The volume of taxi pickups across New York City during an average weekday (Full Screen Version)
One of the largest and most interesting datasets I’ve come across yet is NYC’s taxi trip record data from the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Going back all the way to 2009, it contains the details of every taxi trip taken in New York City since then, over a billion rides in total. Aggregating this data over 6 years (2009-2015), the map above shows the volume of taxi pickups across the City during an average weekday.
The map reveals some surprising patterns. What I expected to see was a spike of morning commuters picking up taxis in Brooklyn and Queens bound for Manhattan, and another late afternoon spike in Manhattan as the same commuters pick up taxis to get back home. Apparently, I underestimated the City’s public transportation and it’s weekday nightlife, since the highest volume of taxi pickups in Brooklyn/Queens occurs at around 10pm.
Morning commuters from outside New York
The map does show an ebb and flow of morning and afternoon commuter traffic, but it’s driven mainly by those coming from outside New York City. The three spikes that appear early in the day are the locations of Penn Station, the Port Authority, and Grand Central Station.
Morning taxi rides from the airports
It’s also interesting to note how different the patterns are in taxi pickups at the City’s two airports, JFK and LaGuardia. At 6am, the number of taxi rides coming from JFK is a multiple of those coming from LaGuardia. By 10am, their positions have flipped, with all the taxi rides coming from LaGuardia and very few from JFK.
JFK handles just as many domestic flights as LaGuardia, plus a lot more international ones. Why does LaGuardia have so many more taxi pickups at 10am? If any New Yorkers out there have a theory, I’d love to hear it.
Other great projects based on NYC’s taxi data
There have been many great projects done with New York City’s taxi data, but these three stand out as my personal favorites. If you have not already seen them, I would highly recommend giving each one a look.
- Taxi data from New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission
- Census tract boundaries from the New York City Open Data Portal
- Built with Blueshift
More about my background
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