Travel graphs as shown below, can also be used to show the change in speed over time. For example, the graph below shows a cycle accelerating at a steady pace from rest to 20 m/s, it which point it continues as a constant speed for 15 seconds and then decelerates to a stead stop
Finding acceleration from speed-time graphs
The acceleration is calculated by dividing speed by time. Therefore the gradient = acceleration.
A zero gradient means that there is no acceleration.
Finding distance from speed-time graphs
The distance travelled is calculated by finding the area below the graph.
In the example above, the area is calculated using the formula to work out the area under a trapezium. Therefore:
Area = 0.5(15 + 40) x 20
Area = 550m