December 23rd, 2011

Tracking Luxembourg’s bike system

Google map overlayed with graph data

In the spring of 2011 I contacted the city of Luxembourg regarding obtaining data on their city bike share system, named vel’oh!, in order to use the data with the students I taught GIS to in the fall of 2011. Unfortunately no students showed interest in the data. I however dove into the data and did all sorts of spatial analysis and determined trends, statistics and visualizations to better understand the data. I was really only scratched the surface. With over 70 bike stations in the city, each one provides large possibilities for analysis. With my supervisor we met with the data donor from the city and presented our findings. During this meeting he asked me whether I thought certain stations required more bike locks/docks. Typically a station has 15-30 bike docks. The data I had could not address this question but I knew how to find the data in order to answer the question.

The velo.lu website provides data on each station’s geographical coordinates, number of bikes present, number of spaces to park a bike and the total bike capacity. Retrieving this data at set intervals I am able to build a history of the number of bikes at each station. I am extremely happy with the result. It allows real-time tracking of each station as well as a clear and simple history. You can zoom into individual days to get a better idea of at what time bikes tend to get withdrawn or deposited. The data record only reaches back a week currently and it’s Christmas in two days so the trends may be anomalous relative to the regular commuting schedule. As the data builds up this web application will become even more interesting. My main discovery so far from analyzing the data is how little the vel’oh! system, except at a few stations, is unfortunately used. I love Luxembourg’s vel’oh! system, hence my passion for performing my earlier analysis and creating this analysis application.

Enough already, let’s see the application!

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