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Commuting Is a Kind of Travel

Buzz Poole
06/07/2011 - 00:00

At times frustrating, boring, perhaps even excruciating, commuting to and from work is a form of travel, technically. It’s the not the fun kind of travel; it’s not particularly adventuresome or exciting but it is about getting from Point A to Point B. Utilizing the staggering potential of Google Maps, Stefan Wehrmeyer has developed Mapnificent, an application that lets you know how long it will take to get around a city using mass transit.

As this video makes clear, the concept behind Mapnificent is geared toward urban denizens making decisions about where to live in relation to where they work and how quickly they can shuttle back and forth via mass transit. It makes sense that people would want to reduce their commute as much as possible, especially in light of a recent Swedish study that correlates long commutes and divorce rates – “Couples in which one partner commutes for longer than 45 minutes are 40 percent likelier to divorce” – according to Slate’s Annie Lowrey. And that’s not even the worst of it – the study also reveals grim details about how long commutes can cause obesity, stress and poor eating habits. According to Lowrey: “People who say, ‘My commute is killing me!’ are not exaggerators. They are realists.”

But imagine using this application in a city you are visiting for fun. Yes, getting lost in a new place can be a joy but sometimes you want to avoid walking in circles or riding a slow local bus across town. Mapnificent seems like it would be a great tool to explore a city without spending more time than necessary commuting from place to place, leaving more time to enjoy a museum or meal. While the majority of the cities with Mapnificent capability are in the US, there are a number of international cities where you can keep travel commuting to a minimum, including Budapest, Torino, Perth, Helsinki and London.

Has anyone out there tried Mapnificent?

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