A video animating London bikeshare trips on the day of a Tube strike has become a standard staple for anyone showing off the fruits of open data. Now, thanks to open trip data for Capital Bikeshare, MV Jantzen animated our system for Sunday Saturday, November 20

19, 2011:



Jantzen writes:

The bikes don’t have GPS transmitters on them, so all we know is the data for the start and end of each trip. Thus, all dots are shown moving in straight lines. The speed of course doesn’t correspond to the rider’s actual speed, since we don’t know their routes, or whether they paused for stops along the way. ...

The CaBi data includes whether the rider was a casual or registered user, depending on whether the rider’s membership was for a month or longer. The movie shows casual users with dots that fade from green to yellow. Registered users are represented with dots that fade from blue to purple. A histogram on the right records the number of bikes in use at each moment.

The movie excludes the 210 trips that began and ended at the same station. 63% of these “round trips” were made by casual users. (Casual users made up 32% of the other trips.) You will still see some dots that appear to be stationary, but they are actually moving very slowly, representing people who go far, far beyond the 30-minute time limit for free trips.


It would be interesting to see one for a weekday as well. We know weekdays look very different from weekends.

Update: Jantzen realized that the original video used data from November 20, 2010, not 2011 as he originally planned. He has now updated the video and the new video is in this post. You can also still see the original video. The new video shows data for Saturday, November 19, 2011.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle.