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. a photo of a WeWork office building
    Life

    What WeWork’s Demise Could Do to NYC Real Estate

    The troubled coworking company is the largest office tenant in New York City. What happens to the city’s commercial real estate market if it goes under?

  2. A man walks under elevated roads.
    Perspective

    Why Do Micromobility Advocates Have Tiny-Demand Syndrome?

    In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

  3. A Chicago police car.
    Equity

    The Great Crime Decline Is Over in Some Chicago Neighborhoods

    Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods saw a crime decline, but recently, their violent crime rates have rebounded while other areas continue to improve.

  4. a photo of Candi CdeBaca
    Life

    The Rise of the Democratic Socialist City Council

    Members of the Democratic Socialists of America have been elected to local office on platforms that reject capitalism and promote working-class interests.

  5. a photo of cyclists riding beside a streetcar in the Mid Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California.
    Transportation

    San Francisco’s Busiest Street Is Going Car-Free

    A just-approved plan will redesign Market Street to favor bikes, pedestrians, and public transit vehicles. But the vote to ban private cars didn’t happen overnight.

×