Monday, July 13, 2020

The Slow Recovery of the NYC Subway

Half-way through March of this year traffic on the New York subway system began to fall dramatically. By the end of March traffic across the network was running at less than 10% of the normal traffic on the system.

The cause for this dramatic fall in passengers was of cause the coronavirus outbreak. It has been well documented that New York City has been one of the worst epicenters for Covid-19. It is therefore unsurprising that people have been mostly avoiding, where possible, the confined spaces of the subway system. As New York has made significant strides in reducing the numbers of new Covid-19 cases the number of passengers on the subway has been beginning to slowly increase, but numbers are still way down on normal levels of traffic.

You can explore NYC subway ridership data over time for every subway station on the NYC Subway Ridership map. Select an individual station on the interactive map and you can view a graph showing the total number of passenger entries and exits from that station over time. Click on any station and you will see a sudden drop in numbers in mid-March and a very slow increase in passengers ever since.

At the beginning of May the Gothamist used the same subway turnstile data to explore which subway stations in New York were experiencing the smallest and largest drop in passenger numbers.

The interactive map in Which Parts Of NYC Are Relying On The Subway Most During Coronavirus uses scaled markers to show the total number of turnstile entries at each New York subway station. The color of the markers on the map visualize the number of turnstile entries as a percentage of the historical average. In other words the bluest stations have seen the smallest drop in traffic.

The map also allows you to view choropleth maps showing the levels of poverty and the numbers of residents working in healthcare in each New York borough. If you turn on the poverty rate layer you can see that there seems to be a correlation between the stations with the least reductions in traffic and the local poverty rate. The map also seems to show that the areas with the most healthcare workers are also the areas where subway use remains relatively high.

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