Visualizing the dynamics of London's bicycle hire scheme

Wood, J., Slingsby, A. & Dykes, J.

Visualizing flows between origins and destinations can be straightforward when dealing with small numbers of journeys or simple geographies. Representing flows as lines embedded in geographic space has commonly been used to map transport flows, especially when geographic patterns are important as they are when characterising cities or managing transportation. However, for larger numbers of flows, this approach requires careful design to avoid problems of occlusion, salience bias and information overload. Driven by the requirements identified by users and managers of the London Bicycle Hire scheme we present three methods of representation of bicycle hire use and travel patterns. Flow maps with curved flow symbols are used to show overviews in flow structures. Gridded views of docking station location that preserve geographic relationships are used to explore docking station status over space and time in a graphically efficient manner. Origin-Destination maps that visualise the OD matrix directly while maintaining geographic context are used to provide visual details on demand. We use these approaches to identify changes in travel behaviour over space and time, to aid station rebalancing and to provide a framework for incorporating travel modelling and simulation.

Citation and full paper:

Wood, J., Slingsby, A. & Dykes, J. (2011). Visualizing the dynamics of London's bicycle hire scheme. Cartographica, 46(4), pp. 239-251.