Bike Share

Washington DC Storm – Bike Share Shutdown

Washington DC’s Capital Bike Share is shutdown tonight because of another snow storm there.

On my bike share map, red circles have appeared around all the docking stations, indicating they are locked down to prevent new journeys starting.

With the Montreal, Denver and Minneapolis systems closed for the winter, none of the major North American bike shares are operating right now.

Bike Share Data Graphics London

Barclays Cycle Hire – Extending East

Alexander Baxevanis, maker of the excellent free Cycle Hire Map app for the iPhone, has obtained a list of 227 proposed sites for the eastwards extension (and expansion of the existing area) of the Barclays Cycle Hires scheme through a Freedom of Information request on MySociety’s What Do They Know. Unfortunately TfL didn’t provide the exact locations of the proposed new docks, rather just the street names, or occasionally junctions.

I have taken the list and geocoded it – using Google Maps and Google Fusion Tables as a first pass, then manually geocoding the 40 or so that failed using OpenStreetMap data.

Red dots show the proposed new locations, with yellow dots showing the existing stands as of January 2011.

You can download the locations from the Google Fusion table here or view a larger version of the map here. See the FOI response for the source data set.

Very important caveats: Because the names are often only street names, the “dot” representing the new dock is placed fairly arbitrarily along the street – in reality, the actual location may be quite far along the street from this place. Consider that these locations are simply my guesses. Also, it is really important to emphasise these are the proposed locations – TfL has not yet started the planning process or consulted with the councils/residents yet. It is likely that quite a few of these will not actually be built, or will be relocated elsewhere, come later this year or early 2012 when the expansion goes live.

Along the way I discovered a number of curiosities, such as:

  • the official name for College Green – the bit of grass outside the Palace of Westminster where MPs are often interviewed – being Abingdon (or Abington?) Street Gardens.
  • a street that has just been born (photo) and doesn’t appear on any public web maps except OSM (now).
  • the various “marketing” names for the new residential skyscrapers appearing around Canary Wharf, such as Streamlight, Ability Place and Pan Peninsula.

Indeed, many of the proposed sites are outside these large new residential blocks, and also outside many of the DLR and train/tube stations in Tower Hamlets – unlike the initial launch of the scheme, there seems to be no shying away from placing stands right next to the stations, where commuters are likely to be piling onto them.

(I was very impressed with Openlayers/Canvas heatmaps the other day, so the first picture above is a heatmap showing dock density, for the fully extended scheme. The background for that picture is OpenStreetMap.)

Bike Share London

The Most Popular Bike Share Routes in London

Following on from my map of all the first million or so bike routes, Here are the most popular bike share routes in London, based on flow data for August, September and October 2010.

Weekdays – the map below shows where there were more than 200 journeys (in either direction) in the weekdays during the period. The line thickness grows by one pixel for each 100 journeys:

Flows here are dominated by commuters going to/from King’s Cross station to Bloomsbury, and Waterloo and London Bridge stations to the City. A short hop to Notting Hill Gate station, in the far west of the scheme, is also popular, as is the Broad Walk route through Kensington Gardens.

The top 5 weekday journeys are:

  • Finsbury Circus, Liverpool Street Newgate Street, St. Paul’s
  • Queen Street, Bank Concert Hall Approach 2, South Bank
  • Turquoise Island, Notting Hill Notting Hill Gate Station, Notting Hill
  • Lexham Gardens, Kensington Wright’s Lane, Kensington
  • Holborn Circus, Holborn Concert Hall Approach 2, South Bank

Weekends – the map below shows where there were more than 50 journeys in total (in either direction) in the weekends during the period. The line thickness grows by one pixel for each 50 journeys:

The parks – Hyde Park and Regent’s Park in particular – are much more popular at the weekends, as is Angel and London Bridge. Docks around the British Museum and the Museum of London are also popular. The City itself is, as expected, virtually dead at weekends for Bike Share users.

The top 5 weekend journeys are:

  • Black Lion Gate, Kensington Gardens Palace Gate, Kensington Gardens
  • Hyde Park Corner, Hyde Park Black Lion Gate, Kensington Gardens
  • Warwick Avenue Station, Maida Vale Clifton Road, Maida Vale
  • Turquoise Island, Notting Hill Notting Hill Gate Station, Notting Hill
  • Westbourne Grove, Bayswater Turquoise Island, Notting Hill
Bike Share Data Graphics London Mashups OpenLayers

The First Million London Bike Share Journeys

Thanks to a FOI request from Adrian Short, Transport for London have recently released to their developers area details of 1.4 million bike share journeys. The data is believed to include all the journeys between 30 July 2010 and 3 November 2010, except those starting between midnight and 6am.

I’ve created a map which visualises these journeys – select a docking station and a time, and it will show the journeys that start/end at that dock, depending on the options chosen.

You can see the map here. On launching the site, an initial docking station – one outside Waterloo station – is selected, and an “interesting” timeframe is chosen – the morning of 4 October, which was a day impacted by a tube strike.

Heavy usage along the Broad Walk through Kensington Gardens, particularly at weekends:

The predominant flows from a docking station near King’s Cross station, in weekday mornings, are outwards (red lines), particularly south towards the river. Only a few inbound journeys happen (blue lines):

The reverse is true in weekday evenings, as commuters head back to the stations:

The map bears a resemblance to my live Barclays Cycle Hire scheme status map, as I’m reusing a lot of the same code and graphics.

Bike Share

Italian Cities on the Bike Share Map

I’ve added in eight Italian cities to the list of bike share schemes on my live map. Joining Milan (Bikemi) are Rome (ATAC), Cagliari (Bicincitta), Genova (MoBike), Parma (Punto Bici), Brescia (Bicimia), La Spezia (Speziainbici), Bergamo (Bigi) and Torino (To Bike). Vienna (Citybike) in Austria is also included once again, following contact with the operators there.

Bike Share London

Waiting for the Data

An interesting article on Transport for London (TfL) data has appeared on the London Data Store blog from Anthony Browne – the Greater London Authority’s Policy Director for Economic Development. The article announces the return of Trackernet, the live feed of tube train locations.

TfL must be commended for working on restoring this feed and making it freely availably, particularly as their national counterparts, National Rail, are apparently busy locking down departure board data and insisting on being paid a fee every time someone queries departure information for the (publically subsidised) trains through an app! TfL has made the feed available as part of a redesign and enhancement of their developer area, which also includes a sample (5%) of Oyster card journey data for November last year, potentially very interesting for visualising and analysing how London moves. The enhancements also include moving Trackernet to the cloud so that it scales well with heavy usage.

However, the article is incorrect as it says “…I wouldn’t have found a free docking station in Shoreditch without the bike hire apps that are made possible (at no cost to the public) by the simple expediency of TfL publishing the cycle data. ”

Unfortunately, the cycle data published by TfL wouldn’t have helped – the TfL data available through the developer area/APIs simply is a static list of docking stations, with locations and maximum capacities. The near-live information, used by the apps in order to show full/free status, can only be obtained by regularly “scraping” the HTML source code from the official Google map mashup of the scheme, on the TfL website, or using a third-party API that does the same, such as the excellent BorisAPI. Should TfL decide to redesign their map, there is every chance the coding changes would break these unofficial feeds, simultaneously breaking all the apps, and other cycle visualisations, such as my own. The developer community still awaits an official API for the near-live information, such as is available in Rennes.

On the topic of forthcoming data from TfL, I am also eagerly awaiting the release of the first one million bike share journeys, that has been promised as the result of a freedom of information request.

London is certainly going forwards, as quickly as the rest of the country is going backwards, in terms of opening up public travel data, but we’re not there yet!

Bike Share

Bikes, Strikes, Snow and Ice

It’s been a challenging week for the Boris Bikers of London. Friday/Saturday/Sunday were very cold, but dry, days. Then Monday there was a tube strike, meaning many more occasional bike share cyclists would be on the streets. On Tuesday came the snow finally – it wasn’t settling on the streets of the city, unlike further north, but there was plenty of it coming down, and a strong wind made it a quite unpleasant day to be on the bike. Yesterday was a bit more pleasant, although there was some ice around and ongoing general travel disruption, while last night there was more snow, lying this time and causing more transport problems, particularly for the commuters.

The weather has been affecting outer London transport more than that in central London, so the time the Train+Bike commuters make it in has shifted back in the morning – but no such displacement happens in the evenings, as the transport problems don’t hit them until they finish their bike journey and try and get a train.

Some interesting usage patterns appear on the graph below. The graph shows the number of available spaces, the change of which is a good indicator of the number of Boris Bikes coasting around the streets.

Day Peak Morning Usage Peak Afternoon Usage Max No of Bikes In Use Special Events
Friday 26 November 08:52 17:52 599 Cold
Saturday 27 November N/A 12:54 201 Weekend
Sunday 28 November N/A 15:28 281 Weekend
Monday 29 November 11:34 18:20 1143 Tube strike
Tuesday 30 November 08:40 18:14 518 Snowing
Wednesday 1 December 11:50 18:24 735 Icy
Thursday 2 December 08:54 N/A 442* Snowing and Icy

* Based on morning rush-hour figures only.

(N.B The Bikes in Use measure is approximate, as it doesn’t take into account new docking stations added in the same day – there have been several recently – or bikes marked as faulty, which in the current weather conditions is likely to be a significant number.)

The computer system has also been struggling, with a big outage on Friday night and Wednesday morning, a blip at around 7am each day, and some other smaller outages. The system is presumably being upgraded at the moment for the imminent introduction of “casual” (i.e. non-member) hire, and the weather can’t have been helping with the electronics either.