Velo-citizen: Oliver O’Brien

The first winner of a free conference package has been identified. It is Mr. Oliver O’Brien, researcher at The Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London. We asked him a few questions to introduce Mr. Oliver O’Brien as one of the lucky winners – the Velo-citizens – receiving a free attendance to Velo-city 2013 in Vienna.

Velo-city 2013:
How did you hear about the Velo-city 2013 conference?

Mr. Oliver O’Brien:
I was at the Velo-City 2012 conference, presenting a paper on mapping bike-sharing systems with Russell Meddin and Andrea Beatty.

Velo-city 2013:
What made you sign up for the Velo-city 2013 conference that early?

Mr. Oliver O’Brien:
I enjoyed Velo-City 2012 a lot – there were many interesting talks from presenters from across the world, many of which focused on bike sharing systems, which are a research interest of mine. I wasn’t around for the full conference for Velo-City 2012 so I missed out on some of the best parts – such as the cycling parade event. So I was already looking forward to enjoying the complete programme of Velo-City 2013!

Velo-city 2013:
The main themes of the 2013 Velo-city conference will be: Cycling Cultures, Cycling Cities and Cycling Benefits. In which sense are these conference themes related to your own interests?

Mr. Oliver O’Brien:
Cycling Cities – London, my home city, has invested in new cycling infrastructure recently, but it has not been without its problems. Seeing how other cities are progressing should be enlightening.
Cycling Culture - There is also a distinct cycling lifestyle culture that has developed in some parts of London – Old Street and Broadway Market, notably. It will be interesting to see how other cities have developed such micro cultures.

Velo-city 2013:
What comes to your mind when you hear the term “Cycling Cultures”?

Mr. Oliver O’Brien:
The behaviours, dress codes and journey patterns of people who use bikes as their predominant form of transportation in their home city, and how they create their own identity.

Velo-city 2013:
What is your research about? And how does it relate to the Velo-city conference?

Mr. Oliver O’Brien:
My research is in visualising and analysing spatial data, particularly in a city context, and making such visualisations available to a general audience. Often, the most visible and accessible data is transport-based, and as a cyclist myself, I am most interested in data on this particular mode.

Some insights into Oliver O’Brien’s research: The image above shows the locations of the Barclays Cycle Hire (bicycle-sharing system) docking stations in London. The colours represent how empty or full the docking stations are at a given moment in time.

Velo-city 2013:
Do you have some first thoughts about Velo-city 2013? What do you expect from the conference?

Mr. Oliver O’Brien:
I look forward particularly to hearing the experiences and insights from operators that have launched new bike sharing systems in the year leading up to the conference.

Many thanks to Oliver O’Brien for this interview and the insights into his work. You can find out more about Mister O’Brien’s work on his personal website.