News / City Life

Visualization shows how we're actually using Divvy

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When Divvy publicly released 2013 ride data earlier this year, many analysts focused on the volume of rides and the most popular stations. Gabriel Gaster, a data scientist at Datascope Analytics in the Loop, quickly realized that there was more information to be gleaned from the data. "What made the new information unique was that we could actually see the individual trips people took and infer something about the way that our city and our neighborhoods are interconnected," Gaster explained. He tasked himself with creating a tool that would display the traffic patterns associated with each individual Divvy station, allowing him to track where people ride their bikes based on their location in the city.

The map divides Chicago into regions, based on the central location of each Divvy station. When you mouse over a particular region, the map highlights the locations that riders are going to, with frequency indicated by varying shades of blue. A tightly grouped spread means that most commuters are using that Divvy station as a "last mile" transportation solution, bridging the gap between public transportation and their destination. For example, mousing over the Kimbark Ave and 53rd St station in Hyde Park reveals that most Divvy users are biking to locations immediately surrounding that station. By contrast, mousing over the Wood St and Milwaukee Ave station in Wicker Park reveals that riders in that area seem to be using Divvy as an alternative to public transportation, biking to nearby Logan Square or into the Loop.

If Divvy continues to release ride data to the public, we'll be able to see how these traffic patterns change as more people begin to use Divvy. We're also likely to see drastic changes as protected bike lanes continue to be installed, as more Divvy stations arrive in underserved areas and when the 606 opens next summer. Let's just hope that the mayor, Chicago's city planners and CDOT are actually paying attention to this data.

We've embedded a small version of Gaster's map below, but there's also a full-sized version for you to dig into. 

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