Transport usage in Beijing

5am 7am 9am 11am 1pm 3pm 5pm 7pm 9pm 11pm 1am 3am train taxi subway car bike bus walk

Microsoft's Geolife project collected GPS trajectories over a period of 5 years (Apr-2007 to Aug-2012). Each user carried a GPS device, and covered a distance of over 1.2 million kilometers over 48,000+ hours across ~18,000 GPS trajectories.

This is a set of visualisations showing how the mode of transport usage changes during the hours of the day.

4am - 7am

Early in the morning, there is little movement in the city. Most people are either walking, or taking the bus. Between 5am and 6am, there is a gentle spurt in the number of bus users, but this rapidly drops in favour of walking between 6 - 7am.

7am - 9am

During the morning commute, people move out into the streets en masse. Walking is still the primary mode of transport. However, the use of bus declines while the use of bikes increases considerably. We also see the use of trains drop to almost nonexistent. Subway usage starts seeing a strong increase

9am - 11am

The morning commute subsides down to the regular work-hour commutes. Walking still dominates, but we see bikes becoming more popular at the expense of buses. The use of the subway declines during this phase.

11am - 4pm

During this time, traffic remains quite steady. Walking, biking and the bus are the primary modes of transport, though there is a gentle increase of the use of buses at the expense of biking. The use of subways and trains continues to be minimal.

4pm - 9pm

The evening commute back home begins at 4pm, and reaches a peak at 7pm. The use of trains and taxis increase in the evening, with a decline in bus usage as well. Walking continues to remain a primary mode of transport.

9pm - 12am

Late night traffic continues strongly until around 11pm, and then sees a steady drop. A strong change in pattern of traffic usage emerges at this point. Taxis are heavily used in favour of busies. Bikes become even more popular during the late nights. Train traffic also surges around this time.

12am - 4am

From 12am to 4am, there is almost no traffic on the streets. The few people that are travelling mainly use bikes or walk. The use of trains and buses rises significantly towards the end of this period, around 4am. Walking, on the other hand, shows a steady decline.