Where do all the hire bikes go?

So much of our understanding of the city — its areas and their relationships and divisions — have been determined by the traditional motorist’s road map.  (London is luckier than many cities because its river and tube lines also help define its structure in people’s minds.)

In this visualisation of the hire bike movements on Oct 4, an alternative map of London appears, and really lights up at 5pm.  Some of the Road Atlas routes appear — Holborn-Cheapside, the Strand, and Charing Cross-Totenham Court Roads — but in place of the Euston Road is a new highway through Torrington and Tavistock Places; Piccadilly is replaced by Constitution Hill and Birdcage Walk; and a north-south artery from Cubitt Street down what looks like Packenham Street, Phoenix Place, Warner Street, Saffron Hill and Shoe Lane to Blackfriars Bridge.*

Politicians and planners need to start thinking about the city from the perspective of maps like these.  The great green and orange scrawls of the Road Atlas are increasingly irrelevant.

* though I’m not actually sure how accurate the routes are, given start and end points are recorded, but as far as I know, the exact places in between aren’t.

(Via Matt Brown.)

4 thoughts on “Where do all the hire bikes go?”

  1. -it’s not clear how well tracked the boris bike movements are; unless they have GPS or tracking, all you can tell is pickup and dropoff (time, location) values; routes between them are guessed

    -TfL are also starting to publish some anonymous oystercard data; would be interesting to see if you could correlate the two, tube + bike, or even just see the stats on the pickup and dropoff points, are they train or tube stations, and if so, which trains and tubes have just arrived -this tells you where the riders are coming from.

  2. What would be interesting, would be the number of people who make the jump from hire bike to their own bike. Will Barclays be offering bike specific loans?

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