Have you ever wondered which areas of New York City are the most popular? You need not worry anymore, this little movie will answer your questions. The video shows the dynamics of pick-ups and drop-offs within a representative week. It is interesting to see how the popularity of areas changes over the course of a day, and how certain areas attract more attention during nighttime. To me the circadian patterns resembles a heartbeat.
I’m doing this for fun, but as it turns out this amazing data-set has attracted the interest of multiple research groups. A particularly interesting study, that investigated the benefits of ride-sharing, was recently published in PNAS by Michael Szell and collaborators (link). The authors demonstrate methods that reduce service cost, emissions, and the cumulative trip length by 40%.
Another project, Hubcab, has produced stunning visualizations of the data (check it out here). It further lets you explore the data for yourself. Giving interested individuals without a data science background an opportunity to study how millions of New Yorkers take and share cabs.