Visualizing Capital Bikeshare trips from late 2012

January 29, 2013

Earlier this month, we brought you a visualization showing the popularity of Capital Bikeshare stations and routes. That particular item focused on trips from July through September 2012.

Now that Bikeshare has released data for the final three months of 2012, Michael Schade created an updated version of the trip visualizer for Arlington County’s Mobility Lab.

This tool allows you to select any station and see how many bikes are rented and where those riders went. It also highlights the trips taken most frequently, letting you see what docks are commonly used to connect with other docks.

The new data offer some information that wasn’t available before. Alexandria’s Bikeshare stations went live at the end of August 2012, so the last visualization didn’t have much information to work with for those docks. The data from October through December provides our first sustained look at how these stations were utilized.

Schade notes that, at least for these three months, the Alexandria docks tended to be pretty insular. There were 4,139 bikes checked out in Alexandria during this window, and 91 percent of them were returned to docks in Alexandria.

In addition, Schade beefed up the cluster aspect of the visualization, which focuses on specific segments of the Bikeshare network (such as the cluster of stations around the Mall or Georgetown). The new cluster feature doesn’t display extremely infrequent trips, making it easier to see trips that are taken with some level of regularity.

It also highlights the Bikeshare patterns of different areas. The stations along Wilson Boulevard in Arlington largely connect to other docks in Arlington, though many trips to and from the Rosslyn stations also begin and end in Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle and on the National Mall.

Meanwhile, trips beginning or ending near Nationals Park and the Navy Yard head to or from a panoply of points north, east and west — just not south, as travel to or from this area is heavily focused north of the Anacostia River.

As we said last time, this tool only covers a limited time span and isn’t a formal survey of ridership. But it’s an interesting way to see how Bikeshare trips occur, particularly because it brings to life how users travel with this system. Check it out here.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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