Travel directions – three alternatives to Google maps

Plings - travel directions options

Travel directions on Plings

You may have noticed that we recently added some extra travel direction tools to each activity page, to provide people with a few options including cycling, walking and public transport.

Whilst it is straightforward to get travel directions from a number of websites and maps these days, these still tend to be car/driving based – which may not always apply to 13-19 year olds!

Luckily, there are a some specialist web-based services that provide tailored directions according to the mode of transport, so we took the opportunity to link into them.

Walkit logo


1. By foot?  Then Walkit!
Walkit provides walking directions based on an advanced mapping and calculation engine. With Walkit you can state what kind of route you’d prefer and get directions alongside projected time, step count, calorie burn and even carbon saving.

We’ve talked with Jamie and Martin at Walkit for the past few months and are very excited to be able to link to their service.  Walkit take great care to ensure the routes they present people are safe and responsible.  Walkit is a mainly urban based service, and so we’ve created a link into their service only for venues in areas that they cover.

Cycle Streets logo


2. Cycle the streets
Cyclestreets is the UK-wide cycle journey planner, whose website has just seen its third-of-a-millionth route planned.  Martin and his small team based in Cambridge have built a website that provides another well-grounded service – again making sure that direct and relevant instructions are given.

Again, we are delighted to be able to provide a link with Cyclestreets – giving us the confidence to present this on every activity page.

Transport Direct logo

Transport Direct

3. Public transport
Finally, we took the opportunity to brush up the link we have with the national public transport system, Transport Direct.  Again, this is a national resource – albeit an “official” governmental service – and something that provides bespoke and tailored directions.  The added advantage of Transport Direct is the link into relevant timetables so that people can plan their journey accordingly.

Travel Directions and the Positive Activity duty
As you may be aware, alongside the duty to provide information on positive activities, local authorities should also provide some kind of travel directions.  We appreciate how difficult that this can be technically, which is why we’ve undertaken this work to provide this at Plings. 

Other travel options
Alongside the services we’ve linked to, we wanted to mention two others that would be interesting to explore.

Community Transport
Social Enterprises such as Community Transport provide minibuses (and drivers) to local communities across the West Midlands South, Black Country, Manchester and Newcastle  at fair rates and access.  For trips out or activities that bring together people from different areas, organisations such as these could be a viable option.

Liftshare logo


Another social enterprise, focussed on matching people together who make similar journeys, especially by car.  Liftshare has won numerous awards and recognition, and remains free to use.  We’ve been thinking about the potential multiple similar journeys that – for example – parents may make when dropping people off at positive activities.  How, potentially could Liftshare help?

Over to You

We would be delighted to hear from others providing information on events and activities, and how you’ve addressed the issue of travel directions.

Has anyone linked their youth offer to such services?

Can anyone think of a reasonable and relevant travel direction we are missing?

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One Response to Travel directions – three alternatives to Google maps

  1. Tracy Wilson says:

    Another website which deserves a mention here is BlablaCar, which provides long distance carpooling services in the UK and Europe.

    Carpooling need not be restircted to short distance and daily commuting only. They can be considered for long distances and regular long distance travellers, e.g who drive from the city they work in to the city they have their family in(link myself) on week-ends.

    This site is really well built and works like a social networking ite connecting peole who want to carpool. I not only save the cost of my trip, but also have a very social experience while making the trip.

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