Saturday, September 29, 2012

Doing it wrong

A quick explanation about a picture that I took and is now on the Boston Magazine website (about how not to use Hubway). Basically, I was walking to Boloco (probably) after a trip on Hubway and saw a shared bike propped outside a tobacconist (yeah, there's a tobacconist, although he did not sell scratched records). It looked kind of silly left all alone, although right behind me, the photographer, there was a guy—the friend of the Hubwayer in question—standing with his bike and watching over. And about 12 seconds after I snapped this picture, the rider came out and grabbed the bike. So it was never in any real danger.

Of course … there is a Hubway station on the same block.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Personal Hubway Report

Back in May, a month in to my Hubway membership, I analyzed bike share trip length data, and ran a quick "analysis" of my own personal trips. Since then, I've logged more than 100 more bike sharing trips, and put together a bit more robust of an analysis to see my trip data. Since starting with Hubway:
  • 123 trips
  • 7:29 average trip length
  • 0.96 average trip straight-line distance
  • 15:20 hours on Hubway
  • 117 miles on Hubway (straight-line distance)
  • 7.63 mph average speed (straight-line)
  • 29 unique stations used (24 unique starts, 25 unique ends)
  • 90 of 123 trips started or ended at the most frequently used station (44/46)
  • 8:1 ration of starts to ends at Charles Circle (24/3), which is much easier to bike from than to bike to.
I can also break these numbers in to charts. And I love charts! (N.B.: for all charts, the number of trips is on the vertical axis.)

Hey, that's pretty cool! There's some interesting data here. First—July. I think that a combination of being away most weekends and warm temperatures lowered my trip count. More importantly, Hubway didn't launch in Cambridge (where I live) until August, so all my trips were work-based. And I rode my (own) bike to work most of July. Oh, and there was the minor issue of a bicycle accident which knocked me out of the saddle for most of the month.

As for the timing of my trips, this is a tri-modal distribution, which matches rather well with overall bike share use patterns for weekdays. There's a peak in the morning, when I am biking to work, and another in the evening, when I'm biking home. (And since I'm supposed to be in the office by 8, I'm convinced that Hubway's clock is off by a few minutes!) The midday bump is when I take a bike for errands, which I do relatively often at lunch. It's nice to have a dock at my building.

And the trip lengths? These are tri-modal, too. The peak of 4-5 minute trips correlates well with my frequent multi-modal commute walking to Central Square, taking the Red Line to Charles, and biking to my office, much faster than another stop and a walk or transfer would take me. (The reverse, thanks to one-way streets, is far less speedy; I've started 24 trips at Charles Station and only ended 3 there; it's particularly hard to get there by bike.) The 7-8 peak is mostly lunch trips, and the 13-17 is from when I started commuting by Hubway in August.

Trip distance (straight line) mostly parallels trip length, and speed is a pretty nice bell curve. Since this is based on straight-line distances, there is some more variation than would be expected, because more roundabout trips wind up with slower "speeds" than straight shots. (My highest speed was when I biked straight down Commonwealth Avenue and made a bunch of lights.) This is probably comparable to average straight-line traffic speeds in Boston at rush hour.

Will I keep these data updated? Is the Pope Catholic? Does a bear relieve himself in the woods? Have I been tracking every mile I've traveled by mode for the last year and a half daily?

To get these data, I copied (in batches of 20) and pasted the trip data from my Hubway account (from their website) in to Excel; luckily it pasted very easily. Trip lengths were calculated from latitude and longitude data grabbed from Hubway Tracker. If you copy your personal trip data in to Excel and email it to me (ari.ofsevit on the Gmails) I'd be glad to get the data to you and send you charts of your own!