|A northbound Brown Line train crosses Division Street.|
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
You’ve probably used MapQuest or Google Maps to find your way around Chicago. After you provide your starting and destination addresses, you can choose either to get directions via driving a car (the default setting), public transportation, or walking. Google Maps also has a “bicycling” choice for mode of transport. The search results provide you with a map of the suggested route, and the estimated time it will take, given the date and time you’ll be departing on your trip.
There’s another wayfinding website you might not know about, even though it’s been around for four years: HopStop. Unlike the others, HopStop doesn’t assume that you’re going to be driving a car: In fact, it doesn’t provide driving directions. Instead, it asks you to choose from walking, bus only, train only, combo of bus and train, bicycling, or taxi. For those of us living car free or car light in Chicago, it’s a great resource.
The coolest part about HopStop is that it not only gives you the usual map with the route, and estimated travel time, but it also tells you the calories burned and carbon dioxide savings over driving in your own car. This is a nice way to remind everyone of the health and environmental benefits that result from choosing active transportation. HopStop provides you with a grid so you can easily compare all the methods.