Bike Share Visualization Lets You See Your City In A New Light

Bike Share Visualization Lets You See Your City In A New Light

The mapping project allows observers to compare urban mobility in London, New York and Berlin

Lauren Kirkwood
  • 6 september 2016

A project out of the Urban Complexity Lab at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, cf. city flows is a visualization of urban biking that examines mobility in three cities—London, New York and Berlin—by looking at the bike sharing systems in those differing environments.

As more cities aim to promote methods of transportation that don’t put as much strain on the environment as roads clogged with vehicles, the cf city flows project helps curious observers compare how different cities are faring when it comes to their residents’ ability to move freely and quickly without hopping in a car or grabbing the bus.


One of the goals of the project is to allow users to consider the similarities and differences in bike sharing across several urban environments—differences that often reflect the range of urban infrastructure seen in major cities.

To drill down to the logistics of what the project offers, it’s essential to consider the three different viewing modes for each map.

There is a citywide view (first image below), which shows the collected trajectories of all trips taken by bike-share users in a given day, while a station view shows only the trips taken to and from a selected starting point. The station view (second image) also allows the user to differentiate between incoming and outgoing trips. Finally, a third mode shows “space and time patterns” for three specific stations, allowing for the visual separation of incoming and outgoing trips, as well as morning and evening (or afternoon) trips.


Users of the tool can toggle between the different viewing modes, and all three screens, each representing a different city, show the same time of day and have the same scale. Since each bike is not equipped with a GPS tracker that would allow the project to map the bike’s exact route, the trip paths show up on the maps as the calculated optimal bike routes between starting and ending stations.

cf. city flows

+bike share visualization
+new york
+Potsdam University of Applied Sciences
+Urban Complexity Lab

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