It's Christmas! Well, almost - and once again time for families everywhere to gather around their television sets and weep openly at this year's seasonal Marks & Spencer advert (although the John Lewis ad is superior - derivative but superior). Anyway, last year we invited you to spare a thought for the transport planner in your lives and ask, “what would put a smile on their face this holiday season?”
We put together a list of our top 5 transport themed Christmas gifts. It turned out to be one of our most popular blog posts of the year, somehow beating out a thrilling piece on fare strategy modelling. So we're doing it all over again this year in the hope that no transport planner goes without on Christmas day.
So without further ado…
Podaris’ top 5 Christmas gift choices for the transport planner/enthusiast…
Mix and Match Metro Maps Coaster Set
Look at that subtle off-white colouring; the tasteful thickness of them. These delightful handmade sandstone coasters are rugged, richly detailed and will only appreciate in charm after being stained with sherry this Christmas.
Traintrackr Live LED Maps
And speaking of metro maps… we covered Traintrackr's live LED transit maps last year but we're promoting them again this year because a) they're still think they're great and b) they've now added a selection of more wallet-friendly London Underground line maps. And for 2023, their large London Underground map has added the Elizabeth Line and Northern Line extension. Use Coupon Code SALE1023 in your basket for 10% off everything in their extended Black Friday sale while it lasts!
Mapominoes come in a number of varieties including UK, Asia & Australasia, Europe, Africa, Americas and USA, and are a neat twist on dominoes that involve connecting counties (or countries) that share a common border. Can be easily adapted into a drinking game in which players are forced to take a shot every time they fail to pronounce the word Mapominoes correctly.
2024 GeoHipster Calendar
GeoHipster describe their mission as “mapping the world one organic vertex at a time”. You may wonder if such people have social lives. Well in fact, they do, and so busy are their social lives that they've created their own calendars to better manage their time. These beautiful calendars are filled with a selection of “14 maps created by cartographers from around the world”.
There's a great deal of variety and creativity in these calendars and GeoHipster's website offers profiles on the cartographers with some behind the scenes info on the construction of their maps.
Featured above is 45 years of successful Mars landings by Emmanuel Duchene from the 2023 calendar.
Let's face it, in 2023, the majority of one's day/life as a transport or urban planner is spent behind a screen. And although the delights of Excel, QGIS and Podaris are clearly endless, there is no real substitute for hands-on, tactile construction. These exquisite Lego Architecture kits transcend the company's toy origins and will add charm to any office space when posed next to your microscope in a bell jar.
BART Ugly Sweater
Yes, this is a top five, and yes, this is item number six but a (dis)honourable mention must be made of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) ‘Ugly Holiday Sweater’. With light up tracks and headlights and a “train-deer” with working horn, this collector's item is a triumph of vulgarity, although now sadly sold out at source. Ugly sweater enthusiasts will have to scour the ugly sweater black market to find one this season, we're afraid.
And if you're looking for a way to beat the January blues, why not swing by the Podaris booth at next year's TRB Conference in Washington, DC? We'll be exhibiting from January 7th-11th. Reserve a timeslot with us here!