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London Cycle Flows: A Sociable Physics Animation

By February 3, 2011 2 Comments

The animation below details the real-time behaviour of hire bikes in London on October 4th 2010, the day of a major tube strike, and the busiest day for the scheme to date.

Departure times and journey durations are real; routing is calculated from OSM data; average speed from journey duration and route length.

London Hire Bikes animation from Sociable Physics on Vimeo.

In the visualisation, the fixed circles represent stands – when a stand flashes red, it means that one or more bikes have left it – and a yellow flash means a bike has arrived. The bikes themselves are represented by the Boris Barclays Blue Tadpoles whizzing around – leaving at the right time, travelling at their correct average speed, and taking a (generally) realistic route.

The movie was created by Martin Austwick of Sociable Physics, here in CASA with the help of Ollie O’Brien (again CASA) for collection and routing.

We are a bit biased on such work, here at digital urban, but its great….


Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.


  • eAi says:

    What are the routes? I assume you don’t have that data?

  • sbmkvp says:

    Sexy work. If i assume the routes are created using the shortest cycleways possible, this whole thing can be used to estimate the volume and hence congestion that can happen at each cycleway with respect to time in the study area. This in turn can be used to make decisions on the infrastructure development needs in terms of cycleways.