I wish I could see the images on the article.... they seem to be broken currently.
"Areas in blue are parts of town that are overwhelmingly the source of trip origins. Areas in orange are predominantly destinations:"
(This is for NYC, with mostly Manhattan in the image.)
I can see SOMETHING in the images, but nothing that has anything like information.
I think the author's point was that in an ideal world arrivals and departures balance out geographically (and the color would be uniform).
As it is bikes pile up in some areas and disappear in others over the course of a day. This in turn means that the bikeshare system has to truck bikes around to even things out.
I should note that in Paris the system changes prices dynamically (well, by giving bonus minutes) to give riders the incentive to move bikes around on their own. I have no idea how well this works in practice.
Mostly it's showing that some areas are residential and others are commercial, and that people commute from one to the other. This would be more obvious if the animation were a lot slower, and if the time of day were represented graphically, say with a sun image moving along one edge during the course of each day shown. Maybe then you could see if there were any patterns layered on top of that.
I suppose it would be helpful for bike share systems if residences and businesses were both distributed uniformly over a city. But we didn't really need a bunch of poorly designed flashy graphics to learn that.
I think it makes a lot more sense if you're from NYC and actually know where the bikes are going, but it's probably obvious. Like I imagine in Pittsburgh it would be people going downtown and to Oakland, but outside of the city, people wouldn't understand what that meant.
sigh. You should actually read the article, it makes more sense in context. Here's a slow one.
In this GIF, parts of town with the greatest concentration of activity – this includes people taking bikes and dropping them off – light up over the course of the day:
The earlier gif makes the point that the hotspots are not local.
Note: I don't actually care, I was just trying to help @Benzo...
Your image also is broken. It might work for you since you visited the site and your browser cached it. Mine did not, so all I see is broken image links. That or my work blocks the site, which I think is the case now, since it's a dropbox link.
I wasn't expecting an article from washington post to host their images on dropbox. Weird. I can see it on my phone now.
The images worked for me before I visited the site. I'd say either your work blocks the site, or else your browser has some problem with large (3-6 MB) gif images.
I imagine WaPo doesn't host the images because this is just a post on one of their blogs, not an "official" article.