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Interactive map visualises the huge increase in cycling across London in recent years

Joseph Delves
20 Mar 2017

A researcher at University College London has created a map cataloguing 15 years worth of the capital’s morning commutes

A geographer and data scientist based at the UCL Department of Geography has produced an interactive map showing the change in modal share between different types of transport across the capital over the past 15 years.

'My latest London data visualisation crunches an interesting dataset from the Department for Transport,' explained Oliver O'Brien, the creator of the map and a member of the university’s Geospatial Analytics and Computing Research Group.

'The data is available across England, although I’ve chosen London in particular because of its more interesting traffic mix.'


Click map to see in detail 

Focusing on statistics collected from the height of the morning rush hour, between 8am and 9am, the interactive map allows users to gain an insight into how commuters traverse the city.

Bringing together information gathered from hundreds of different recording stations dotted across the capital, it also makes easily accessible data showing how the composition of traffic has changed over the years.

Taking Southwark bridge as an example, the map shows a fairly paltry 141 cyclists an hour crossing the bridge during an average morning in 2002. However by 2015 this number had ballooned to 1,037.

Over the same period the average number of cars making the crossing fell from 526, to 183 per hour.

Covering bicycles, motorbikes, cars, buses, vans and lorries, an alternate mode for the map allows users to quantify the change between two individual years for a given type of transport.

Doing so reveals the extent to which cycling has taken off in the capital, with several areas showing increases in cycle traffic of as much of 500% over the years spanning 2000 to 2015.

An expert in visualising spatial and socioeconomic data, O'Brien’s previous work has included a global map showing the current status of the 165,200 different bikes that constitute the world’s many bicycle sharing programmes.

Both it, and his more recent examination of London’s daily morning commute, can be found on his website: oobrien.com

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