Visualization of the Week: London’s bicycle commuter system

Researchers visualize 5 million bicycle treks on London's Barclays Cycle Hire system.

Jo Wood, professor of visual analytics at City University in London, England, along with collaborator Andrew Huddart, put together an animated visualization of London’s Barclays Cycle Hire system, beginning with its launch in 2010.

In a post at NewScientist, Douglas Heaven explains that Wood and Huddart pulled data from 5 million commuter bicycle treks. The visualization not only shows the routes taken, but the animation allows users to see a progression of the data that reveals even further insights. Heaven reports:

Around the 1-minute mark, structure emerges from the chaos and three major systems become clear: routes around, and through, the lozenge-shaped Hyde Park in the west, and commutes in and out of King’s Cross St Pancras in the north and between Waterloo and the City in the east.

The animation also shows the directions of the routes taken, which allows transport planners to make better decisions about how and where to place bicycles and hubs. Huddart told Heaven that the next step will involve gathering anonymous data from bicycle users in order to better understand how people are using the bicycles, which could further aid in planning.

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