DataVis

The rhythm of the road: Monitoring bike traffic across the city

Fabian Dinklage (@fdnklg) | 11/09/2018

Since 2015, cycle traffic has been recorded automatically throughout the city with the aid of counting stations embedded in the road. The Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment provides the current data daily for each hour in the form of an Excel table.

We aggregated the data and converted it into the machine-readable JSON format. The visualization illustrates the traffic volume of the 26 bicycle counting stations within Berlin.

What does the Visualization show?

The visualization shows annual, weekly and daily driving patterns. The "web chart" (also called radar charts) of a given bike counting station summarizes 8760 entries per year (representing each hour of each day) and visualizes them. The data from each station can be displayed in four different levels of detail: weekdays, weekends, whole weeks, and whole months. Median- and maximum values can be read off in each display. This allows hourly, daily and weekly driving patterns to be read.

By hovering over individual months/days/hours, absolute values are displayed in a tooltip corresponding to the chosen time.

Hourly view (weekdays / weekends)

During weekdays, the number of bike riders tends to peak during the morning commute, roughly between nine and eleven. For the remainder of the day, the number of cyclists is more evenly distributed. On weekdays between one and six o'clock in the morning, there are usually hardly any bicycles on the road. By selecting a scale based on the individual maximum values, the patterns can be even more clearly distinguished.

On weekends the number of cyclists is more balanced and there are fewer spikes in the volume of traffic, as most Berliners have the flexibility to organise their time more freely.

Weekly view

In the weekly view, the data clearly show that on average the most bikes are on the road from Monday to Friday and that there is less use of bikes on weekends. The data shows that in most cases the motivation to use the bike seems to be highest on Tuesdays.

Monthly view

The seasonal pattern shows that most cyclists are on the move in June and August. In July there is usually a decline; this could be due to the summer holidays, which usually fall in this period. Between November and March the cycle paths are used only little. The fewest cyclists ride in January, presumably due to the weather.

Project on Github Cyclists data, Berlin
Dataset on GitHub
Fabian Dinklage

About the author

Fabian Dinklage

Fabian Dinklage is a student assistant at the Ideation & Prototyping Lab of the Technologiestiftung Berlin in the field of Visualization & Prototyping. He is currently studying interface design at the FH Potsdam. His interest lies in the transformation of data into visual structures for gaining new insights and the development of important human-machine interactions.