There's a lot of potential for animation of Google Transit data, and we're just starting to see it explored. Some results will be rich with information, differentiating various kinds of service so that you can see how they dance together. Chris McDowall's animation of a day's transit in Auckland is less informative but correspondingly more meditative. Buses, trains and ferries are all rendered as earnest little tadpoles (or comets, or sperm, or viruses, depending on your sense of scale).
(An animated map of Auckland's public transport network from Chris McDowall on Vimeo.)
It nicely illustrates the point that frequency is what makes a route into a line. The line that goes really solid during the peak is the Northern Busway, which is far more frequent than any of Auckland's rail lines.
UPDATE: Commenter "numbat" points out that on the island at the east edge of the image (Waiheke Island) you can see local island buses pulsing with ferries that link the island to Auckland's CBD.
interesting! if you focus on the eastwards island, you can see the buses ‘pulsing’ in time with the ferry arrivals and departures.
pretty impressing video
Speaking of Auckland, do you know how ambitious the rail electrification plan is? Are they planning to turn the line into a very high-frequency Cityrail-style line, or just a slightly higher-quality line than today?
Alon. Not sure what you mean by "very high frequency Cityrail-style." If you're referring to Sydney Cityrail, the frequencies are quite variable, though they do approach the line capacity of CBD segments during the peak. I think Auckland intends something similar.
Joshua Arbury's Auckland Transport Blog will have the details.
@Alon. Auckland’s probably aiming for a slightly lesser-quality line than today if Auckland is to do as well as Wellington did yesterday. They cut peak service frequency at the same time as reducing the number of carriages, at the same time as opening service to another station, Waikanae.
Ridership went up 7% on the first weekday served by the new station. However everyone seemed to end up dissatisfied. http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/4685496/Extra-carriages-put-on-trains
Alon: Electrification will not allow significantly increased frequencies, as the amount of trains that can access Britomart are limited to around 20 per hour by the fact that trains must terminate there, the flat junction providing access to the 5 platforms, and signalling requirements.
The CBD rail link, which is currently under consideration, will allow trains to run through Britomart and therefore increase capacity to (I think) a maximum of around 40 trains per hour in each direction (allowing for flying junctions, signalling improvements, and separate tracks for freight and intercity services, not all of which are part of the current plan).
More information here (appendix f especially) or on Jarbury’s blog: http://www.aucklandtransport.govt.nz/improving-transport/current-projects/Rail/Pages/CBDRailLink.aspx
Ahh cities: food for the ants 🙂
That video is like the circulatory system.