These maps track the movement of transit vehicles in various cities over the course of 24 hours.

If you are interested in transit maps and abstract kinetic art (maybe that’s a small confluence of people?), this may be for you. I pretty much love it.

The videos, which come from the STLTransit channel on YouTube, track the movement of transit vehicles in various cities throughout a 24-hour day, generally from 3 or 4am until the next 3 or 4am, and display the action in exactly two minutes and 24 seconds each. Many are color-coded for different types of vehicles (some show ferries as well as buses and trains) and you can either just enjoy the patterns, which are mostly set to music, or watch closely to see the changes in activity in a region over the course of the day. The one for New York looks like holiday lights in motion.

  New York City:

  San Francisco:

Washington:

Vancouver:

Los Angeles:

Chicago:

The videos were created by the software development firm Sumus. Their YouTube site explains:

This channel presents movies related to public transit, in particular movies of transit activity. These movies are created from General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data made available by numerous transit authorities.

The movies are based on timetable schedules, where each point represents one vehicle. The colors used are part of the GTFS data, and where they are not specified default to white. In some cases specified colors may be changed to ensure sufficient contrast.

The STLTransit channel includes lots more from additional cities. While you’re at it, check out NRDC’s own sustainable communities video channels on YouTube (180 videos and growing) and Vimeo (69 videos and growing). Lots of good stuff on each.

This post originally appeared on the NRDC's Switchboard blog.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Maps

    The Map That Made Los Angeles Make Sense

    For generations in Southern California, the Thomas Guide led drivers through the streets of Los Angeles. Now apps do that. Did something get lost along the way?

  2. a photo of the Eiffel Tower with the words "Made for Sharing" projected on it
    Life

    How France Tries to Keep English Out of Public Life

    France has a long history of using official institutions to protect the French language from outside influence. Still, English keeps working its way in.

  3. Life

    Staying Afloat on an Island of Wealth

    Each summer on Martha's Vineyard, year-round residents and seasonal workers struggle to find affordable housing amid the island’s luxury real estate.

  4. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×