web analytics

— urbantick

Time of Day – The London Bike Hire Scheme

For only three weeks the London Bike Hire Scheme is in operation and so far it seem to be rather well received. The 6,000 Barclays (sponsor) bikes, which have arrived in London are parked at 315 stations dotted across the centre of the capital. An initial map is available through the TfL website.

It give basic infos such as no available bikes and no of available parking spaces. The scheme is based on the concept that people can hire a bike at one station, ride it through the city and park it at another. This means the bikes are in a constant rotation around the city. In this sense both these infors, no of bikes and no of parking spaces, are essential for the functioning and comfort of usage.

As a data source this has obviously inspired data and mapping enthusiasts from different London universities to, on one hand improve on the visualisation and on the other to start analysing the data.
One of the mashup maps is developed by Oliver O’Brien from CASA. The visualisation was already covered by the Londonist, the Telegraph and other blogs such as spatialanalysis.

Image taken from suprageography / Mashup map showing the status of each London Bike Scheme docking station. Yellow border line indicates a station as full, clicking on a dot reviles the bottom left usage graph over the past couple of hours.

It shows the parking locations as dots indicating with a red-blue colour scheme the status of the docking station. In real time one can follow how hundreds of bikes migrate through the city. This is obviously tightly linked to the routines of the bike users and as O’Brien note on the blog seems to be mainly determined by the working pattern. This suggests that a lot of working people in the city are actually switching and using the scheme already for everyday use.

In a graph based visualisation Aidan Slingsby form City University in London is working with the same data, focusing on the trend of usage per station. Each graph compares the current to the previous day.

Image taken from gicentre / Graph visualisation showing the status of each London Bike Scheme docking station. The list is ordered by distance from, as input in the right column.

In a timeLapse copmiled from screenshots O’Brien and Chechire show the dinamics in a 24 hour day of the London Bike Hire Scheme. Quite nice how the dots change the colour over time and viualise the daily migration.


  1. Michael says: 2010-08-1507:33

    mike rubbo

    We are watching Boris's Bike Share with great interest In the meantime, we are going through a highly charged drama concerning Australia’s first attempt at Bike share

    Melbourne, has had a bike share scheme going for almost three months now with the rather dull name of, Melbourne Bike Share. (I'd like to the bikes called: Mixis)

    London and Melbourne are both using Montreal’s Bixi bikes designed by Michael Dallaire and manufactured in rural Quebec, a great coup for the province.

    MBS, for short, is nothing like London in Size. It’s the same size as Dublinbike, give or take a bike or two, but whereas Dublin reports stunning usage figures, as does London in its early days, MBS limps along with about 70 rentals a day for the 400 bikes.

    The reason, clear to everyone except those who run MBS, who press on in hope, is that you can’t legally ride a MBS without a helmet, and they are not, cannot be, supplied.

    Everyone warned the RACV, the motoring group behind the bikes (suspicious?) that MBS could not work.

    Now, much more is stake than the sad sight of docking stations full of unused bikes. (see film)

    We have rightly seized upon this situation, to dramatize something which hitherto never got traction outside bike forums, and that is how our compulsory helmet law warps and stunts our cycle culture in toxic ways

    Nobody cared before because the opinion setters in our cycle world all wear Lycra, love their helmets, and will tell you’d be mad to go even a yard on any bike in any situation without a helmet, so dire, so dangerous, (and inherently so) is cycling.

    That sort of nonsense has ruled the roost till now. But as the excellent safety stats. come in from Dublin and Montreal, where for example, Bixis, the famous Montreal share bike, clocked up 3.5 million kms. with only five minor accidents in their 2009 season, some are saying that Emperor has no Lycra.

    Hopefully, with the help of our pointing, and your interest, things will come to a head, and our very sensible suggestion that MBS bikes be exempted from compulsory helmets, at least on a trial basis, will be taken seriously.

    At the moment, local denial has RACV spokespeople confidently predicting the opposite, that the rest of the world (that is 135 helmet free share bike schemes around the globe) will follow our lead, i.e. you’ll be forced to wear helmets on pain of fine, well before we budge an inch.

    I guess if we don’t see signs of the tide turning pretty soon over your way, we’ll be sending over ambassadors of fear, grim skeletal figures with smashed helmets, to explain how satisfying it is to fear cycling.

    More of this on my blog http://situp-cycle.com.

    And here’s the key film; Melbourne Bike Share in Trouble?


    Mike Rubbo

  2. admin_urbantick says: 2010-08-1519:32

    Thanks for your extensive comment. It is great to hear about experiences from around the world.

Submit comment