How the capital commutes: London map shows the flow of cars and bikes on city streets
Many of London’s streets are highly polluted and this harmful air is said to contribute to thousands of deaths each year. At the heart of the problem is the vast range of vehicles on the capital’s roads.
You can plot exactly where your delayed train is on these mesmerising junction maps
As this traffic passes around London, and all across the UK, the Department for Transport (DfT) collects and counts data for connections between roads. Now, this data has been turned into an interactive map showing which areas of London are used by different vehicles.
Created by University College London senior research analyst and data scientist Oliver O’Brien, the map gives a snapshot of the city’s rush hour traffic between 8 and 9am. It highlights traffic recorded at Class A road junctions, and each circle represents the number of each type of transport passing through that area at that time of day.
Bicycles, motorbikes, cars, buses, vans, lorries and other types of vehicle are recorded by the government department. When clicked, each circle opens a breakdown of the vehicles recorded at that junction.
While not a surprise, the map indicates that the closer to the centre of London you travel, the more likely you are to encounter a diverse range of vehicles. Around central London, bikes are counted far more often than in the outskirts of greater London.
“15 years worth of data is included – although many recording stations don’t have data for each of those years,” O’Brien said in a blog post.
He added that despite the data being available for across the UK, he decided to visualise London due to its diverse traffic. He also developed the map from an older version, which only contained data for one year. The DfT data was then added to this base-level map using Here.
“DfT’s road link level traffic estimates are calculated using a variety of methods, with some methods likely to produce more accurate estimates than others,” the government department said. The DfT has also put the traffic junction data on its own interactive maps.
O’Brien’s map is the latest to use open data to show a different perspective on cities and environments around the world. In the UK’s capital, Transport for London has its own traffic alert maps, for example, that show the status of the city’s streets.
Elsewhere, every single crime that is expected to take place in London was recently forecasted in a map that uses data from the Metropolitan Police.
You can also track where your delayed train is with a set of immensely detailed National Rail maps.