These data visualizations show how DC gets around when there's no Metro - Technical.ly DC

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Mar. 18, 2016 12:08 pm

These data visualizations show how DC gets around when there’s no Metro

From surge pricing to Bikeshare trips, a handful of developers have made some cool stuff from this week's transportation data.

No Metro, no problem.

(Photo by Flickr user angela n., used under a Creative Commons license)

When WMATA announced that it would be shutting down the entire D.C. Metro system for a full 29 hours, mid-week, for safety checks, Twitter immediately erupted with apprehension, anger and a good number of jokes.

But hey, safety first. So as the clock hit midnight the trains slowly came to a stop — which actually looks pretty cool in this viz tweeted out by D.C. metro transit app MetroHero:

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And with that, the riders of the country’s second busiest metro system needed to find some other way to get around. So what did we do? We biked (in record numbers), we Uber’d (though it was expensive) and we drove (though the traffic was bad).

And, because this is D.C., we created some cool data visualizations to make sense of it all.

DDOT reported that the Metropolitan Branch Trail saw 1,280 bike trips on Wednesday, a 194 percent increase over Tuesday. This is actually the highest ever bike day on the MBT, ironically beating out Bike To Work Day 2015 by 100 rides. This graph shows popular commute times:

Bike commuters on the MBT during metro shutdown. (Graph via DDOT)

Bike commuters on the MBT during metro shutdown. (Graph via DDOT)

Bloomberg Business, meanwhile, used the Metro shutdown to put together three data visualizations of the morning commute — one each for traffic, Uber surge pricing and Capital Bikeshare availability between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

The visualizations look pretty much as you’d expect — roads clogged, Uber spikes in popular residential areas (mostly NW and Arlington) and Capital Bikeshare bikes congregated downtown. Still, it’s cool to see this kind of data in action.

Capital Bikeshare during the Metro shutdown. (Visualization via Bloomberg Business)

Capital Bikeshare during the Metro shutdown. (Visualization via Bloomberg Business)

In similar transportation data news, though not related to the Metro shutdown, DataLensDC’s latest visualization shows when (and how much) Uber surge pricing hits various neighborhoods.

There are some gems in there, including the fact that prices surge just about everywhere in the District at 8 a.m. on weekdays.

Average Uber surge pricing shown through the week in Shaw. (Visualization via DataLensDC)

Average Uber surge pricing shown through the week in Shaw. (Visualization via DataLensDC)

Feeling excited and inspired by all this transport data? Got a related project you’re working on? Go check out Transportation Techies — their monthly meetups take deep dives into cool new hacks for various modes of city transportation. You just might find your people.

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Tajha Chappellet-Lanier

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier was the lead reporter for Technical.ly DC. The California native previously worked for NPR and the editorial board at USA Today. She can talk travel plans all day, and has strong opinions on the best doughnut in D.C.

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