Oyster Card tidal flow and London’s polycentres
Oliver O’Brien from UCL CASA has posted a visualisation which illustrates the daily bidirectional flow of commuter traffic. No real surprises – the flow is biased towards central London during the morning peak, and out of London during the evening peak.
As the animation moves forwards in 10-minute intervals during the typical weekday, the balance between touch-ins and touch-outs is shown by a colour scale. Red indicates the great majority of taps are touch-ins, and green indicates mainly touch-outs. White is the ‘neutral’ colour, indicating that roughly as many people are entering the network as leaving it, at that period in time.
Additional research from UCL CASA confirms that this commuting flow isn’t directed towards a single locale in central London, however:
The patterns revealed by Professor Batty and Dr Kang’s study show how complex such city centres actually are – London contained no single centre, but instead has around 10 ‘polycentres’ that interlink in complex patterns.
They identify eight such polycentres:
- Western Stations: The area around Paddington station
- West End: An area bordered by Marylebone Road/Euston Road to the north, Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross Road to the east, Shaftesbury Avenue and Piccadilly to the south, and Bond Street and Baker Street to the west
- Northern Stations: The area around Euston, St Pancras and Kings Cross stations
- City: The City of London, plus the area around Old Street station, and extending south of the Thames to the area around London Bridge station
- Docklands: The area around Canary Wharf and Canada Square
- Mid-Town: The area around High Holborn and Covent Garden, bounded by Chancery Lane to the east and Leicester Square to the west
- Parliament: The area around the Palace of Westminster and Trafalgar Square
- Government: The area around Victoria and St James’s Park
- Museums: The area around Exhibition Road and South Kensington tube station
- West London: The area around Hammersmith tube station
via Chris Applegate.