The bike sharing programs that have been a staple of some parts of Europe for years is currently sweeping the U.S., driven by enthusiastic commuters looking for a more affordable way to travel around the city. Now this surging trend has been pushed into the world of data science thanks to a new interactive map experiment that tracks the usage patterns of these new programs.
Using data culled from New York City's Citibike and Washington, D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare bike sharing programs, O'Reilly data journalist Jon Bruner was able to develop a visual representation of how the sharing programs are being used in the two cities. On each map, the availability of bikes at a particular station is represented by a darker hue, with the darkest coloring indicating a bike station with a full supply of bikes and a white hue indicating no bikes available.
Each station point on the interactive map includes the intersection address as well as a visual location indicator that can be accurately coordinated with a normal map of the areas. What instantly jumps out is that there are certain parts of the cities that experience no change in color at all, hinting that those stations may need to be moved to areas with more need.
According to Bruner, when you look at the animated bike sharing data in aggregate "both cities look like they're breathing—inhaling and then exhaling once over the course of 12 hours." You can check out the interactive map here.