In 2010 Transport for London (TfL) introduced a bike sharing scheme in an effort to reduce traffic and pollution. For the scheme to work, users needed the service to be reliable and dependable. In this instance this means that bikes had to be available from a docking station when they wanted to start a journey, and there had to be a space for their bike in a docking station at their destination. Therefore the location and size of each station is fundamental to the success of the scheme.
But how do you know where to put the stations, and what size to make them, when the scheme has never operated before? At the start of the scheme, this was determined by analysing pedestrian and transport flows, supported by market research. Obvious locations for docking stations were just outside mainline railway stations, such as Waterloo and Kings Cross, to make bikes available for people arriving into London. But inevitably this lead to some frustration by users, when bikes or docking spaces were unavailable.
From the outset TfL recognised this as a challenge, so they decided to do something rather clever. They made it possible to track and record every time a bike was taken from a rack and returned to one. This allowed them for the first year of the scheme to analyse the 5 million journeys made by users. All which have been visualised into a single video infographic, which has enabled them to refine and ‘balance’ the system more effectively.
Source: The Economist