Last week, I launched a new version of the ‘Dashboard’, making it available for eight schemes across the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.
Like any dashboard, the objective here is to give people a quick overview of how the scheme is currently performing, and to place that information in context. This is intended to serve as a jumping off point for further exploration of the nature of the scheme.
All data on the dashboard automatically updates every minute on the minute to reflect the live status of the scheme. The following information is displayed:
- The current distribution of bikes
- The net change per station over the last half hour, to indicate the current ‘flow’ of bikes
- A breakdown of stations which are empty, full, closed, and ‘okay’ i.e. open with bikes and free slots.
- A breakdown of bike status, categorising them as in transit, in a dock, and – if the scheme facilitates this – outside a dock and available for use.
- A population distribution of stations expressed as a histogram bucketing stations by their stock of bikes.
- Scheme histories across three metrics: Utilisation, Bikes in Transit, and Empty/Full station counts.
For several of the diagrams in the dashboard, an ‘Explore’ button is provided on desktop devices to allow users delve deeper into the statistics over time.
A Note from the Author
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The dashboard is intended for viewing on larger devices, as this is the platform which best serves desk-based data exploration. Nevertheless, an attempt has been made to render the dashboard in a pragmatic manner on different screen sizes, supporting different views for desktop, tablet, and phones.
The dashboard is rendered as follows on desktops:
On smaller desktops or tablets, we get the following alternative view:
And finally, on phones we get the most restricted layout:
Live Bike & Station Status Breakdowns
These are the simplest charts and simply plot the allocation of bikes and stations:
.. in some schemes – Glasgow for example – there is the facility to leave a bike undocked in a public place after using it. These are counted as ‘undocked’ bikes and included accordingly:
The station population histogram reflects the distribution of bikes in stations. On the x-axis is the number of available bikes in stations, grouped into buckets depending on the size of the scheme, and on the y-axis is the number of stations with that number of bikes in them. In a well-balanced scheme, this would be bell-shaped. In poorly balanced schemes, the tails of the histogram would be large.
This plot indicates which stations are gaining and losing bikes over the last 30 minutes. In concert with the live map, this gives a user an understanding of not only where the bikes are, but how stations are changing. The plot has been done using Mercator projection so that station positions look the same as in the live map, regardless of latitude (Google maps uses this projection too). Each station in the plot is represented by a circle, and the colour ranges from red, indicating stations are gaining bikes, to blue, indicating they are losing bikes. The intensity of the colour is normalised according to the maxima/minima of the range of gains and losses across all stations.
This is new to the dashboard, and simply provides an overview of where the bikes are in the scheme. Again, each station is represented by a circle, and the content of the circle is a function of the number of bikes in a station. Blue indicates bikes, and white indicates free slots. Black stations are closed. An ‘explore’ button is provided on tablets/desktops which directs to the live map page, (now in glorious widescreen if you’re interested!).
In schemes with the capability to leave bikes undocked, these bikes are represented as green circles:
There are various metrics by which a scheme evolves over the course of a given day, including bikes in transit, bikes in stations, undocked bikes (if possible) and utilisation. Utilisation is the percentage of bikes which are estimated to be in transit at a given moment as a proportion of the total number of bikes. All of these metrics are available in three diagrams:
Each diagram concerns itself with subsets of these metrics: Utilisation as one, Bikes as another, and Stations as the last subset. The displayed metrics can be chosen using the metrics dropdown. When viewed on large screens, an ‘explore’ button is provided which allows full-screen exploration of the figures:
You can roll back over different time-periods using the dropdown beside the time label:
For total control over time selection, a ‘custom’ option is also provided allowing the selection of an arbitrary date range:
That just about wraps up the dashboard folks – I hope it proves useful! Go and have a go and let me know what you think!