A new webtool and app from the National Transport Authority (NTA) will help cyclists of all levels plan a route around Dublin before they even mount a bicycle, providing detailed instructions adapted to suit individual needs and abilities.
Cycle Planner is free to use online and is also available as a free-to-download mobile app on Google Play, with an App Store version set to follow in the coming days.
Ensuring it can be used by all manner of cyclist, the app provides different routes based on level of experience. An easy option for beginners and children avoids heavy traffic and difficult junctions while a more advanced option maps out the quickest route from A to B using cycle tracks where available. For something in between, a ‘Balanced’ option favours cyclist-friendly roads but still aims to get you to where you want to be in good time.
Users can also choose to avoid hills if they don’t fancy an uphill struggle or a downhill slide, and there’s also the option to use the Dublin Bikes system or routes with trains that allow passengers to bring bikes on board. The final map will provide detailed instructions indicating expected traffic levels at each point and users can even store these routes on their smartphone for offline use.
Creating a cycle-friendly culture
“Cycling has taken off massively in Dublin and this app is another step towards creating a cycling-friendly culture,” said the Minister for Commuter and Public Transport Alan Kelly, TD. “It will assist people of all cycling levels to get to and from work, cycle for leisure, go for a bike ride with their kids or for any other reason people may wish to cycle.”
The Cycle Planner covers the greater Dublin region from Malahide and Swords to Bray and as far west as Lucan and Clonee. There are also pre-installed maps for popular leisure routes, such as the Dodder River cycle way, the Dublin Bay coastal route and the canal cycle ways.
The browser-based version of the new Cycle Planner
While the app has its imperfections, it’s a huge leap forward for cyclists in the city both new and old. A feedback button is provided to help improve the app, so it should only get better over time.
“We know that we need more and better cycling routes and each year we are investing significant capital sums in more off-road provision and better on-road arrangements. This planner fills a big gap with its clear display of options showing the level of traffic, the hilliness, banned right turns and, for those who are health conscious, the amount of calories burned,” said NTA chief executive Gerry Murphy. “We hope this planner will help those who wish to cycle a little more frequently and also will encourage people to try new routes, perhaps in their leisure time.”