Design project "Roads to Rome"

  • First visualization of large-scale mobility infrastructures
  • Underlying algorithm runs through almost 3.4 million routes
  • Street data based on "OpenStreetMap" (OSM)

Behind the map view there is a complex algorithm running through almost 3.4 million routes. The starting points for each of these routes are nearly 500,000 points evenly distributed throughout Europe over an area of 26.5 million square kilometers. The more frequently a street is used, the stronger its marking. This creates a picture which shows that many roads can lead to Rome. The underlying street data is based on "OpenStreetMap" (OSM) – similar to the Wikipedia principle, anyone can edit and create map content in OSM.

While carrying out the research, we stumbled upon the next question: “Is there a Rome on each continent on Earth?” In the United States, the proverb proved to be true – there are ten towns with the name Rome here. With this, we had found the next question to tackle: Which is the closest Rome to any point in the United States? A kind of territorial division of the nation occurs, based on catchment area.

This territorial division led us to the next stage of the project: Which travel time zones arise when the route to the nearest capital city is calculated from each point in Europe? This does not take political borders into account. The routes are marked with a different color for each capital. This, in turn, creates new territorial divisions by capital city.

What are the future key elements in urban mobility? How will innovative technology change our mobility habits? Or must we change our living habits in order to give future scenarios a chance?

The moovel lab investigates such questions. The moovel lab is an interdisciplinary team whose primary research interests are "movement patterns" and traffic flows in urban areas. Instead of traditional analysis and presentation methods, the lab attempts through the use of exploratory projects to understand human behavior in urban areas, to influence it and to provoke discourse.

The moovel lab is a unit within the moovel Group GmbH – whereby the creative working environment of the lab is open to all employees of the moovel Group GmbH as well as interested third parties. The moovel lab works together with universities, commercial enterprises and other creative experts and is continually searching for additional interested partners.

The lab's ideas, observations and prototypes are prepared in the form of map displays, video clips and other design products in order to stimulate debate on the future of mobility also among interested parties beyond the classical research scene.

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