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Capital Bikeshare’s 4th Quarter of 2012


January 18th, 2013 [programming]

A new round of trip history data has been made public by Capital Bikeshare. I’ve created a new version of the CaBi Trip Visualizer for the 4th Quarter of 2012, covering October through December. Use the tool to analyze travel patterns for people using the bikeshare system.

475,736 trips were made in the 4th quarter. The bikesharing usage is highly seasonal, as ridership went down 25% from the 3rd quarter (the summer months: July, August and September). But compared to 2011’s 4th quarter, ridership is up 52%. Broken down by membership types, the number of rides by registered users went up 54%, and the number of rides by casual users went up 40%. Registered users are those who buy memberships for 1 month or 1 year; casual users buy memberships for 1 day or 5 days.

The most popular station (by far) continues to be Dupont Circle, on Massachusetts Ave. Riders made 15,008 trips to Dupont, and 13,171 trips from Dupont. (That’s a per-day average of 163 check-ins and 143 check-outs.) Two stations are on the next tier of activity: Union Station got 10,732 check-ins and 10,020 check-outs; 15th & P NW got 10,595 check-ins and 9,138 check-outs.

I wanted to examine a different statistic for this quarter, so I queried the busiest station-pairs. Which trips are the most common? The table below shows the 10 most-popular trips for the 4th quarter of 2012:

trips start end
1,440 Eastern Market Metro Lincoln Park
1,340 Lincoln Park Eastern Market Metro
1,000 Adams Mill & Columbia Calvert & Woodley
890 Calvert & Woodley Adams Mill & Columbia
836 NH Ave & T Dupont Circle
826 Dupont Circle 15th & P NW
771 Union Station 11th & H NE
767 15th & P NW Dupont Circle
715 11th & H NE Union Station
697 15th & P NW NH Ave & T

It’s interesting that in spite of hosting the most popular route, Eastern Market Metro is only the 7th-busiest station overall, and Lincoln Park is only the 19th-busiest station.

The station at the Lincoln Memorial opened at the beginning of this quarter, on October 3rd, and is already the 17th-busiest station.

The CaBi Trip Visualizer helps you visualize trip patterns. One of features of the tool lets you view travel networks for clusters of stations. You can select the clusters with the drop-down menu or by using these shortcut keys:

A Arlington C Crystal City D D.C.
E East of the river F Fourteenth Street G Georgetown
H H Street M The Mall N Nationals stadium
O Old Town Alexandria U Connecticut Ave V Virginia
W Wilson Corridor

These networks show bike-sharing functioning as any other sort of transportation network, connecting people wherever stations are located.

One thing the tool can not visualize is the number of trips that begin and end at the same station. These round-trips make up 3.5% of all trips. Presumably it’s a result of tourists who take the bikes for joyrides. Since the bikes don’t have locks, you can’t really do anything until you arrive at a CaBi station and return the bike. (Well, some tourists just drop their bikes on the ground, as this photo attests.) The data supports my theory, since the station with the most round-trips (668 in this quarter) was the Smithsonian station. In 2nd place was another station on the Mall, at Jefferson Dr & 14th St SW (with 609 round trips). 3rd place was the new station at the Lincoln Memorial (476 round trips), followed by the one by the MLK and FDR memorials (Ohio Dr & W Basin Dr, with 449 round trips). Dupont was 5th place (378 round trips).

For a closer look at this quarter’s clusters, see Neighborhood Clusters Added to Updated Capital Bikeshare Trip Visualizer.

To try the tool using data from the previous quarter, see Bikeshare Stats on a Map

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