Bus movements in San Francisco animated

Posted to Maps  |  Nathan Yau

Eric Fischer has been having a good bit of fun with maps lately. In his latest, he animates movements of the San Francisco MUNI (that’s their bus system) over the month of June 2010. Each second of in the video represents about an hour in real life.

As you might expect, traffic dwindles during the late/early hours from midnight to four in the morning. Then like clockwork, it picks up again. My knowledge of San Francisco geography has always sucked, so maybe a local can point out some of the interesting areas. If my orientation is correct though, that main street that runs from southwest to northeast and seems to stay lit through the night is Market.

This of course is reminiscent of Stamen’s Cabspotting, but much more raw, without any trails or ghostly footprints.

[Thanks, Laurie]


  • Great animation!
    BTW: Max Kossatz made a similar animation for the transportation agency “Wienerlinien” of Vienna, Austria: http://wissenbelastet.com/2009/09/22/visualisiert-24-stunden-wiener-linien/

  • “Each second of in the video represents about an hour in real life.”
    It is rather 25 minutes….

  • Also of interest:

    – top right corner where a bus runs halfway across the bay bridge, around Treasure Island, and back to downtown SF.
    – top left corner is the Presidio (a big park) with only a couple buses turning around there.
    – intense white squares are parking facilities where buses are stored while not in use.

    • actually the top left corner is ft miley and part of the ggnra (not the presidio). up until about 7pm a 38 geary bus serves ft miley (home to the sf va medical center) three or four times an hour.

      the treasure island stuff was the first thing i looked for …

      the heavy diagonal line starting at the top right and travelling down and left (until it becomes a squiggle) is market street … market street divides north and south (more or less). in the center of the map about 0.5cm apart you see two north-south streets … the one on the left is divisadero, and the one on the right is fillmore … both important north-south corridors for muni.

      the heavy north-south line in the center left of the map is 19th ave, another important north-south corridor.

      the topmost part of the map that lights up (except for treasure island in the upper right) is where the golden gate bridge begins. afaik, no muni busses traverse the bridge–only golden gate transit busses travel on the bridge.

  • Nice visualisation. Actually came across UK plane and London taxi plots on a bbc website today, e.g.


  • Great tip Nathan. I posted the Cabspotting link.

  • Here’s something similar done a couple years ago for Toronto:


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