The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Time-lapse video depicts a day in the life of Metro

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It’s unlikely that many riders would find beauty in Metro’s rail and bus maps. But a new time-lapse video depicting a day in D.C. transit strips away all of the stations, stops, crowds and congestion to find something  ethereal and hypnotic.

This video shows Metrorail, Metrobus and D.C. Circulator activity on a weekday, spanning a 24-hour period beginning and ending at 4 a.m.. This gives viewers a chance to see the systems and the region slowly lumber to life, achieve a recognizable form and slowly fade away.

It was uploaded by YouTube user STLTransit last month. That account also posts other movies of transit activity, so you can see similar visualizations for New York, Chicago, Manchester and others.

Metro makes its transit data publicly available using Google’s Transit Feed Specification, which allows agencies to share stops, routes, trips and other information with developers. (Here’s a list of participating transit agencies.)

The video was originally spotted by DCist and InTheCapital.