April, 2012 Archives

Last Saturday, Arlington’s Artisphere became the setting for Countdown to Yuri’s Night, an annual event honoring the first man in space. The featured attraction was the “Burlesque Space Show,” with 4 burlesque performers squeezed into a staged Star Trek parody. If you ever wanted to see Lieutenant Uhura take it all off, this was your big chance. The hero of the play was Drinkbot, a robot in the image of Klaus Nomi, with a supply of beers stored in his chest. The evening also featured two terrific bands, the otherworldly Atomic Mosquitos and party band Eastern Standard Time. Other entertainments included the Death Star Drill Team, a live-action game of tetris, a moonbounce, and an art show. The highlight of the costume contest was a man in drag as Yuri’s elderly mother. A spirit of geeky, nerdy fun made it almost as memorable as a trip into orbit.

Disco on the Death Star

» Continue Reading…

The new data for the first quarter of Capital Bikeshare open data has been posted; I picked the busiest day thus far, on Friday, March 23, 2012, and made a movie showing the bikes zipping through Washington, DC. That Friday saw 8,362 trips. Of those, 606 (7%) were to and from the same station; I did not include those trips in the movies. This 96-second animation samples CaBi trips for a 24-hour period every 30 seconds. Registered users are shown with dots that fade from blue to purple; casual users have dots that fade from green to yellow.

» Continue Reading…

After watching CaBi movies for two days a year apart, I wanted to visually compare them side by side. In the post A Day in the Life of Capital Bikeshare I show animations of CaBi traffic the day Saturday before the last two Thanksgivings. The movie below shows CaBi traffic from November 20, 2010 with yellow dots, and November 19, 2011 with white dots.

That Saturday in 2010 had 2,180 trips, and a year later grew 58% to 3,443. While the number of trips grew, the length of the average trip shrank, from 20.3 minutes in 2010 to 16.5 minutes in 2011. A histogram on the right compares the two years side by side, and in fact there are times when the 2010 traffic is greater. But overall, the pattern is largely the same. Like before, trips that begin and end at the same station are not shown.

Overlapping CaBi Animation

I made some short movies that travel back in time to show a day in the life of Washington, DC’s bike-sharing system. Using the data from Capital Bikeshare’s Trip History Data page, I looked at data for the weekend before the past two Thanksgivings. The dates are Saturday, November 20, 2010 (2,390 trips), and Saturday, November 19, 2011 (3,664 trips).

The CaBi data includes whether the rider was a casual or registered user, depending on whether the rider’s membership was for a month or longer. The movies show casual users with dots that fade from green to yellow. Registered users are represented with dots that fade from blue to purple. A histogram on the right records the number of bikes in use at each moment.

The movies exclude the trips that began and ended at the same station. (Nov 20, 2010 had 210 of these trips: 63% of them made by casual users. Casual users made up 32% of the other trips.) You will still see some dots that appear to be stationary, but they are actually moving very slowly, representing people who go far, far beyond the 30-minute time limit for free trips. » Continue Reading…