BODS 7 May

#BODSisBeautiful City Visualisations

The #BODSisbeautiful series of visualisations is all about making people aware of the incredible volume of data within The Bus Open Data Service (BODS). It’s also about showing how data visualisation and geo-animation can be used to help understand public transport.

This series of data-animations turn SIRI-VM feeds into beautiful, slightly abstract, depictions of mobility within city centers.

Throughout the visualisations we have evolved our style subtly to showcase the data in increasingly beautiful ways, whether that is draping the busses across 3d terrain or giving them tails to emphasise the direction of movement.

Each visualisation shows 1-2 hours of activity in the given city, the busses (spheres) increase and decrease in size with their respective start and end times, creating a smooth organic view of mobility.
















Our Newcastle visualisation introduced a new concept for analysing the density of busses at any one point in the visualisation. This dynamic approach utilised illumination and colour to signify the level of bus density; brighter lights show a high level of busses in close proximity to each other whilst the darker spheres show busses that are less dense in terms of their proximity to each other.


One of the … Longest and Loneliest Buses in BODS

Our analysis of proximity in the Newcastle dataviz naturally led us to wonder if it was possible to find England’s loneliest bus. The below video goes some way to answering this question which the following caveats:

  • The ‘3-hour window’ was decided on due to the intense calculations needed to iterate through each journey and find its average proximity to another bus. Each route was isolated and for every x interval, a calculation was made to find the ‘nearest’ bus at that time. If orange dots are the bus routes in question blue dots and lines indicate the proximity to the nearest. This took a while to process for the thousands of routes.

  • At scale that gave us a lot of data to sift through, the average ‘distance to nearest bus’ was taken for each route but we also factored in route length, so the data table was sorted by ‘(length * 0.5) + (av dist * 0.5)’ giving each metric an equal weighting in importance.


So the SDVN Bus Route 6 route came high on that list and therefore is ‘One of the… Longest and Loneliest Busses’ (in BODS, in England)