Should you bike or take the subway to work today? In your early morning haze, a well-rounded decision would involve glancing out the window and/or checking the weather forecast and looking up the current subway status on any one of the numerous devices you keep near your bed. Instead of taking the multiple steps to ensure the proper transportation decision for the day, this ‘Bicycle Barometer’ simplifies the process into one single step.
Designed by Richard Pope, the Bicycle Barometer pulls in publicly available local weather and subway data and points towards the day’s best option, a symbol of a bike or the London Underground. The Barometer takes into account information like tube station closings, line delays, and weather conditions that could affect a biking commute to inform its decision. If it’s pouring rain, the barometer will point to the tube; sunny, the bike. If it’s drizzling but the nearest tube line is experiencing delays, the barometer will lean slightly towards the bike. The barometer weights the different factors to make its decision- Pope doesn’t go into much detail about the decision algorithm, but he does mention that the ‘tube station being shut trumps everything.’
The Bicycle Barometer is a hacked clock that uses a Nanode to connect to three data sets: the Met Office’s Datapoint API, Transport for London’s line status, and station status API. While not everyone can (or wants) to bike to work, the framework and design has potential for other binary decisions, as anything with a publicly available API could be put into the barometer.
Watch the Bicycle Barometer in action below: