Category Archives: sarah

What We’re Reading This Week

What We’ve Read This Week:

  • “The city’s for-hire vehicle cap is a terrible idea, and not just because of how it will hamstring Uber” (Link)
  • Can taxi carpooling help reduce NYC congestion?  (Link)
  • BART’s system may have become too complicated for locals to use (Link)
  • A look inside the MTA’s ancient control system (Link)
  • Citi Bike arrives in Queens (Link)
  • Map: NYC subway deserts (the areas not reachable by subway) (Link)
  • How significant was New York’s LaGuardia problem? (Link)

Photo Above By: Robert Couse-Baker                                                                     Post By: Sean Lewin

Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods

In January 2015 The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation released a new report: “Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods,” focusing on the variations of job access by transit throughout New York City.

Although public transit provides access to jobs throughout the New York City region, there are actually substantial inequalities in mobility. By focusing on the neighborhood level, the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation has identified communities that are substantially underserved by the public transportation system.

“In New York, mass transit is the path to economic mobility, not education,” Mitchell Moss, Rudin’s director, told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s far more important to have a MetroCard than a college degree.” (Gothamist)

In New York City neighborhoods where people are heavily dependent on transit but access to jobs via train or bus is mediocre, 67 percent of workers commute by transit. In these areas the average income is lower than the city average, at $46,773, and the unemployment rate is 11.7, the highest in the city.

“It’s exactly these commuters, who live just beyond the reach of convenient transit but lack the resources to own a private car, who could benefit most from improvements to the city’s transit network.” (Streetsblog)

The report recommends that policymakers increase the number of transportation modal options across the city, maximize use of existing transportation infrastructure, and foster the ability to work remotely. These solutions will benefit all New Yorkers’ access to job opportunities and economic improvement.

“We need to link transit to areas that aren’t likely to get a new subway system — using … a variety of buses, more customized buses to link people to the mass transit system,” [Moss] says. “In some cases it’s getting people to mass transit that’s the challenge.” (Vox)

 

This research was supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and Google.

 

Citi Bike and Gender

By Sarah Kaufman; Map by Jeff Ferzoco

As the city enters a long-awaited spring and the bikes emerge, so too might a pattern: according to Citi Bike’s public data, men are riding more – far more – than women, averaging three times more rides. Of subscriber-based rides in July through December 2013, men took 76.3% of all trips, and women 23.7%. What is the cause of this disparity, and how can it be resolved?

Women typically attribute reduced cycling numbers to safety among car traffic, and considering Citi Bike’s distribution across some of the most congested parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, lower female participation makes sense. Further analysis of the gender divide by bike share station shows that bike stations in Manhattan are predominantly used by men, while Brooklyn stations are more proportionately popular among women. Of the top ten stations for each gender, women preferred the Brooklyn residential neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, while men were overwhelmingly represented in bustling midtown Manhattan. Women also chose stations in areas with fewer lanes of traffic, more limited truck traffic, fewer collision-based cyclist injuries in recent memory, and in some cases, fast access to bridge entrances; men most often chose stations with more traffic, some truck traffic, some collision-based cyclist injuries, and, typically, connectivity to major transit hubs.

See the map below to explore these stations:

MapBaseforSketchTNv2 (2)

The station with the highest proportion of women, only 37.9%, is Station 266, the East Village’s 8th Street and Avenue D location. Although there is no dedicated bike lane on that block, the area has limited transit access, quieter traffic, and easy access to the tranquil East River waterfront and bridges.

The numbers of women bikers are universally important, since they teach us which locations are safe (and perceived to be). Station 266’s relative diversity can teach us a few things about biking in New York City: When it is (and feels) safe, people will bike as a last-mile transit solution, a connector to parks and recreation, and as a lifeline for improved job access from a distant location (ask an Avenue D resident if they would consider working in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a treacherous commute by transit; biking would essentially halve the travel time).

Women have a long favorable history with biking. In the 1890s, women discovered the bicycle as the best means of personal mobility, providing exercise, freedom from reliance on men for transportation, and reform of requirements for wearing unwieldy undergarments. According to suffragist Susan B. Anthony, biking had “done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” (source)

In 2014, a safe, active travel mode that complements transit is important for all New Yorkers, and as the system expands farther into the city’s residential reaches of Brooklyn, Queens and uptown Manhattan, we will likely see a more balanced use of the system. By comparison, Washington, DC’s Capital Bikeshare system extends into multiple lower-traffic residential areas like Clinton Hill, and the subscriber rate is a more balanced 55% male, 45% female. (source)

Removing the barriers to cycling will universalize biking’s appeal, and bike share will become a truly mature transportation mode integrated into NYC’s fabric of mobility.

Data note: Station proportions were calculated by number of trip starts by subscribers, the only users for whom gender data is available.

P.S. Enjoy data uses like the one here? Be sure to join us for the Citi Bike data showcase night on May 28.