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Jan242012

Could Twitter be used to help design smarter transit routes?  

Eric Fischer, a software engineer for Google by day, map and art aficionado by night, has created artistic visuals of the Twitter location demographic.

Using Twitter’s API (application program interface), he collected thousands of geotagged tweets and created a visual representation (thicker black lines means more people passing down that particular street) of the most tweeted streets of New York, Chicago, and San Francisco – which ended up looking like a desire path, or a path developed by erosion.

Fischer has done similar projects, like his race and ethnicity maps collection, where Fischer told the University of Chicago that he, “knew Chicago was a segregated city, but I didn’t know a lot of the details of how it was segregated [.] [...] [He] was surprised by the huge extents of the areas dominated by one race or another and the sharpness of the boundaries between these areas.”

With the Twitter location based maps, Fischer was able to make some interesting conclusions about each city’s transportation system, and whether or not they accommodate to where people are actually going.

In San Francisco Fischer was able to tell in San Francisco, “Telegraph is the street most neglected by existing rapid transit infrastructure,” and “BART does nto do a very good job of serving the most promising corridor in Berkeley and North Oakland...needless to say, if this were to be constructed, it would have to be pretty much entirely in subway to avoid tearing down the neighborhoods it would need to serve.”

Fischer’s statistical designs could be beneficial to transit systems planning on investing millions of dollars into new routes, and people are already inquiring the maps be made into prints (we want one, too!).

(via fast co-design

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