Street Maps and Routes

Hi, My name is Pete and I am about to embark on the demanding task of learning the London Knowledge for Taxi drivers. It involves carrying a detailed road map that covers a 6 mile radius from Charring Cross in your head. You have to learn all the well known and many lesser known points of interest in the city and their location. To pass the knowledge you have to be able to verbally answer the shortest route between any 2 points given by the examiner taking into account all road restrictions whilst naming all the roads travelled. This has to be done from memory without sight of a map whilst being tested.
Can anyone point me in the direction of any techniques and or methods that will aid my study?
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any guidance or ideas would be gratefully received. Pete.


It’s only 320 routes actually… forward direction, in reverse, and the quarter mile radius around start and end point of the route.

Did you get the Blue Book yet where it lists all the aforementioned 320 routes? It’s part of the package when you apply.

A scooter/(e-)bike to drive the routes from the Blue Book and maybe Google Maps (optionally with VR glasses) to study at home. You could also get a helmet camera and record your ride and put it on YoutTube to always have acmes from you smartphone without taking up space on your phone.

While learning aids are a useful resource and can be helpful (e.g. books, videos, paper-based or digital maps, apps or any other kind of navigation system), practical knowledge is absolutely essential; you can only get this by travelling along the routes and runs and by visiting the points yourself.


…or have a look at what others already uploaded.


There are also a few related threads:


Thank you for your replies. Filming looks like a good idea. I have the list of those runs. The thing with the 320 runs and the quarter mile radius maps at start and finish is really a basic framework for getting to know London. It’s unlikely that an examiner will ask one of those routes. They are more likely to pick a point in one of the radius maps and another in another completely random unconnected radius map and expect you to recite the most direct route between them.

Apart from anything else, the requirement to know where thousands of points are is so daunting. I was really looking for advice on learning routes, picturing maps in ones head, and keeping an encyclopaedic knowledge of points of interest and their respective locations in the mind for ready recall as required.

I suppose I need a kind of training program that will aid all this. How long is too long to concentrate on a map, are there any tips that would help one to fix the info in ones head, is chunking helpful, is verbally reciting and writing notes helpful. How much repetition per day is enough. I know it’s a long drawn out task that most take 2 or 3 years to complete but like most people I want to speed up the process and make the optimum use of my time.

Many thanks once again for your interest.

Best regards


I have tackled a similar kind of challenge in learning to play chess without site of the board. I started out visualizing the board and the squares around it. That was very painful. After time what emerged was quite different, I developed a web of narrative routes.

The basic memory structure is the Journey which is simply a story or narrative about travelling through a set of locations. These journeys can cross each other where the routes intersect.

Spend some time examining what your own brain does. I bet you already know how to get around London as a resident. How is this information stored? Plan a shopping trip that takes you across the city. What comes up? Do you pull pull a map in your head or are you hearing a narrative or some combination of both? When you know how your brain prefers to store this information, play to that strength.

Each location along the journey has to be given some character or interest. It has to have some connection to you. If you don’t already have a history with that place, make up a story, fantastic. Perhaps you saw three policemen trying to capture a tiger standing in the middle of the intersection. A fake story - you and your friends went to the pub there and the place was full of Vikings… etc.

I know what it is to drive in London. You are a brave man.

Have you had a look at the format of the tests (plural)… that is in fact exactly what they ask in the beginning.

That comes only in later tests.

Again, have you looked at the format… there are multiple levels that you have to pass with 12 points each to continue on to the next level… there is a certain number of weeks between tests too.

I just wanted to offer my encouragement. My wife and I are Americans, but love visiting London. And one of the reasons is the absolute trust you can place in your cab driver to get you where you need to go and communicate clearly and knowledgeably along the way. Why every big city doesn’t take this approach to cab-driver training/licensing is baffling to me. (Imagine what a difference it would make in NYC, for instance, where drivers may not even be comfortable speaking English, let alone know how to navigate downtown Manhattan.)

We wish you the best!


Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. It’s true what the cabbies say,”It’s as tough as any degree” and needs bucketloads of determination and time. Unfortunately the powers that be are keen on dumbing down the trade but, like yourselves, many people regard it as a positive thing about London so it is hanging on for now and resisting the calls from big business (Uber) to open it up to them.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are no short cuts and I will just have to put the miles in.

Kind Regards

Thank you for your time and your reply. I suppose what I really need to know is how to make a large detailed map with its connections stick. It just seems so daunting.

Best regards


Thank you ZVUV.

I read your comments with interest.
I think the point you make about making every location memorable is really useful and something I intend to do. The big drawback is that there are thousands of them which makes it so daunting. I suppose it’s simply a question of putting the hours in.
I haven’t found any shortcuts as yet so I expect I will be reverting to the old methods of studying the map, reciting runs between points, and driving the streets.

Kind regards

1 Like

Reply, it will take time, there’s no way around it. But if you use memory techniques the information will stick quicker and better and your time will be better spent.


I’ll stick with it. If I stumble across any useful tips and wrinkles I will post them.


1 Like