Change Route Builder so it doesn't avoid climbs

:link: My profile link : Robert Wood - CityStrides

Does Route Builder avoid climbs? It seems to, it seems to prefer a longer route over a steeper route. Is there a way to disable this feature?

Rob Wood

The short answer is “Route Builder does kind of avoid hills, and it is possible to disable that”. I wrote this reply as I was researching it, so it built up a bit more detail than is really required. I left the extra detail below because some of us are nerds. :nerd_face:

I’m using Stadia’s Routing service which in turn uses Valhalla, which defines the pedestrian costing model as:

Standard walking route that excludes roads without pedestrian access. In general, pedestrian routes are shortest distance with the following exceptions: walkways and footpaths are slightly favored, while steps or stairs and alleys are slightly avoided.

Valhalla includes some additional pedestrian costing options (this link doesn’t seem to auto-jump to the section; if it doesn’t, click a random entry in the table of contents section and then click the “Pedestrian costing options” entry) … It does look like these are accessible via Stadia - their API Reference Docs include a costingOptions section which includes details on pedestrianCostingOptions.

There’s a use_hills option, which defaults to 0.5 on a 0 - 1 scale, where “1 indicates the pedestrian does not fear hills and steeper grades”. That seems reasonable for us :smiling_imp:

I moved this into #ideas since it’s more of a request than a problem. Vote away! :rocket:


Thank you James. Greatly appreciated. I look forward to this feature.

Rob Wood

P.S. Love your app. It has driven me onwards and upwards.

We have a little fear of hills but put it aside for node hunting :laughing:

1 Like

One question for general consideration.

is it better to have

  1. the default be “hills are included”, and sometimes you get surprised by a very steep climb that wasn’t apparent on the map, or
  2. the default be “hills are avoided”, and if you see something silly zig-zagging around, you can use the straight-line feature to connect across

My take is that upside is similar in each case, but there’s greater downside in 1), which is what is being proposed.

(I feel only mildly invested in this opinion, haha)

I’m good either way, but probably #2 is the better default option.

Throwing this out for consideration and refinement: could there be a slider for “hilliness avoidance” such that when adjusted during route building, it auto-adjusts the route accordingly?

I think the cleanest way would be to include an elevation chart as part of the route and take the guesswork out of it.
All my routes end up in Garmin Connect which generates this, so it’s not an issue for me at this time, but maybe something to add for those who use routes on their phones?