bike toronto

This Toronto professor made an animation of every Bike Share trip in 2020

While Hanno Rein is usually analyzing data about stars and other planetary systems at the University of Toronto, in his spare time he decided to take a look at something a little more down to Earth: Bike Share Toronto trips. 

"I'm a cyclist myself and the perfect data set was available, so decided to play around with it," he told blogTO.

What he created was a fascinating animation of all the trips people took using Bike Share Toronto last year. 

You can see the little dots zooming across the screen in and out of the downtown core. It's mesmerizing. 

Last year people took almost 3 million bike trips around the city, a figure that Rein wasn't expecting to be so high. 

"I was shocked just by the pure number of trips. It was something I was not fully aware of – the constant stream of people using it – even in the winter," he said. 

And Rein didn't stop at just the number of trips – he ended up digging a bit deeper into the numbers and he found some pretty interesting correlations.

For example, as the temperature drops trips get shorter and faster and most of the bike trips follow the road grid. 

He also discovered that the average trip is 1.62 km long and lasts about 14 minutes.

Other people also started seeing patterns in his data. 

"People seem to see all kind of patterns in the animation. They see when the pandemic started, the rise [in users] in the summer, and the expansion of the network east," Rein said. "They're able to recognise patterns some I didn't see myself."

One thing a lot of people noticed were the slow moving dots.

Rein clarified that this is likely because a bike broke down or wasn't returned properly. He doesn't really think anyone is riding a bike for 10 days. But you never know!

Either way it's cool to see how much the city loves cycling. 

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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