As Chris McDowall rode the Auckland Public Transportation system in his home of New Zealand, he often imagined how all the busses, trains and ferries would appear carving their daily path from above. He would try to visualize the varied trajectories of each vehicle as they zig-zagged through the complex network… and it’s no surprise that he admits, “after a few moments I would get hopelessly overwhelmed and go back to reading my book.” Thankfully for McDowall and the rest of us, Auckland Transport published its Google Transit Feed data to MAXX, giving all the information needed to create an animated visualization of the network over a typical busy Monday.
Writing his own software to create the animated map, McDowall used the spreadsheets to track bus, ferry and train traffic represented with different colors: buses (teal), ferries (blue) and trains (red). The animation begins at midnight showing some sparse airport shuttle traffic, but soon the scene explodes into action at the 6am commute.
McDowall notes some points of interest:
- The steady pulse of the Devonport Ferry.
- The speed at which buses hurtle down the Northern Motorway’s new bus lanes.
- The interplay between buses and ferries on Waiheke Island.
- The sheer mind-boggling complexity of the system.
Thanks to My Ninja Please for the heads up on this great visualization! We recommend watching it in HD.
McDowall’s first version of the map, before adding color to the different vehicles.