A look at Boston's public transit, operating in real time, on Thursday May, 14. Screenshot from TRAVIC

An open-source, animated map features 249 global mass transit networks.

A German university student has developed a fun new tool for visualizing public transit in a more system-oriented way.

Transit Visualization Client, or TRAVIC, takes public data from 249 transportation networks, across five continents, and puts them onto one, animated map. The only caveat is that some data point movements correspond to schedules, not real-time realities, so think of it as a quasi-utopia of uninterrupted transit. Here’s a shot of a Washington, D.C. Red Line train making its way toward Metro Center earlier this week.

(screenshot from travic.geops.ch)

Aside from offering a broad look at the movements of global transit networks, TRAVIC offers a unique opportunity to analyze how these systems work. Take Melbourne for example:

This is the city’s downtown CBD during morning rush hour. The red dots represent train cars, the yellow are trams, and blue are buses. You’ll notice how ubiquitous trams are. That’s because Melbourne boasts the largest urban tram network in the world. More, the map showcases how trains are a peripheral means of getting around Melbourne’s highly pedestrian City Square neighborhood. Liam Mannix, writing about the map for The Age, a local newspaper, explains how the three transit methods operate co-dependently.

Trains run quickly on huge, gently-curving routes. Trams chug along in huge numbers. Buses seem to scurry through the city's backstreets, reaching places heavy rail never can.

North Melbourne, according to Mannix, serves as a major transfer station for the city. Below you can see how buses and trains intersect at the Footscray station.

Here’s how other transit systems from across the world were running on May 14, 2015.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

(travic.geops.ch)

Mexico City, Mexico

(travic.geops.ch)

London, U.K.

(travic.geops.ch)

Manhattan, New York

(travic.geops.ch)

Frankfurt, Germany

(travic.geops.ch)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Passengers line up for a bullet train at a platform in Tokyo Station.
    Transportation

    The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations

    The nation’s famed mastery of rail travel has been aided by some subtle behavioral tricks.

  2. Equity

    What Is Loitering, Really?

    America’s laws against lingering have roots in Medieval and Elizabethan England. Since 1342, the goal has always been to keep anyone “out of place” away.

  3. Equity

    What Will It Take to Desegregate Chicago?

    A new report offers a roadmap to inclusive growth.

  4. Life

    The Top Cities Americans Move to—and From—For Work

    Most of the top cities are the usual suspects, but there’s something odd happening in Silicon Valley.

  5. A man sleeps in a doorway in downtown Portland, Ore., on Sept. 19, 2017.
    Equity

    A Healthcare Giant Enters the Battle for Cheaper Housing

    Kaiser Permanente is pledging $200 million toward fighting homelessness and building more low-cost housing in eight states, plus D.C.