Bike Share Route Fluxes

Capital Bikeshare, the bike sharing system for Washington DC and Arlington, recently released the data on their first 1.3 million journeys. Boston’s Hubway bike sharing system also released journey data for around 5000 journeys across an October weekend, as part of a visualisation competition. Both these data releases sit alongside London’s Barclays Cycle Hire scheme, which also released data on around 3.2 million journeys made during the first part of last year.

Taking together all these data sets, I’ve used Routino and OpenStreetMap data to suggest likely routes taken for each recorded journey. This same set of data was used for Martin Zaltz Austwick’s excellent animation of bikes going around London streets. I’ve then built another set of data, an node/edge list, showing how many bike sharing bikes have probably travelled along each section of road. Finally, I’ve used node/edge visualiser Gephi and its Geo Layout plugin to visualise the sets of edges. The resulting maps here are presented below without embellishment, contextual information, scale or legend (for which I apologise – unfortunately this isn’t my current primary work focus so my time on it is restricted.)

For the two American schemes featured here, I have set the Routino profiler to not use trunk roads. Unlike most UK trunk roads, American trunk roads (“freeways”?) appear to be almost as big as our motorways, and I expect you wouldn’t find bikes on them. Unfortunately there are some gaps in the Washington DC data, which does show some cycle-lane bridges alongside such freeways, but these aren’t always connected to roads at either end or to other parts of the cycle network, so my router doesn’t discover them. This means that only a few crossings between Virginia and Washington DC are shown, whereas actually more direct ones are likely to be also in use. The profile also over-rewards cycleways – yes these are popular but probably not quite as popular as the distinctive one in the centre of Washington DC (15th Street North West) showing up as a very fat red line, suggests. The highlighting of other errors in the comments on this post is welcomed, I may optimise the profiler (or even edit OpenStreetMap a bit, if appropriate) and have another shot.

London:

Washington DC:

Boston:

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18 thoughts on “Bike Share Route Fluxes

  1. Great maps, Ollie!

    The 15th Street cycletrack in DC might be over-emphasized, but it does indeed draw a lot of biking from adjacent streets, in my experience.

    You’re right about river crossings. It looks like the Key Bridge is the only bridge that shows up as a non-freeway. The Memorial Bridge, which connects the Lincoln Memorial to Arlington Cemetery, and the 14th Street Bridge, the one that carries I-395, both have bike paths which are fairly well used. I expect a lot of the trips especially from Crystal City in the south to DC will use the 14th Street bridge path in particular.

  2. Looks to be unrealistically low traffic volume on Pennsylvania Ave, which is the “other” big segregated cycletrack in town.

  3. The TR Bridge also has a bike crossing. And it looks like it leaves the 11th Street and South Capital Bridges across the Anancostia off too.

  4. Also in DC, D Street NW/NE between Union Station and the Capitol is, I suspect, massively over-weighted. I ride across it from time to time, and have never seen anywhere enough fellow cyclists to indicate that it would be such a heavy route.

    I suspect that this is a case where people are using all of the unmarked pathways through the Capitol grounds to move from Northwest to Southeast, but the only way your router captures these is along D Street.

    Also conspicuously missing are the various paths along the western half of the National Mall and around the Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, and now MLK memorials, which people, tourists in particular, traffic heavily during sightseeing months. The difficulty capturing these is that many of these trips are deliberately taken via a roundabout path.

  5. Another problem with DC (sorry, it seems like we’re all from there) is the de-emphasis on Columbia Road between 14th Street and 18th Street NW. Instead, there are a number of little northward jogs that I suspect were instead trips on Columbia.

  6. Also from DC here. Aside from excluding freeways, there’s also the issue of excluding popular vehicle-free zones like the Capitol Grounds, National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue/E Street in front of the White House. These invisible zones result in de-emphasizing the Pennsylvania Avenue cycletrack and East Capitol Street bike lanes, which in my experience are extremely popular with bikeshare users.

  7. Hello, Oliver,
    I’m from Brazil and I’m interested on bike data… about São Paulo and Porto Alegre. Is it possible to get tabulated data of bike docks (how full/empty they are) comprising a long period? (a month, a year)
    I appreciate or attention!
    And your work, of course! ;D
    King regards, Bárbara.

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