Among the millions of trips that occur on scooter and bikeshare services across the U.S., anyone can harness and create tools that allow them to understand how the behavior of other users of those tools will affect the trips people are taking.
Transportation Techies showed off projects along these lines last week at Bikeshare Hack Night X at the WeWork Wonder Bread Factory in Washington DC.
Presenters discussed their helpful hacks that focus on turning the open data of shared mobility networks into personal applications that create a better understand of how people are using scooters and bikeshare.
Want to ride bikeshare together?
Madeline Hanley shared a project she developed from her experience working on a marketing effort for New York’s Citi Bike. The Bike with Bae promotion encouraged couples to check out bikes and take a photo of themselves riding together, and, though successful, led Hanley to realize that it is difficult to search for bikes for more than one person at a time.
After leaving Citi Bike, Hanley built a tool around D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare to address this issue, which searches for available bikes and scooters – docked and dockless – and allows users to set a filter that includes the number of bikes they would like to check out. Therefore, if a couple wants to go out for a ride, they can search for bikeshare stations with at least two bikes to grab.
Want to know which stations to rely upon?
Eric O’Callaghan, from Philadelphia, Pa., used the city’s Indego bikeshare data feed to develop his own tool that examines historical usage patterns at individual stations. Doing so illuminated which stations have regular ridership, especially during commute times, and where in the system bikes tended to hang out for longer periods of time.
Daniel Turse took O’Callaghan’s concept another step to show the crowd his tool that predicts bikeshare station availability. Using historical data, users can track how docks fill up and empty out over time at any given station, and the tool predicts the likelihood that there will be a bike available to them in the next five to 15 minutes, and a dock available to them wherever they plan on going. For those trying to decide how to get around, tools like this could provide an influential nudge.
Want to know the planning nuances of a system?
From a different perspective, Federico Tallis developed a method to visualize the relationship any one station within the Capital Bikeshare system has to the others. Tallis developed a web app that helps him, as a planner, understand points within the network and flow into and out of those points.
For those who want to make bikeshare data feeds more accessible to other programmers, Daniel Schep created a tool to do so. Data formats from bikeshare systems are typically in a format such as the General Bikeshare Feed Specification (GBFS), but many analysts prefer to use map-based data visualizations of system information. Schep’s tool converts GBFS data into GeoJSON format, which is better suited for plotting on maps.
A bigger picture
Smart Cities Dive has produced a national overview of the evolution of the dockless mobility industry. Kristin Musulin shared the publication’s landing page with the audience, which provides information, updated weekly, on the scooter and bikeshare operations that exist across the country. This provides a space for researchers to understand where operations have opened or closed, and the news stories underneath the map help track important anecdotes that provide nuance to the industry’s trends.
William Watkins and Michael Morrow
And William Watkins and Michael Morrow have turned transportation data into art with DistrictMapping. As self-described data enthusiasts at Tableau, they noticed the visualizations they created were aesthetically stunning. Now they create shirts and posters with stylized isochrone visuals of travel times from a point of their choice, bringing transportation visualization to the masses.
Photos by M.V. Jantzen at Flickr. Main photo features Techie Chris Teale controlling the slideshow while Kristin Musulin presents in the background.