Special Report: Open Public Data

Video: HSR Bus Movements Over a Day

This short video maps the movement of HSR buses throughout the city over an average day.

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 25, 2014

this article has been updated

Matt Grande, a software developer who volunteers with Open Hamilton, has produced a strangely beautiful short video using GTFS data from the HSR's scheduled transit feed to map the movement of buses through the system over one day.

Each dot corresponds to a bus, and each second of time corresponds to 13.5 minutes of real time.

Naturally, you can access the source code he used to produce the video.


Update: this article originally stated that the video was made using realtime transit data. It actually uses scheduled transit data. RTH regrets the error.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By mattgrande (anonymous) | Posted November 25, 2014 at 09:14:23

Slight clarification, Ryan: This was made using the *scheduled* data, not the realtime data.

Thanks for the post, though!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 25, 2014 at 09:41:41 in reply to Comment 106446

Thanks for the correction! I've updated the article.

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By Greg Reader (anonymous) | Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:33:17

Far too much empty space in the bottom third of the video. Need better connections between the lower city and the mountain, and more mobility on the mountain.

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:55:12

As a regular HSR user, the first thing I'd like them to address are the overcrowded buses on particular routes at particular times. For example, the Delaware 5 heading into downtown; they need articulated buses in the mornings and late afternoon, both ways. Ditto for the Barton 2 and the University 51. (The situation for Mac riders is both shamedil and embarrassing.) Before new routes are even considered, I'd like the HSR to improve the effectiveness of these routes (and others). If they can't properly take care of what they currently have, then they have no business expanding. This may not sit well with residents in other parts of the city, but when it comes down to it, fares on these routes essentially support theirs.

Riders on these routes aren't looking for state-of-the-art comfort, or a reduction in travel time. They're looking for a more humane journey. (And I have to point out that this is entirely independent of LRT.)

I'd like to see equal amounts of energies and consideration given to conventional HSR service as had been afforded the LRT discussion.

Or, in the words of that Heinz Beans kid from a commercial waaaaay back in time:

"More HSR, please."

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:44:25 in reply to Comment 106450

I agree with Adrian on this one. First of all, because bus service shouldn't suck; secondly, because If conventional HSR transit sucked less, people who don't currently use transit very much might be more open-minded about LRT.

The last two times I tried to use the 3 Cannon bus it came several minutes early and drove past me within sight of the bus shelter despite my frantic waving. Yeah, I'm really going to try that again. And I'm probably on the lunatic fringe in terms of my commitment to using modes of transportation other than a private automobile.

The dilemma is going to be how to distribute resources between the King/Main corridor (which has a much higher quality of service than other routes, but still doesn't serve its users well at peak hours) and more lightly-used routes (which currently provide a very low level of service, but would provide less bang for the investment buck).

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By MattM (registered) | Posted November 25, 2014 at 20:19:03 in reply to Comment 106450

An order of articulated CNG buses is coming next year, exclusively for use on the Barton route in addition to replacement and expansion 40 foot buses over the next 2 years.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 26, 2014 at 02:12:17 in reply to Comment 106456

That right turn off John street is going to be hair-raising.

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By Fake Name (anonymous) | Posted November 25, 2014 at 15:14:44 in reply to Comment 106450

I assume the Delaware route is too winding to use articulated buses.

If the city is serious about LRT, BRT, or even making HSR just not *suck* they need to go hardcore on the current B-line route. Every route should be re-examined for how it interacts with the B-line, and B-line buses should go every 5 minutes.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted November 25, 2014 at 12:46:42 in reply to Comment 106450

"The situation for Mac riders is both shamedil and embarrassing....when it comes down to it, fares on these routes essentially support theirs."

IIRC, a U-Pass guarantees eight months of unlimited transit service for the cost of 50 adult cash fares.


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By KevinBrowne (registered) - website | Posted November 25, 2014 at 12:06:14

Very cool visualization!

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted November 26, 2014 at 15:40:33

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By huh? (anonymous) | Posted November 27, 2014 at 05:29:49 in reply to Comment 106459

more trips, more cars, more roads, more more more and where does the money come from?

So typical for the site give us more more more and never a consideration of paying for it.

car travel in Hamilton and in fact almost all North American cities is a losing proposition. If costs are hiked even a little, there is always a drop off of driving and the city subsidizes WAY more than half the cost already.

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By igit (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2014 at 21:57:11 in reply to Comment 106459

Lol at yourself, again. Idiot.

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By you (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2014 at 21:55:30 in reply to Comment 106459

Trying to separate your unfortunate views (tantamount to lies and distortions) from you as a person. Clearly your views are unhelpful insofar as they can't possibly be out of sincere concern for the good of people, but hope that at least you as a person are helpful to somebody somewhere.

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By Fake Name (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2014 at 17:49:15 in reply to Comment 106459

> and where does the money come from?

A massive chunk comes from the 2 and 5 bus-lines that move a gigantic number of paying customers. Those particular routes are quite profitable because they're connecting through very dense communities.

Transit is not a losing proposition. Suburbia is.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted November 26, 2014 at 15:46:05 in reply to Comment 106459

more roads, more highways, more cars, more more more, and where does THAT money come from?

Comment edited by MattM on 2014-11-26 15:46:20

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By Charles Ponzi (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2014 at 19:00:42 in reply to Comment 106460

Don't worry! More sprawl will pay for the infrastructure deficit of the existing sprawl!

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By CATCH (anonymous) | Posted November 27, 2014 at 23:01:30

hamiltoncatch.org/view_article.php?id=1316

The new city council inherits the slowest growing transit system in the province which has recorded drops in ridership in four of the last seven years. Councillors are arriving with lots of election promises to improve the HSR but also saddled with a quarter-century tradition of refusing to increase transit funding.

Yearly provincial surveys put Hamilton far behind other large municipalities in ridership growth with only a 3.1 percent gain in the last eight years. In the same 2006-2013 period, Brampton recorded over 90 percent growth, Durham and Waterloo regions over 50 percent, and even St Catharines climbed nearly 11 percent despite the latter city losing population.

Mississauga is up 25 percent since 2006 and earlier this month opened the first segment of a $460 million bus rapid transit (BRT) system that will cover 18 km by its completion in 2017. Both the federal and provincial governments provided some financing, but nearly 70 percent is being covered by Mississauga residents who are already obtaining faster annual transit growth than Hamilton has achieved over the last seven.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted November 27, 2014 at 23:39:10

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 28, 2014 at 13:48:43 in reply to Comment 106468

http://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/road...

"Motor vehicle collisions generated $18 billion in social costs in Ontario in 2004. Fatalities in those collisions were the largest single contributor to social costs at $11 billion. Also significant were the costs of injuries, at $4 billion and property damage at $2 billion. "

Total cost of building and maintaining roads in Ontario: $8.3 to $11 billion.

So, just counting the cost of collisions and roads motor vehicles cost $19 to $29 billion each year in Ontario. And that doesn't include other negative externalities like health costs due to air pollution, congestion, sprawl and green house gas emissions.

How much net benefit does the car industry provide to Ontario (don't forget to subtract all the direct subsidies and tax breaks on oil exploration)? Is it significantly greater than $19 to $29 billion?

For example, http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/4...

"Chrysler and General Motors received $14 billion from the federal government and Ontario to rescue their Canadian operations. They also benefited from $1.5 billion in project-based subsidies provided jointly by Ottawa and Ontario since 2004 to support new investments and bolster research and development initiatives. In addition, the United States government invested significantly in the Big Three, purchasing shares in Chrysler and General Motors and injecting billions into the automotive industry.

Yet, despite billions in direct assistance, loan support and tax relief, Canada's automotive industry has been declining steadily in the last decade."

And, more importantly, if money were not spent on cars, it would be spent on something else. There are lots of successful countries with zero automotive industry (e.g. Australia, which just lost its last plant http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on...

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-11-28 13:52:54

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted November 29, 2014 at 23:15:28 in reply to Comment 106477

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By too much math (anonymous) | Posted November 28, 2014 at 14:56:24 in reply to Comment 106477

this math has been done many times over for this guy but he just shuts it out and appears weeks later with the same tired argument. he's not worth the time and energy

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By sdrawkcab (anonymous) | Posted November 28, 2014 at 12:52:46 in reply to Comment 106468

you have this entirely backwards

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