Hubway Bike Sharing: A Visual Examination

Photo by Tim Sackton | Republished with Creative Commons license

Photo by Tim Sackton | Republished with Creative Commons license

I recently started using Metro Boston’s Hubway bike sharing system to get around the city when my destination is too far to walk, but too inconvenient to wait for the T or splurge for a cab. For a 24-hour bike pass, it only costs $6 (as long as you spend <30 minutes in between stations), which is only a few dollars more than the T, and even doubles as a workout!

There are some really interesting maps to allow bikers to make the most of their Hubway experience, by visualizing bike availability and common bike traffic patterns. Hubway created a map on their website that includes all the information riders need to know in order to plan their trip, such as where bikes and docks are available. The one feature I wish this map had, though, was a place where I could enter an address and find the nearest Hubway stations. Bostonography, a website for interesting visual representations of life and land in Greater Boston, dedicated a project to mapping Hubway availability. While the maps can be a bit confusing, the authors draw important conclusions, including observations about gaps in coverage, overnight access, daytime accessibility and availability in high employment areas.

Hubway also partnered with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to host the Hubway Data Visualization Challenge, which resulted in some awesome visualizations, animations, maps and info graphics about the more than 500,000 bike trips in one year. Even if these maps don’t help you get from Point A to Point B more efficiently, they’re really interesting and make me excited to be part of such a progressive bike sharing movement.

I would highly recommend checking these maps out and giving Hubway a try. However, helmets are not provided at the stations, and beginner city bikers often aren’t familiar with biking laws – so just be safe.

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