[A final word on my cycle hire visualisation - which you can see here.]
James has posted a video showing how the colours (i.e. bike usage patterns) changed during Wednesday – a typical day with good weather (so high usage) and sharply defined rush hours. The video shows one hour every second and starts at midnight (so look out for the main changes at 9s and 18s in.)
Another quirk is a characteristic move from red to purple of several stations overnight (i.e. in the first 5s of the video) in the northern edge of the zone, i.e. around Angel, travelling from east to west. A redistribution vehicle at work?
Today’s evening rush hour is showing quite a different pattern – a much less pronounced spike in usage, spread out over a longer time interval. This is probably because of the rain showers this afternoon and correspondingly damp roads, but possibly because Thursdays are traditionally team drinks nights in the City for many people, and so people will either be delaying the journey home, or deciding not to take the bike at all after a few drinks (not a bad idea really.) Certainly I’ve noticed a large difference in the numbers of people spilling out of the traditional City drinking dens on Thursday (and to a lesser extent Friday) evenings, compared with Monday-Wednesday.
Aidan’s sparklines, showing yesterday’s data as grey lines and today’s in orange, show this lag effect strikingly.
Neal Lathia, a research fellow here at UCL alerted me to a study carried out on usage patterns of a very similar scheme in Barcelona – even the dock numbers and scheme shape match London – clustering and categorising docking stations based on their usage patterns. Their method of data capture is also very similar to what I’m doing and the resulting dataset should lend itself to an equivalent categorisation in London. Things will only get more interesting when “casual” (i.e. non-registered) users get access to the scheme, which may happen next month, and new user types, such as foreign tourists, get involved, and the seasons (and weather) will also probably play a part, as different user types have different levels of willingness to use the system based on daily conditions.
The BBC’s Tom Edwards has an interview with the operators of the scheme, which includes at one point a screenshot of the internal (Google-maps based) map used by them to see what docking points are on their way to becoming full or empty.