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When routing for non-driving travel around the UK (though a Europe-wide answer would be very interesting), is there a tool that allows a sensible mix of public transport and walking (possibly with cycling, especially bike-share schemes, possibly with ridesharing)?

This is something I've been thinking about recently*, and we've just had a London-specific question, so here's a more general version. Such a tool would also have been handy when planning the route in this answer.

Even with "fewer transfers" set in Google maps, it seems to avoid even quite short walks in favour of changing buses/trains. When the buses are infrequent this can take a lot longer than walk+bus. To route manually requires some local knowledge/guesswork about which bus stops or stations to walk to; while possible on the desktop the mobile interface isn't much help. Traveline is worse, finding solutions using 3 buses where Google uses 2, and not even saving any walking.

One feature that might help with routing efficiently but would certainly allow planning a more interesting route would be to allow a "via" option when using public transport, as you usually can with walking/cycling/driving directions.


* I'd normally cycle a lot (even sometimes between cities) and drive occasionally; an injury means neither is currently an option but I can walk quickly. Planning efficient routes is proving rather tedious even within/between cities I know.

  • rome2rio is the most "multimodal" routing site I know. – Giacomo Catenazzi Aug 21 at 11:58
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi putting in the route I've got to do this afternoon (between specific points in 2 UK cities) r2r comes in 35% slower than a sensible route. It uses train-train-bus instead of train-(slightly longer) bus. On another test route, that I did on Sunday, it comes up with something equivalent to what I did, so it's capable of being helpful – Chris H Aug 21 at 14:03
  • What is the route you are trying? I suspect that different apps/websites will be better in different cases. e.g. Travelline seems to have been the best for me in all cases I can remember (although the CityMapper iOS app is nicer to use) – user151019 Aug 21 at 15:49
  • @Mark one test is Cardiff (fairly central)->Bristol (suburbs); another, the one that got me thinking about this on Sunday, is within Bristol. Strangely Traveline (meant to be good for local stuff) does the intercity one better, and Rome2Rio (marketed for large-scale journeys) does the Bristol one better. But trying many websites for a single route (not apps, there's only so many you can install) is as onerous as putting the effort in to the planning myself – Chris H Aug 21 at 15:59
  • Sorry not detailed enough to study what is happening. – user151019 Aug 21 at 16:33
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I use Travelline. There are versions for different areas the South East one is here I find it usually outperforms any of the others

This asks for start and end locations and then finds routes via walking, bus, train etc.

Travelline does have mobile apps as well.

It does also show cycling but not through bike share etc.

Tfl also has a transport planner but just for London but does include its bike share scheme.

  • One nice thing is that traveline lets you set your walking speed - I'm considerably quicker than Google assumes (except when I'm with my daughter) – Chris H Aug 22 at 8:09
  • I'm still not impressed with travelline, but it does seem to be better at this than anything else – Chris H Oct 22 at 15:22

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