise.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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There's no reason why not but I imagine that due to the vast number of services across the country it would probably be just a maze of colours!

Take London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester's bus networks. Just on their own it'd be highly complex and precise.

That would be the major issue - the size of it required to be legible

There was a book done a few years ago that showed the National Bus Co and Scottish Bus Group networks in 1985 (pre de-reg) and it was about 50 odd pages long.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51P1oeATOxL._SX365_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

It showed the rural and inter-urban networks but not the intricate details of local services in towns or conurbations
 

aformeruser

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It would quickly become out-of-date. Even if operator names were excluded bus routes get extended, truncated, withdrawn and renumbered all the time
 

backontrack

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There's no reason why not but I imagine that due to the vast number of services across the country it would probably be just a maze of colours!

I'd expect it just to have red, green, pink, yellow and orange - red for frequent services, green for more infrequent ones, pink for ones that operate only on certain days, yellow for summer-only services, and orange for winter-only services.
 

Greenback

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I don't think it's really practical to do this. It would be extremely complex in some areas, and would require constant updating. It would have to be a labour of love, as I can't see it generating much money for the effort involved!
 

MedwayValiant

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Some editions of the Great British Bus Time Table came with a map. IIRC, it was a glued insert which folded out to A2 or thereabouts.

I can't remember the precise format of the map; perhaps someone here still has one in his "old bus stuff" box somewhere. (Please tell me I'm not the only person who has a box full of old timetable leaflets, local authority maps, and so on which you don't quite like to throw out!)

But from memory, this map used straight lines between towns rather than wiggles to fit to roads, and each major town or city had a colour code.

The maps in the NBC/SBG book which TheGrandWazoo mentions were drawn by hand, but the one I'm talking about was done on a computer. That would have been a serious job requiring special software back in 2000 or so, but by now you could do it with free software.

Anyone with a basic knowledge of drawing software and a free week on their hands could produce such a map for the whole of Great Britain. But as suggested, it has to be doubtful whether it could be done as a commercial venture.
 

Greenback

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It would also be out of date pretty quickly if it wasn't updated regularly and frequently.
 

jon0844

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For local buses for me on a Sunday, you could just pick up a blank sheet of paper for an up to date map...
 

MedwayValiant

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I expect the answer to that is "No one actually needs it, but if did exist then I'd want one"!

Now, on the matter of the largest town with no Sunday bus service. Yeovil does have a couple of National Express services on a Sunday, and also the Berry's Superfast service to Hammersmith. But if we exclude these and think only of "normal" bus services, there are none on a Sunday.

The same is true of Shrewsbury though, and Shrewsbury is a larger town than Yeovil. Again there are NX services, but no normal buses.

If we count National Express services and trains as well as normal buses, what is the largest town in the country with no public transport of any kind on Sundays? I don't know the answer to that. I think it was Oswestry for a while, but Sunday buses to and from Wrexham have reappeared.
 

Greenback

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Don't get me wrong, if one did exist, I'd like to have one, or at least to have a look at it! I just can't see how one will ever be created, unless it's for illustrative or historical purposes only (eg The UK Bus Network as it was at xx/xx/xxxx').

I can't see it having any practical use unless it's easy to read and updated. If anyone wants to have a go at creating a map I'd certainly be interested in it.
 

jon0844

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If every council had open data, such as routes and real-time info, rather than our council having a totally closed/proprietary system that means Google and the countless bus apps can't get live info, then I'd have thought maps could be generated automatically - and kept up to date with every single update/change.

Heck, you could even position a lot of buses on the routes in real time.

It's what a lot of bus apps already do, but I am not sure if any developer has thought to show all routes as some sort of overview.

Suffice to say many routes would be missing because that data isn't accessible for whatever reason, but I see no reason why you couldn't get that data and produce a layer for Google Maps/Earth.

Question is, WHO would do it?
 

TheGrandWazoo

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I expect the answer to that is "No one actually needs it, but if did exist then I'd want one"!

Now, on the matter of the largest town with no Sunday bus service. Yeovil does have a couple of National Express services on a Sunday, and also the Berry's Superfast service to Hammersmith. But if we exclude these and think only of "normal" bus services, there are none on a Sunday.

The same is true of Shrewsbury though, and Shrewsbury is a larger town than Yeovil. Again there are NX services, but no normal buses.

If we count National Express services and trains as well as normal buses, what is the largest town in the country with no public transport of any kind on Sundays? I don't know the answer to that. I think it was Oswestry for a while, but Sunday buses to and from Wrexham have reappeared.

I was thinking of local bus services and Shrewsbury may be the biggest town without any which is fairly staggering.
 

crispy1978

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Just looking at Hull, York and Scarborough, which are my three most local towns/cities with a busy bus route, you'd pretty much need a highly detailed PDF street map of the whole of the UK and a pack of highlighters to even get remotely in to any form of accurate detail.

The Scarborough map I know is out of date.
 

AM9

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If every council had open data, such as routes and real-time info, rather than our council having a totally closed/proprietary system that means Google and the countless bus apps can't get live info, then I'd have thought maps could be generated automatically - and kept up to date with every single update/change.

Heck, you could even position a lot of buses on the routes in real time.

It's what a lot of bus apps already do, but I am not sure if any developer has thought to show all routes as some sort of overview.

Suffice to say many routes would be missing because that data isn't accessible for whatever reason, but I see no reason why you couldn't get that data and produce a layer for Google Maps/Earth.

Question is, WHO would do it?

If you mean Intalink, then I think that the number of small bus companies operating here would make that difficult. We have Arriva's live map which I find OK when I want to catch a 300/301 or a 321. Uno seems to be in such a mess that maybe even they don't know where their buses are.
Overall, Intalink is useful though as at least all of Hertfordshire's services are in one place. I've tried looking for bus routes and times in a few other towns such as Winchester/Eastleigh and mid-Essex, and you first have to find out which operators there are, then look at each of their own websites.
 

Busaholic

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Some editions of the Great British Bus Time Table came with a map. IIRC, it was a glued insert which folded out to A2 or thereabouts.

I can't remember the precise format of the map; perhaps someone here still has one in his "old bus stuff" box somewhere. (Please tell me I'm not the only person who has a box full of old timetable leaflets, local authority maps, and so on which you don't quite like to throw out!)

But from memory, this map used straight lines between towns rather than wiggles to fit to roads, and each major town or city had a colour code.

The maps in the NBC/SBG book which TheGrandWazoo mentions were drawn by hand, but the one I'm talking about was done on a computer. That would have been a serious job requiring special software back in 2000 or so, but by now you could do it with free software.

Anyone with a basic knowledge of drawing software and a free week on their hands could produce such a map for the whole of Great Britain. But as suggested, it has to be doubtful whether it could be done as a commercial venture.

Fear not, you're not alone! Getting my hands on it though is more complicated - one garage and an attic stuffed full of the stuff, mostly unsorted, dating back to 1960, although most of it is pre-1990. I don't throw stuff away since I read that my unused, in-its-box, Sinclair Spectrum computer would be worth a fortune if only I hadn't been persuaded to junk it<(
 

carlberry

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Does anyone know if such a thing is actually possible?

TIA.


Quite possible.

I suspect the whole thing would take a while to load however for a county by county version (warning: blatant plug coming) go to www.carlberry.co.uk click on 'counties' at the top, select the county you want (Bridgend County for example). scroll down and near the bottom of the page is a section' Google Earth KML file version of the maps on the right can be found here for bus services, and here for coach/train services' Load whichever you want and (if you have Google Earth) it'll load into that.

The underlying data set isn't good however. It's slowly being converted to use the full Traveline data set however as their 'open' data is specially designed to stop people using it then it's not as easy as it should be. I'll have a look in the next few days to see if it's actually feasible to do a whole country dataset.
 

Baxenden Bank

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No real reason why it cannot be done electronically, and from that a print version could be produced. I'm thinking print at home rather than commercial print. Many Traveline sites now have route details, which can be viewed or downloaded as a pdf - but only 1 route at a time. A bus map is 'simply' all the routes shown together rather than individually.

Lists of departures from a specific stop / place can be produced, I see no reason why the underlying route data cannot also be shown i.e. a map showing all the routes from that same stop. I think there is one of the Travelines that actually offers that facility but I cannot remember which it is.

Accuracy should not be a problem, Local authorities update the timetable database on a frequent basis. One problem faced would be the accuracy of the route data. The routes shown by Traveline for the west midlands, I think the routes are generated by linking successive stops, by the shortest route, leading to some strange results if the stops are some distance apart or there is some quirk to the physical route such as a reversal or a loop. The task is sub-contracted and I suspect local knowledge is none existent. I have pointed out errors in the past, received a quick and polite response but the route never gets corrected. So I gave up and never rely on it.

Fairly recently FWT produced a paper map for Wales which covered the country but not urban areas.

The GBBTT (Great Britain Bus Timetable) did indeed have a nationwide 'diagram', not much use as a map but OK for routes linking towns. It was also (out of necessity I suspect) picky about which routes it showed - both as timetables and routes.

I have a nice NBC map (1981) which covers the whole country, but only for their own services i.e. no PTE or local authority routes. Then again, things were a bit more stable in those days! Also, all NBC subsidiaries had comprehensive timetable books, with route maps and town maps, so it would have been possible, with some effort, to get complete coverage.

One beef I have with current bus maps - why do they stop at the council border? A road map shows all the roads on that page, whereas a bus map shows all routes within a council area, and their extensions over the border, but not a route entirely outside that local authorities area. I'm sure the relevant officers at the council know enough about the bus routes operated in their neighbouring area to have complete coverage. A need for some joined up working!
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Fear not, you're not alone! Getting my hands on it though is more complicated - one garage and an attic stuffed full of the stuff, mostly unsorted, dating back to 1960, although most of it is pre-1990. I don't throw stuff away since I read that my unused, in-its-box, Sinclair Spectrum computer would be worth a fortune if only I hadn't been persuaded to junk it<(

Don't throw it, sell it. Look at the price some bus maps and timetables actually sell for (rather than simply being advertised) on Ebay. Even current timetables, not just historic stuff. It can be hit and miss though.
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Same for a lot of places though I suggest that possibly Yeovil is the biggest town in the country without a Sunday service

You could have a UK map but why would anyone need it?

Because I go on holiday? And when I do, I would like to know, in advance, where the buses run, at what frequency and at what time, shown geographically so that I can plan days out / country walks. That is, I can look at the village I wish to visit and see that there is only a market day bus to that village but an hourly service a couple of miles away so I just build that walk into my day.
 
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TheGrandWazoo

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Because I go on holiday? And when I do, I would like to know, in advance, where the buses run, at what frequency and at what time, shown geographically so that I can plan days out / country walks. That is, I can look at the village I wish to visit and see that there is only a market day bus to that village but an hourly service a couple of miles away so I just build that walk into my day.

Yes, but unless you're anticipating a full trip of the UK, why is a UK map needed?

I was away at easter and travelled down to Cornwall. The council produce a public transport map for Cornwall and their website provides times via a link to Traveline. First Kernow produce a timetable booklet (which is pretty comprehensive and has a map of their services - granted it doesn't have a few tendered services operated by indies but for the most part, it's pretty good).

That is pretty much sufficient for requirements. Put another way, why would people need a huge map that then doesn't provide the level of local detail? It's a bit like the old GBBTT and shares the same flaws.
 

Greenback

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I agree. As far as I'm concerned, the three big questions are

1. What use would it be? (other than general interest for us enthusiasts)
2. Who would produce such a map?
3. Why would they produce it?

I'd be very surprised if it were impossible to do this, but that doesn't mean it should or will be done.
 

MedwayValiant

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If we count National Express services and trains as well as normal buses, what is the largest town in the country with no public transport of any kind on Sundays?

By the by, I may have found the answer to this - although the method wasn't especially scientific so I could be wrong.

As already noted, Shrewsbury (pop 71,700) is the largest town/city in the UK to have no buses on Sundays - but it does have trains and National Express services.

The largest town to have no Sunday buses or trains is Louth (16,400), but it does have a couple of National Express services.

The largest town to have no public transport of any kind on Sundays is Tredegar (14,900). Tredegar is of course in Wales; the largest in England is Middlewich (13,600).
 

Baxenden Bank

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Yes, but unless you're anticipating a full trip of the UK, why is a UK map needed?

I was away at easter and travelled down to Cornwall. The council produce a public transport map for Cornwall and their website provides times via a link to Traveline. First Kernow produce a timetable booklet (which is pretty comprehensive and has a map of their services - granted it doesn't have a few tendered services operated by indies but for the most part, it's pretty good).

That is pretty much sufficient for requirements. Put another way, why would people need a huge map that then doesn't provide the level of local detail? It's a bit like the old GBBTT and shares the same flaws.

I'm thinking of a seamless nationwide map on-line rather than a paper version, but with the ability to print your chosen area prior to departure (for reference, given the difficulty nowadays of picking up maps / timetables once you arrive somewhere). Just as you might view and print a road map if you were driving.

The data is (generally) out there, albeit not as opensource as it could be, referring to Carlberry's comments above. Three national datasets of bus stops I notice! Datasets of road centrelines, or links and nodes, are also available. Bus service registrations have to include a route description and map. All you need to create a map!

If electronic submissions also included an electronic route map - problem solved! Yes, I know that would be a disaster of a million errors.

As per my previous comments, it needs intelligent interpretation by those who know what they are doing and care about the results, i.e. not a subcontracted data entry company looking to simply tick the box 'yes the routes have been entered' rather than the box 'yes the routes have been entered, user identified errors corrected and signed off as accurate'.

x mentions above the difficulties of fragmented information. First find all the potential local bus operators, then download all of their timetables, some have a map, others a diagram, others nothing, some just their own services, some their own and tendered services, some comprehensive. Also try the local authority site, some are better than others. As a last, desperate resort, go to Traveline (some are better than others). Then find that the three sets of data don't agree with each other!

So much easier to click on a bus stop, or section of road, and have it draw the data out of a single database!

No, I don't have a smartphone, which seems to be the assumption nowadays by all service providers (not just bus companies, everyone!). Even if I had one I would never assume a signal nor battery life remaining. Yes, I do have a complete set of paper OS Explorer Maps for my visits / walks!
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I agree. As far as I'm concerned, the three big questions are

1. What use would it be? (other than general interest for us enthusiasts)
2. Who would produce such a map?
3. Why would they produce it?

I'd be very surprised if it were impossible to do this, but that doesn't mean it should or will be done.

1) The arguments are the same as for producing local geographic maps - to encourage new users. Locals to try out a different route, non-users to find their local route, potential visitors to determine whether their trip is possible by public transport.

2) Local authorities.

3) They claim to be keen to encourage greater use of public transport!

I'll put it this way. If each local authority is to produce a bus map anyway (and in future an electronic version) would it be such a great leap to agree a presentation style then to merge them, hey presto a bus map atlas!

Why was the original BR All-line Timetable produced, when all the services were also shown in individual route leaflets or area books? For the sake of comprehensive coverage where you could have a single document and know that you had ALL of the details of ALL of the services operated by BR.
 

Moodster020

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Use Google earth -it has a public transport bus/train or walking planning feature to get from destination A to B you type in.
 

Baxenden Bank

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Use Google earth -it has a public transport bus/train or walking planning feature to get from destination A to B you type in.

I'd much rather be given the full information and be allowed to make my own decisions, rather than an algorithm which doesn't differentiate between a dual carriageway and a quiet country lane, and which, as far as I have seen, does not have off-road routes in it's databank.
 

NorthernSpirit

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Timetables in Wiltshire seem to be difficult to get hold of and oddly enough the county town of Trowbridge (Trowvegas as the locals call it) doesn't seem to have a Sunday bus service, yet one of the other neighbouring towns does.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Timetables in Wiltshire seem to be difficult to get hold of and oddly enough the county town of Trowbridge (Trowvegas as the locals call it) doesn't seem to have a Sunday bus service, yet one of the other neighbouring towns does.

Trowbridge has hourly services to Bath and two hourly to Warminster. Have you tried the library located in the county hall?
 
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