VIDEO: Animated Maps Make Bike-Share Trips Hypnotizing

Bike sharing systems, that offer fleets of bikes that can be rented from various stations around a city (for a small fee), have exploded. In 2004, there were 13 bike sharing systems around the world. There are now almost 900, and as this map shows they are a worldwide phenomena.

And while there is terrific information on bike sharing systems and programs, they have never been used as a way to illustrate the cities in which they reside. Until now.

Using GPS data from the bike-share systems in London, New York City, and Berlin, Till Nagel and Christopher Pietsch have compiled a visualization of each cities bike-share program that illustrates each city itself.

Nagel and Pietcsh landed on these three cities since they offer GPS data on where bike were checked out and returned, which allowed them to represent to total traffic of each bike-share program.

As bike share programs proliferate and gain popularity, it will be interesting to follow their impact on traffic, safety, and city livability.

According to a report titled, “Bikeshare: A Recent Literature Review,” by Elliot Fishman, bikeshare reduced vehicle kilometers traveled in all but one city worldwide. Bike share riders are also less likely to be injured in a crash than private bike riders despite being less likely to wear helmets.

But when it comes to bike-share usage, convenience is by far the most important factor, so the onus remains on system operators to have enough stations in relevant places stocked with bikes to continue to growth of bike shares worldwide.

But in the meantime, we can all revel in the videos of tiny streaks of light shooting across a map. Wouldn’t it be great if all bikes did that?