Four Metro stations are scheduled to get solicitations for redevelopment this year, as reported by the Washington Business Journal. I used my Metro Places app to take a look at how much transit-oriented development they currently have. The app works by querying the Google Places API to discover businesses within a certain range of Metro stations. I used it to search for gyms, banks, clothing stores, and grocery stores within a radius of 1,000 meters, as a sample of what might be available. The four stations are Forest Glen, West Hyattsville, Braddock Road, and Largo Town Center.
Forest Glen and West Hyattsville are somewhat near each other, albeit in separate counties. The heat map below shows Forest Glen has less nearby development then its neighboring stations. West Hyattsville appears on the edge of an area shared with Prince George’s Plaza, but could benefit from places closer to the station.
If you’re a total transit nerd, this will be exciting. To prepare for a bus-themed event for the Transportation Techies meetup group, we’re making public APC data sets. That’s automated passenger counter; electronic devices that measure people boarding and alighting. We’re sharing it in hopes that local programmers will use it to create visualizations of how people use the bus.
What is the minimum information you need when planning a trip on the Metro system? If all you want to see is which stations are connected, the Force Diagram of WMATA Metro Stations is the Metro map for you.
Want to see how people move in and out of Metro stations? I made a Metro Activity animation using data from April 10, 2013. The data shows the numbers of entries and exits for each station in 15-minutes increments, from 4:45am to 1:00am (that’s 81 records).
WMATA has already visualized this same data set, in Visualization of Metrorail Station Activity. The date was picked because it had the 4th-highest ridership, with 871,000 trips, compared to 750,000 on an average weekday.
My goal for this new visualization was to design a tool that’s fluid and interactive. I used the HTML canvas element to create the animation. I can scale the canvas to fit the window. On top of each station, I draw an image that’s scaled to the data for that station. I can change the color and shape to indicate other values. A form on top shows the user controls. » Continue Reading…
At Mobility Lab‘s recent hack day, WMATA released a copy of the GTFS data they use for their trip planner. The trip planner includes schedule data for a total of 19 different transit agencies. GTFS, General Transit Feed Specification, is a collection of files that together form a complete description of all the routes, stops, and schedules. WMATA released an animation of the data last November (see Maps in Motion: Telling Stories from Transit Data). With the GTFS data now publicly available, I wanted to try making my own animations.
While Metro doesn’t regularly post trip history data, they did release a chunk via their PlanItMetro blog: Data Download: Metrorail Ridership by Origin and Destination. The data is actually just a summary of the trip history data, giving station-to-station totals. Though they divide the data by time periods (AM peak, midday, PM peak, evening, and late-night peak), my tool considers only the totals. » Continue Reading…
Metro’s “passenger information displays” (PIDs) are the digital signs in the stations that announce upcoming train arrivals. I wrote my own “Web PIDs” app using the Metro Transparent Data Sets API to show the same information on the web. The initial view of the application presents a menu of station names. Selecting one or more stations embeds their codes in the URL, which you can bookmark to return to the same view. You’ll see the station codes in the URL, like below:
This interactive bubble map lets you study travel patterns, showing results from the 2007 Survey of Metro Passenger Origin and Destination Stations. The survey got results from 708,406 passengers, asking them their origin and destination. I obtained a spreadsheet of the responses, but it’s hard to analyze a table of numbers with 86 rows and 86 columns. So, I decided to create a map using bubbles to reflect the volume of traffic. Yes, the data is five years old, but it’s all I had available.
When you move your cursor over a station, red bubbles appear over the other stations, their size reflecting the number of trips that originated at those stations that ended at the one you selected. An option at the bottom lets you see the reverse: trips from your selection to each of the remaining stations (using orange bubbles). You can also select a station via the menu at the bottom. Your chosen station is given a blue bubble showing the total. To view the exact numbers, click the “list” button. Your screen may not be tall enough to view all entries. (Hit the enter key to continue.)
After the Silver Line, the region’s next big transit project will be the Purple Line. The MTA is aiming for completion in 2020. I’ve modified my animated KML for the Metrorail system to include the Purple Line:
You will need Google Earth to view the KML file. When it opens, click on the tiny “play” button on the time slider that appears over the map. An easy way to zoom to the Purple Line is to double-click its entry in the Places navigation panel. First open the entry for “Metro with Purple and Silver Lines,” then open the “Lines” folder, and you’ll see entries for each line.
Though the Purple Line route isn’t 100% finalized yet, I used the most likely route. Like the other lines, I connect stations with straight lines, so the exact route has been simplified. And while the route will be integrated with Metro’s existing system, it will implement light rail rather than heavy rail, which always has right-of-way, going under or over other traffic. The four stations where it connects with the Red, Green, and Orange lines will probably be near but not physically within the existing Metrorail stations. But for the sake of simplicity, the map uses the Metrorail stations as the locations for those four stations. They are planning for 6-minute headways between trains, so the animation reflects that frequency.