Planes, trains, and automobiles are no longer your only options for metropolitan travel—since its launch in 2010, Capital Bikeshare has helped people in the DC Metro area move around in an active and eco-friendly way. The company has eased travel around the trafficked-packed cities with more than 2.1 million people using the service annually. In the month of September alone, Capital Bikeshare recorded a total of 325,800 rides. We would be remiss to not congratulate the bike sharing system for its recent milestone of 20 million rides!
The visualization below uses location data from the company’s 500+ stations and ride data from the month of September. Using MicroStrategy’s data wrangling and data blending capabilities, we were able to join location and ride data from the Capital Bikeshare website with weather data from Weather Underground.
While the datasets included many variables, distance was not one of them. But fear not! We were able to extract the necessary data using the Google Distance API and R, where we plugged in each start and end station’s latitude and longitude to calculate actual trip distance. Using the mstrio package, we pushed our new data from R into a MicroStrategy in-memory cube for quick visualization and analysis in MicroStrategy Desktop.
Mileage May Vary
There are two different kinds of riders who use Capital Bikeshare—those who pay for an annual membership pass and those who use the service more casually, choosing to pay for single use or 24-hour passes. The difference in ridership creates a stark contrast in the data. While trips under 30 minutes are “free” with all passes and unlimited for members, usage fees apply for longer trips. Members often keep their rides under the 30-minute time limit, with the average member riding a bike for 14 minutes. Casual riders, perhaps unfamiliar with the rules or simply caught up in the sights and sounds of the city, have a much longer average trip of 38 minutes.
The most popular times for casual riders are Saturday and Sunday between noon and 5pm. Member riders see spikes in bike usage during the weekdays at peak commute times: 8am and 5pm. It seems safe to assume that most casual riders are D.C. tourists, while member riders are commuting locals. Strengthening this theory is the discrepancy between the start and end locations of casual and member riders. Casual riders often start and end their rides at a station near the Mall: Jefferson Drive and 14th Street, Lincoln Memorial, or the Smithsonian. Member riders are more likely to pick up or drop off a bike at a station in a D.C. area neighborhood or at a metro stop: Columbus Circle, Union Station, or Lincoln Park.
"Weather" or Not to Ride
Weather can impact ridership as well. For example, on September 9th, the D.C. area experienced a cool, wet, and windy day, causing a sharp decline in bike riders. With temperatures averaging a cool 65 degrees, rain averaging 1.65 inches, and wind speeds averaging 17 mph, ridership dropped to 2,800. In contrast, September 2nd was a beautiful day with temperatures hovering around 82 degrees, zero chance of rain, and average wind speeds of 5mph. Ridership that day jumped to 14,231.
Curious to know more? Explore the Capital Bikeshare dossier today. Are you ready to create your own data analysis? Download MicroStrategy Desktop today for free and get started.