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What is an isochrone? A definition & examples

by Louisa Bainbridge
on Jul 7, 2017

What is an isochrone?

Definition: An isochrone shows points of an equal value joined together. It's most commonly used to depict travel times, such as drawing a 30 minute travel time perimeter around a start location. The isochrone below joins up all points within a 45 minute drive from the origin. Take a look at the different criteria required to build an isochrone here

Many people when first looking for isochrone may search for a travel time radius. The problem here is that a radius is circular, however a travel time polygon rarely is. The isochrone is an alternative to the distance based 'miles radius' or 'kilomentres radius' search tool. Check out our isochrone guide page for more detail.  

what-is-an-isochrone

Use cases 

Transport planning: isochrones are a great tool for identifying locations that need additional transport infrastructure. Drawing public transport isochrones can identify local transit blackspots or pinpoint areas in need of improve road networks. The image below shows that public transport connections between Brighton and Petworth could be improved as it's not possible to get there within 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

isochrone-public-transport-brighton-uk

Property search: isochrones can be used to find a new home, Users can find the ideal home using their work location and maximum commute time and preferred transport mode. The image below is from Countrywide, but has also been used on various sites in the UK including Zoopla and Rightmove's property search bot.  

isochrone-property-newcastle

Recruitment search: recruiters can use isochrones to identify which locations they should focus on when looking to fill location-specific roles. For example when a new call centre opens employers will be able to see where to focus recruitment drive efforts. 

miles-radius-isochrones-recruitment-comparison

Sales territory planning: allocating sales territories by journey time means that sales people can reach potential clients easily. It can also be a good tool for sourcing the nearest warehouse to supply a local area. Get started by drawing isochrone shapes on a Leaflet map with this tutorial

what-is-an-isochrone

Advertising: isochrones can be used to view catchment areas for retail locations for placements of outdoor advertising or sending in app messaging as part of a proximity marketing strategy. For example a large supermarket may understand that most of their target audience are within a 15 minute drive of the shop location and create a drive time polygon and target customers in this area. 

what-is-an-isochrone

 

 

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