2012 Nice Ride Flows

2012 Nice Ride FlowsPresented here without scale or legend, are the Nice Ride flows from 2012.  As with the mapping I did for 2011, individual road segments are thickened to represent the volume of Nice Ride traffic that traveled over them during the year. Bike trails and lanes were favored by the routing software, but since it looked for direct routes, some paths may be under or over represented compared with real-life Nice Rider travel (Cedar Lake Trail versus Hennepin Avenue, for example).

St. Paul is much more vibrant in 2012, with the Lake Street bridge seeing a high volume of Nice Riders crossing to our twin city.  Top traffic segments included the Hennepin-Lyndale Bottleneck south of Loring Park, south of the Stone Arch Bridge, West River Parkway, and the Hiawatha trail east of the Metrodome.

Once again, kudos to Nice Ride for releasing all this awesome data.

2012 Nice Ride by the numbers


View Larger Map

Nice Ride has released all the numbers for their 2012 season, and things are looking good.
  • Total number of stations increased 24%
  • Total rentals increased 26%
  • Total duration of rentals increased 36%
  • Rentals by Nice Ride subscribers increased 14%
  • Rentals by casual users (non-subscribers) increased 50%
  • The 2012 season peaked in June with 52,000 rentals, while the 2011 season peaked later, in July with about 49,000 rentals.

Distribution of usage among stations looks similar to 2011, with the notable exception that many more St. Paul stations were online in 2012.  Heaviest stations usage is still in the diagonal Hennepin Ave corridor between SE 4th Street and Lake Street in Uptown.

Notable changes in the data include the fact that Nice Ride is no longer including the gender of each rental rider, which means we’ll have a harder time determining if we’re addressing the gender gap.  They are also not giving us a list of subscribers like they did in 2011, so we can’t analyze that.

I may map the fluxes flows like I did last year, but I think someone has the jump on me.

Where do the Nice Riders go?

Nice Ride released their 2011 ridership data in January, and I’ve been itching to map it ever since.  Flows (don’t call them fluxes) are a particularly interesting way to visualize the ridership over different route segments.

I used ArcGIS with Network Analyst on a heavily modified Open Streets Map metro shapefile to generate routes between the start and ending station of each Nice Ride rental. The Open Streets map file allowed me to include off-street trails (very important in Minneapolis), which weren’t included in my previous attempts. I set Network Analyst to prefer off-street trails, bike lanes and regular roads (in that order).

Other than being pretty, you can draw a few interesting conclusions from the flows:

  • The most traversed segment, with over 16,000 trips, was the off-street trail through the Hennepin-Lyndale bottleneck (although likely some of this traffic went to the Cedar Lake Trail in real life).  In my opinion, this is a horrible segment for bikes and peds and if we’re trying to attract visitors back to Minneapolis, we should do something about it.
  • Other heavily-traveled areas are the Mississippi River bridges, downtown streets, and Uptown.
  • Men and women take similar routes.  I mapped both, but the flows looked very similar.
  • People are using Nice Ride even in the middle of the night. They are sticking even more closely to the southwest-to-northeast spine common during the day.
  • 30-day and Annual subscribers are getting into the neighborhoods more than casual subscribers (single day), pointing to the obvious conclusion that they are full-time residents who are using Nice Ride to go to and from homes more often.
  • Since Saint Paul only had a partial year of service, it’s hard to draw many conclusions yet.

What else do you see?

Cross-posted at streets.mn