Visualization of the Week: Hubway commuters’ time saved

An interactive visualization shows how bike-sharing service Hubway has saved its commuters more than 45,000 hours of travel time.

Boston’s bike-sharing service Hubway recently opened up its data and held a visualization contest. The winners were announced this week: Overall Best Visualization went to MIT student Virot “Ta” Chiraphadhanakul. His interactive visualization measures trip times from one Hubway station to another and compares the times to the same trips using Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) public transportation and/or walking. His results show that in 513,733 one-way trips, commuters have saved more than 45,000 hours of travel time by using Hubway.

The overall interactive chart allows you to hover over specific dots, or trips, to see travel times and time saved using Hubway. Bigger dots represent more popular trips.


You can also drill down to trip information on a particular stop with Chiraphadhanakul’s Sunburst visualization, accessed through the “See commuting patterns” link from the main visualization.


Chiraphadhanakul describes what we’re seeing here:

“Based on travel times, the number of transfers, and convenience, the ‘optimal’ commuting patterns were obtained using service information from the GTFS feed provided by MBTA. The trip origin is located at the center of the plot. Each slice represents an access/transfer stop at which some commuters board an MBTA service in order to get to their destinations. Subsequent transfer stops are displayed further away from the center. In addition to the transfer hierarchy, the area of each slice is proportional to the number of destinations that can be reached via the stop. Lastly, the color of each slice corresponds to the travel time from the origin to the stop using MBTA services. The stops that can be reached directly using Hubway service are highlighted. Historical trips data were used to determine travel times of bike trips. This representation of commuting patterns allows us to identify important transit hubs that are not well connected to the selected bike station by the MBTA network.”

Hat Tip to Eric Randall at Boston Daily, who also interviewed Chiraphadhanakul about the visualization.

You can check out the visualization contest winners from other categories here.

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