Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Walksheds of Boston

Exploring Transit and Driving Behavior in MA examines the effect of Boston's public transit network on the amount of traffic on Boston's streets. The article visualizes a number of data-sets on a series of Google Maps to explore how proximity to MBTA transit corridors impacts on the car driving frequency of Boston residents.

The maps include a simple visualization of the walksheds around each MBTA station (shown above). More revealing is a map of the number of vehicle miles driven by a typical household in Boston.

This map reveals that Boston residents tend to drive more the further they live from the center of the city. It also reveals that the MBTA transit corridors have an effect on the use of cars, as those who live closer to the MBTA tend to drive less vehicle miles than those who live further away.

The map itself would benefit from a little bit of customization using the Google Maps API Styled Maps feature. For example, transit lines on the map could be emphasized by giving them a higher weight and perhaps by giving them a different color.

Exploring Transit and Driving Behavior in MA also includes a map of 'transit effectiveness'. This map evaluates Boston addresses by their access to public transit. The evaluation is based on the frequency of nearby stops, divided by the distance to those stops, and adjusted by a 'quality factor' based on the  mode of transit.

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