April 2, 2014
Mapping Citi Bike’s Riders, Not Just Rides

For the first time yesterday, Citi Bike released more granular ridership data. This finally puts them in line with many other major city bike systems that release trip-level data.

The new data, among other things, has information on age, trip duration, membership vs annual pass status, and trip duration.  Exploring these factors can tell us a bit about our city, and how people and tourists get around.  I looked at all data to date (through Feb 2014).  To the data!

The Age of Citi Bike Riders:

For all annual members, Citi Bike provides the year of birth of the rider for each trip. So for each station departure, I look at the median approximate age of the users of that station since Citi Bike launch, and then I those stations rank from highest median age to lowest: 

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The median age at some stations is over ten years higher than the age at  other stations!  Mapping this out shows some of the age trends:

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The Lower East side’s higher age is very clear on this map.  This is in strong contrast to the adjacent Alphabet City, where we see some of the youngest riders.  We also see relatively older riders in midtown, possibly due to commuters coming in from out of town. 

The Gender of Citi Bike Riders:

When I set out to explore the male-female ratio, I was expecting that the stations would be pretty similar.   76% of all rides by annual members were taken by men.   However, I found that stations in midtown seem to have a much higher male-to-female ratio than other stations.   For example, it’s about 9-to-1 at E43 St and Vanderbilt.  

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The following map shows that stations in midtown and the financial district have a much higher percentage of male riders than other stations.

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Tourism:

There have been several articles recently discussing the disappointing number of day and week passes sold.  So I decided to explore where the highest percentage of sales of day/week passes are: 

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Not surprisingly, a station right off of the Brooklyn Bridge, a large tourist attraction, has the highest % of non-annual bike rentals, making up 59% of all rentals from that station.   The least likely place for tourists to rent? W38th and 8th Ave.   

I mapped this out where darker boxes mean more day/week passes and thus more tourists:

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Notice that stations along the Hudson River have an unusually high number of day/week passes.  Sadly, there are no stations in Hudson River Park.  If there were, these numbers might be higher and revenue for Citibike might be up quite a bit. 

Trip Duration:

The median trip that starts at Wythe & Metropolitan is over 20 minutes, while the Median trip from Dekalb & Vanderbilt is only about 6 minutes.  (System wide, the median duration is about 11 minutes.)

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Mapping this shows that most of the longer trips start on the outskirts of the bike share program.   

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Note that many trips that start in places like Fort Greene and Clinton Hill are short, which suggests that people are using bikes to get around those neighborhood, as opposed to getting into Manhattan.

Conclusion:

Citi Bike’s new dataset gives us a glimpse into the attributes of its riders. 

Some thoughts:

-The city might want to consider age when planning out things like bike infrastructure, much in the way that they do for crosswalks.  ,

-Citi Bike could look into adding more bikes to tourist heavy areas, indicated in the map above, if they want to raise more revenue. 

Citi Bike Data found here.
All polygons in maps are formed based on closest bike station using QGIS.
Analysis done in IPython, Graphs in Excel.

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Filed under: citibike qgis nyc dot tourism maps cycling 
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