Posts Tagged ‘visualization’

Metrorail Rider Incomes – A Closer Look

June 29th, 2015 2 comments

Salaries of actual riders are needed to paint a true picture of Metrorail ridership by line.

The Washington Post recently featured a series of images from the You Are Here project of the Social Computing Group at MIT showing Metrorail median income by line and station.  We were digging into it and realized it uses median household income within a half-mile radius, and not that of the actual riders.  While we’ve mapped low-income riders before, we set out to answer the question, “What is the actual average income of Metrorail riders by line and station?”   Along the way, we developed this interactive data visualization.

dashboard

Screenshot of Metrorail rider income by station visualization. Click image for full interactive version.

The biggest overall difference between our work and that of the MIT group is higher incomes at end-of-line stations on the eastern side of the region.  These stations, while located in lower income areas, have large parking facilities that draw commuters from all over the region and beyond. Read more…

Where Are Those Rail Riders Going?

May 12th, 2015 4 comments

Ever wonder where rail riders are going to and from? Here’s a map that shows you.

“What are the destinations of riders at Station X?”  It’s a question we get often here. Well, using October 2014 rail ridership data by origin and destination, it’s pretty easy to answer that question – click below for an interactive map.

OD Rail Viz preview

Click for a larger, interactive version of Metrorail ridership information by origin and destination station

Silver Line Ridership Patterns – Visualized!

February 23rd, 2015 1 comment

Learn about the travel patterns of Silver Line riders in rich, interactive detail with this new tool.

Click on the dashboard below to see where Silver Line rail riders are going, coming from, and by time of day and day type.  This is simply a visualization of the October 2014 rail ridership data we recently posted.  What patterns do you see? What jumps out at you?

PlanItMetro at Metro Hack Night

January 23rd, 2014 No comments

I was invited to present a wide variety of data visualizations featured on the blog at a recent meeting of transportation techies.

I had the honor of being invited to present at the 2nd meeting of the Transportation Techies Meetup group, Metro Hack Night on January 2, 2014.  I used this opportunity to illustrate some of the data visualizations I’ve developed using Metro data and talk a bit about the technology behind them.

The first was the the visualization of 9 years worth of rail ridership data.  This visualization was created in D3 (“data driven documents”) using code originally developed by “mbostock” posted on the D3 examples page.  D3 is a javascript library that allows the creation of really powerful and interactive visualizations.  The downside of D3, as I noted, is that the code itself can be confusing and hard to follow.   So much of learning a new coding language is looking at what others have done and learning from it.  D3′s simplified notation makes it really hard for me to follow.  (NOTE: this visualization has recently been updated to include daily Metrorail ridership for all of 2013.)

The second was the visualization of one day of Metrorail station activity.     This video was created using Processing, a Java-based visualization tool that takes care of a lot of the coding “grunt work” and allows a programmer to focus on the data and the visualization.  I really enjoy Java so I took the opportunity this project provided to add a few flourishes such as a clock face and “sunrise” and “sunset.”  Read more…

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On-Street Bike Parking in Buenos Aires

December 16th, 2013 3 comments

On-Street Bike Parking in Buenos Aires

On-Street Bike Parking in Buenos Aires.  Photo by the author.

I spotted this cool on-street bike rack in the trendy Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It says “One car = ten bikes”.  It’s a very cool, visual way of providing bicycle parking in a neighborhood with narrow sidewalks and heavy pedestrian activity that also educates the driving public on the efficiency of travel by bicycle and the need for on-street bike infrastructure.

Metro’s planners recognize that bike parking is a really efficient use of space and a cost-effective way for us to provide alternatives for how our riders get to our stations.  Read more about Metro’s bike parking efforts on PlanItMetro.

Editor’s note: we have been made aware that this bike rack design is very similar to or perhaps based on a bike rack design by a company called Cyclehoop.  Congrats to Cyclehoop for such an innovative and educational design.

Draft Greenhouse Gas Calculator for Review

October 28th, 2013 No comments

Metro requests feedback on draft Greenhouse Gas (GHG) calculator.

As part of the 40 Days of Momentum, a recent blog post the importance of Metro to the region, including greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions reductions.   Now it is your turn to look up your share of those GHG reductions.

Please try out our draft Greenhouse Gas Calculator, which asks for a starting and ending address, and then routes your trip via automobile and transit and displays the route and GHG emissions differences.*   We are soft-launching this tool to crowd-source  the quality assurance process and assess its usefulness.

Launch the GHG Emissions Savings Calculator!

What other features would you like to see?  Did the tool accurately portray your travel choices?  What is the difference in GHGs between driving and transit for your most frequent trip?

* Note on GHG calculations: the tool uses the Google Directions API to route your trip using both automobile and transit. The Google Directions API response includes each step of the journey, including mode and distance. We apply standard rates of GHG emissions per mile to the different modes used. As an added bonus, if your transit trip includes walking, we toss in an estimate of the calories you burned too!

Metro’s Two Flavors of Parking

September 4th, 2013 4 comments

A handful of end-of-line stations’ parking facilities are doing the lion’s share of extending the reach of Metro across the region, while parking at most other stations primarily serves nearby residents.

Parking at rail stations is traditionally thought to extend the geographic reach of transit in the region, by giving longer-distance commuters a way to access a rail station. Based on an analysis of Metro parking customers’ origins, a handful of large end-of-line Metro parking facilities perform this function, but most Metrorail parking facilities do not. Nine Metrorail stations are capturing 70 percent of all customers who drive from more than three miles to park-and-ride, while the 26 other Metro parking facilities primarily serve the surrounding neighborhoods.

Our map of parking customers’ origins showed how far Metro’s reach extends across the region.  Now, this map shows the dominant station among Park & Ride customers, by half square-mile, for a typical weekday:

Map of dominant station of Park & Ride customers, highlighting each station's "catchment area"

Map of dominant station of Park & Ride customers, highlighting each station’s “catchment area.”

Areas where there is no clear primary station are shaded gray: for example, the dividing line between Southern Ave. and Branch Ave. stations. The dominant station is shown, regardless of how many Park & Ride customers there are for a square. There is some noise in this data, but two “flavors” of parking emerge: Read more…

Visualization of Metrorail Station Activity

July 19th, 2013 No comments

Metro planning staff have been working to showcase Metro data in new and unique ways.  We recently posted a visualization in a calendar format that displayed 9 years of rail ridership in one graphic.  We are currently working on animations of ridership data as well.  Below is our first volley into that arena, a visualization of one day’s worth of station-level activity in 15-minute intervals.

Before hitting play, please note the following:

  1. The video is available in high definition (720p), which is the recommended viewing resolution.
  2. The dots are sized according to total station volume (entries plus exits) per 15-minute interval.
  3. The color of the dot represents what percent of the volume is entries vs exits. Magenta dots are 100% exits, blue dots are 100% entries, and purple dots are 50/50, with other colors representing ratios between these three.

The visualization is of data from April 10, 2013, which hit the 4th highest ridership mark that day.   A combination of cherry blossom peak bloom and two sporting events ratcheted ridership up to 871,000 for the day, compared to an average weekday ridership of around 750,000.  Note the high level of activity at the Smithsonian station all day long, and big dots that grow and shrink as the sports games begin and then end near Gallery Place and Navy Yard-Ballpark stations.

What other unique activity can you spot in this animation?  What other types of animations of Metrorail and Metrobus would be informative?

A zip file containing the base data for this animation is available for download:  Metrorail Station Activity at 15-Minute Intervals, April 10 2013


Special thanks to Michael Schade at Mobility Lab for hosting the recent Data Visualization Hack Day and guiding me through some of the tricks and tips.  Check out his lesson plan for animating data using Processing.

 

Where Do Parking Customers Come From?

June 28th, 2013 6 comments

One-third of Metro parking customers drive from less than three miles to their station. But Metro’s importance can also be seen far across the greater Washington region, in this new visualization of parking customer’s origins.

Most Metrorail parking facilities primarily serve the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the station: 64%55% of parking customers come from less than five miles away, and 47%35% come from less than three miles away. However, some riders come from much farther away, particularly to end-of-line stations near major highways, such as Greenbelt, New Carrollton, and Vienna.

With approximately 60,000 parking spaces, Metro is one of the region’s largest parking operators. Our 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey provides good insight into the travel patterns of rail customers, including those who drove and parked at any of Metro’s 35 stations offering daily parking. These parking customers represent around 15% of all rail trips on a typical weekday.

DistanceDriven_to_MetrorailStation_Systemwide_bar_chart_revised

Read more…

Categories: Engage Tags: , ,

Visualization of 9 Years of Metrorail Ridership

June 4th, 2013 10 comments

Metro planning staff understand that a picture is worth at least a thousand words, and often more.  (And that a video is worth 1000 * 30 words per second.) As such, we are always looking to increase our ability to create compelling graphs, charts and video simulations.

sample-image

Sample image of the Metrorail Ridership Visualization. Click the image to open the viz in a new window.

Metro planning staff recently attended a Mobility Lab Hack Day, where transit planners and data geeks intersected to share ideas and techniques for visualization of the volumes of data being made available by operators around the region.  One of the visualization tools discussed was D3, a javascript library for creating “data-driven documents.”  One of the online examples is for a calendar view that displays stock market data.

Metro planning staff adapted this code to create a visualization of Metrorail ridership data from 2004 to the present.  (Link opens in new window.) Here’s how it works:

  • Each year is a horizontal stripe, sectioned off into months that go across.  Both years and months are labeled.
  • The days within each month are transposed, so start at the left and read down, then move right.  In the sample image, the leftmost column of January 2004 is the first week, with Thursday January 1 being the darkest red square.  A graphical example is also displayed in the legend at the top of the visualization.
  • Each day is colored according to the ridership on that day, with darkest red being the smallest range (0 to 99,999) and the darkest green being the highest range (greater than 1,000,000).
  • If you move your mouse pointer over any individual day, a small “tool tip” appears showing the date and the ridership for that day, rounded to the nearest 1,000.

Read more…

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