Bicycling is the fastest way to travel in downtown DC
by Matt Caywood • March 15, 2012 2:21 pm
Bicycling is among the lowest-cost ways to travel through a city, and has health and fitness advantages, too. But the most direct practical benefit of bicycling comes when it’s also the quickest way to travel. In downtown DC, it usually is.
Using the recently released Capital Bikeshare trip data and trip plans from Google Maps, I compared travel times for trips between pairs CaBi stations in downtown DC. If parking takes only 5 minutes, the median Capital Bikeshare rider traveled faster than a car more than ¾ of the time.
For all but the slowest riders, bicycling is always faster than transit and walking. For some trips, it is the fastest option of all.
25 trips around downtown DC
I picked 25 random station pairs in downtown DC (1 mile radius around Metro Center, shown above) for this study. For each origin-destination pair, the Capital Bikeshare trip data gave me a large number of bicycle trip time measurements, but I needed to know how long the trip would take by other modes like car, transit or walking.
Since no data sets exist for those modes, I used Google Maps’ time estimates as a proxy. A comparison of Google’s bike trip time predictions with real data from Capital Bikeshare riders returned a strong correlation (r = 0.93), confirming that Google’s estimates are probably a sufficiently accurate replacement.
For Capital Bikeshare trip data, I started with the data set cleaned up by Corey Holman. The data set contains over 1.3 million trips over a period of about 14 months.
But one major issue remained. I needed to make sure the data measured the direct trip time between a pair of stations. While most Capital Bikeshare trips are frequent riders going directly from one station to another, some trips are tourists taking a long leisure ride that just happens to start and end at these stations. Since I was only interested in direct trips, I only considered trips taken by registered users.
The graph below illustrates a sample station pair. You can see that registered users (in red) have a very different pattern of trip times than casual users (in purple). Registered users take trips of slightly
To read the whole story, visit here: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/14048/bicycling-is-the-fastest-way-to-travel-in-downtown-dc/
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