Time-space Visualization of Automobile and Airplane Travel Time from Chicago to Various Destination Cities
Travel distances are often thought of in terms of time. When asked about how far away a destination is, we answer that it is “x” minutes or hours away. This study explores a novel approach to visualize travel time from a selected, specific city to various destination cities in the Conterminous United States using two modes of transportation: automobile and airplane. Each destination city was selected randomly from cities that met a set of criteria including: city population categories, state representation, and overall geographic distribution. For the automobile and airplane time-space visualization Google Maps were consulted to get driving time and flying time estimates to 107 destination cities. For the airplane travel additional time was added to estimate driving to a local airport and parking. A straight-line time-vector trajectory between the example start city, Chicago, and the destination cities provided a consistent line to alter the relative locations of destination cities relative to buffer distances representing time. Time-altered city locations were used as control points to align an existing map of the United States. The automobile results show pronounced geographic dilation as well as contraction along many coastal states. Airplane travel severely contracted geographic extent of the U.S. as flying time is much faster and far less variable than automobile time. These visualizations provided a different cartographic product that emphasizes the time and space perception changes in time and space associated with movement via different modes of travel.