Victoria web developer Owen Lett, who designed an easy-to-use transit map of Greater Victoria as a hobby project, hopes his map makes using public transit easier. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

Victoria man simplifies regional bus route

New map focuses on trip planning, bus frequency

Victoria web designer and self-proclaimed transit nerd Owen Lett hopes his new map makes it easier to take the bus.

The map combines BC Transit’s bus routes throughout Greater Victoria using lines in a variety of colours, styles and thicknesses to indicate frequency of service. Last week, Lett posted the first draft of the project on his website, a hobby he has been working on for three years. The map could make it easier for Victoria newcomers, and those who may not already be familiar with the transit system, to plan trips across the region.

“It’s hard to tell where one route begins and ends, and where it goes,” Lett said, referencing BC Transit’s current rider guide. “That became the new goal for me, to make a new map that would be easy to follow.

“I wanted to make it more legible, and I also wanted to show frequency.”

He said students, seniors and tourists could all benefit from a more user-friendly map. The region’s current guide gives the bus arrival times, which is helpful only when someone has already decided on a route. Having an overview, he said, will help riders better plan for the best way to and from their destination, before they head out the door.

“If you look close enough, you would be able to follow it all the way from end-to-end, every turn it makes, every road it goes down,” he said. “I think it’s easier to use to see the whole system, and see where your trip goes from end-to-end, and also how often the bus comes.”

After posting the map’s first draft on his website and sharing on Twitter, Lett said he saw 1,500 visits to his personal website, up from regular traffic of five or six people a day.

“I was surprised by the results of this,” he said. “I had to increase my bandwidth because too many people were downloading it.”

Lett said he’d love to design other transit maps, but for now, the next step for him is likely crowdfunding to finance printing.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com 

BC Transit

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Another of Lett’s projects is displayed in his home office; his first attempt at designing a regional transit map was of Metro Vancouver in 2009. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

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