Does it make sense to represent service intensity as as heatmap? Is the result at least cool to look at? Xavier Jacques Côté, a programmer the Québec open-data advocacy group Capitale Ouverte, gave it a try with his hometown, Québec City.
More on the origins of this map, and other cool things Xavier did, in French here.
Hat Tip: David Duval, Ville de Québec.
Interesting. It seems that the heatmap is for stops, not for lines. So a higher density of stops would result in more heat, even though the number of buses passing is the same.
This type of map could easily show a grid of twice-an-hour routes spaced at 400 m as superior to a grid of four-times-an-hour routes spaced at 800 m. For example, it could easily make New Westminster’s poorly designed grid look superior to Vancouver’s well-designed grid.
A transit heat map should show increasing heat with increasing accessibility to other destinations in aggregate. That’s a calculation-intensive problem, though. It requires assigning an importance to most potential destinations in the region, calculating for each location the time to access those destinations (which varies over the course of the day and week), then for each location summing up for each destination the importance divided by the access time.
Walkscore made heatmaps based on total transit frequency (plus a 1.5 to 2.0 multiplier for streetcars and trains) within walking distance of each address, and then compared to population in each area to make a new transit score ranking for the top 25 largest cities: http://blog.walkscore.com/2012/04/new-ranking-of-transit-systems/
The ranking is a little questionable, because they use city boundaries instead of metro areas, and secondly because there are no points for speed, reliability or usefulness of service. But the maps are nice.
Funny, I came up with a similar thing for Boston a couple months ago,
Each “hit” is a bus that passes a stop on a typical weekday, based on GTFS data, so it is susceptible to the problem mike0123 mentioned. Perhaps I should multiply each by the frequency of the service, e.g. a vehicles/minute metric.
. . . And notice how cold the airport is. . . the only bus route service the airport has something like two runs in the morning peak and three in the afternoon. . . otherwise it’s expensive taxis.
The Quebec Map seems to follow very well the high frequency routes in the RTC system.