nicerideLet’s look at trip history data for the bike-sharing system in Minneapolis and St Paul. I’ve adapted the CaBi Trip Visualizer for Nice Ride Minnesota. They’ve released a seven-month chunk of data, covering April 4, 2012 to November 4, 2012. It was easy to adapt the program for their data. So, voilà: the Nice Ride Trip Visualizer.

Click on any station to see the stations that form the most station-pairs. Not being familiar with the Twin Cites, I wanted to see the entire system’s network. To do that, hit the “1” key to select all the stations visible on the map. I was surprised to see the most prominent station-pair spans the Mississippi River, from Kolthoff Hall to the Social Sciences building, both on the campus of the University of Minnesota. These trips must use the Washington Avenue Bridge.

As it turns out, the Kolthoff-Social Sciences trips aren’t the most common. The most common trip doesn’t show up on the map because it begins and ends at the same station, Lake Calhoun Center. I used to assume loop trips were just joy rides taken by people unfamiliar with the system, but there must be a reason why this station has so many loop trips. Any ideas?

The table below shows the 10 most-popular trips for this seven-month period:

trips start end
4231 Lake Calhoun Center Lake Calhoun Center
2164 Kolthoff Hall Social Sciences
2054 Social Sciences Kolthoff Hall
1175 Lake Street & Humboldt Lake Street & Humboldt
1113 100 Main Street SE 100 Main Street SE
790 Lake Street & Humboldt Lake Calhoun Center
739 Lake Calhoun Center Lake Street & Humboldt
716 South 2nd Street & 3rd Ave. S IDS Center
699 4th Street & 13th Ave. SE Kolthoff Hall
668 IDS Center South 2nd Street & 3rd Ave. S

I’ve built in three clusters to look at subsets of the region. They’re listed below the station names in the drop-down menu, or use the short-cut keys: M for Minneapolis, S for St Paul, and U for the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

Of the 273,999 recorded trips, 38% were taken by casual riders (using a 24-hour membership). 62% were taken by subscribers (those with 30-day or annual membership). But for loop trips, the percentage of casual riders goes up to 71%, which bolsters my suspicion that loop trips are made primarily by those less-familiar with the system.

The Nice Ride system had an average of 1,263 daily trips, with a high of 2,848 trips taken on Saturday, June 9, 2012. The video below shows a 24-hour period, from a lull at 4 in the morning to 4am Sunday morning.

The animation makes it clear that only 9% of trips begin in St Paul, though 33% of the stations are in St Paul (on the right). The Minneapolis portion clearly dominates. And though there weren’t many people riding bikes early Saturday morning, the system got heavy use long past midnight. (Last call in Minneapolis is at 2am.)

The colors represent the type of user and the percent of the trip that has been completed. Casual riders are shown with circles that change from green to yellow, and subscribers are shown with circles that change from blue to purple.

You can view the movie in its original QuickTime format by downloading the file (17MB).

These sorts of analyses can be done only with systems that have open data. Though many bikesharing systems provide station information, it is rare to find any that share trip history data. So far I’ve found data for these three regions:

For a closer look at the bikesharing system in Washington, DC, see Capital Bikeshare’s 4th Quarter of 2012 and Bikeshare Stats on a Map.

Seven Months of Nice Rides

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