Divvy Releases Trove of Bike-Share Trip Data

Shaun Jacobsen shared a preview screenshot of his entry that shows a major portion of West Loop trips are between the Loop, and another big portion of trips is within the West Loop.
Transitized’s Shaun Jacobsen created a graphic that shows a major portion of West Loop trips are to and from the Loop.

Last week CDOT released data for all Divvy trips taken by members and 24-hour pass holders in 2013, and the agency is looking for the public’s help in uncovering any patterns. The data includes the station where the trip began, the station where it ended, start time, end time, and whether the user had a membership or 24-hour pass.

If the user had a membership, their gender — indicated on the website when they signed up for a membership — and birth year were included for basic demographics. The data sheds light on where people are using the new transit system and how often. During the 187 days of service in 2013, users made 759,788 trips.

Immediately after the release, Chicago Spectrum, an LGBT-focused news site, published a simple graph that shows women accounted for only 21 percent of trips by yearly members. As Divvy Deputy Manager Elliot Greenberger described at last week’s Open Gov Hack Night event, women comprise 31 percent of the yearly members. Nationally, women make up an estimated 43 percent of bike-share users. I’ll be investigating why Chicago women are using their memberships less than men in a future post.

To highlight more insights embedded in the data, and to help people visualize it, Divvy is giving away some prizes in a “data challenge.” The company is asking for “infographics, maps, images, animations, or websites” that help illustrate usage patterns. Entries are due March 11.

Winning entries in the five categories will be displayed at 1871, the tech startup center at the Merchandise Mart that hosts Hack Night. If you’re interested in submitting a project, review the data challenge rules and get acquainted with the data on the Bike Sharing Data website.

Shaun Jacobsen offered the above preview of his submission, Divvy Spokes, which shows the trip flows between neighborhoods. When it’s finished, users will be able to click on a neighborhood to emphasize the trip flows to and from that neighborhood.

Here are some other interesting statistics that jumped out in my initial review:

  • 24-hour pass holders made 47 percent of total trips, but for longer durations than annual members, incurring more overage fees.
  • The average trip duration for 24-hour pass holders was just over 30 minutes while for members it was only 12 minutes.
  • The average trip distance for 24-hour pass holders was 1.8 miles while for members it was 1.6 miles.
  • When it comes to greater-than-average trip distances, compared to members, 24-hour pass users made 25 percent more trips of two miles or longer.
  • Only 29.2 percent of trips by members and casual users exceeded two miles and only 5.8 percent of trips exceeded four miles.
  • Katja

    Even though anecdotal evidence is not hyper useful, I can tell you that I (as a woman with an annual Divvy membership) use mine somewhat less than my boyfriend because the area in which he works (Old Town, near the river) is much more bike-friendly than where I work (West Loop, near the river). I don’t mind taking a Divvy from the French Market or Clinton Green/Pink line, the two stations closest to my office, to points north or west. Going into the Loop on a Divvy is somehow terrifying.

  • Peter

    Cool Graphic

  • alexfrancisburchard

    I love biking down Lake Street. It feels pretty comfy to me, It never really moves fast during the day, and there’s two lanes so, one for me, and one for cars! Plus there’s the awesome downhill from Wacker down into the loop!

    Also, as a train lover, riding under the L is always fun!

  • Katja

    See, I never know where to go on Lake. If you go in the right most lane, outside of the L tracks, you frequently get almost-doored or right hooked. If you go under the L tracks on a Divvy, you get cars trying to cut by you on the left.

  • alexfrancisburchard

    I just hang out in the right thru lane, unless I need to pass someone turning right(in which case I do a shoulder check and move left shortly). The lanes outside the tracks are parking only lanes, so I would never ever ride down those. I’ll use them as slow down to dismount, but that is ALL. They are not remotely safe places to bike, IMO.

    As long as you ride in the center of the lane, it will force people to fully move into the left lane to pass you, then it may be less scary – I mean, people will always be assholes, and some will cut close, but 99% will respect your space and move all the way over to pass. Plus, Lake almost always has extra capacity for them to pass in, that’s another nice thing about it – when I’m in the loop, its never actually THAT busy.

    The part I get confused about is after going under Ogilvie stn. The road is too wide and I don’t really know where to hang out – but its only a block so….

  • Katja

    Do you mean the Metra tracks between Clinton and Canal? Yeah, that’s a weird part.

    Hm. I’ll have to give Lake another go next time I need to bike somewhere into the loop without my own faithful steed. Thanks!

  • alexfrancisburchard

    Yeah, between the metra tracks and Wacker is a mess IMO. Under the metra tracks I worry about being visible, but, I at least know where I should ride.

  • I’ve talked to a lot of Chicago women for the article I’m writing.

    It’s interesting that you mention West Loop because as you can see from the graphic, based on the width of the West Loop part of the circle, it’s the second most active neighborhood, after Loop and before River North.

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    If I’m taking fewer Divvy trips than my boyfriend, it’s because I work from home and he commutes by bus or Divvy plus the ‘L’ every weekday.

    When I’m going on a longer trip, like the day I took Divvy from IIT to the Hancock Building, I docksurf to avoid overage fees. Are Divvy and data challenge participants able to identify these as single trips with docksurfing, or are they being counted as multiple trips and skewing the average trip length shorter? Annual members tend to have the Divvy location app and know where stations are located, making it easier to docksurf.

  • Guest

    Is the South Loop considered part of the Loop in the diagram?

  • I’m really interested to see how the data balances out after a full year of operation. I bet areas like Old Town, that were slow to get stations, emerge as more popular than shown in that graphic. Good job!

  • Christine Price

    They are being counted as multiple trips, but if you are clever you can use SQL to “connect” the trips into one (but only for annual pass holders, not for day pass holders)

  • @disqus_rplM193lY4:disqus is right.

    While the data don’t have a field that allows you to track a specific member over a day, it does have a “bike ID” field so if you check out the same bike within a few seconds then the challenge participants can follow that bike and assume it’s it the same Divvy member.

  • Some parts are. Shaun used this neighborhood data from the City of Chicago’s data portal.


    The South Loop is divided into Loop, Printer’s Row, and Near South Side districts.

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    I’m afraid docksurfing is going to confound a lot of metrics, including time, distance and even starting and ending neighborhoods like Shaun’s shown. If I think I *might* go over 30 minutes, I’ll proactively docksurf. If my bike’s dirty or squeaky, I’ll trade up when I docksurf, so it’s not necessarily the same bike ID. Sometimes it’s more than a few seconds because I hang out and check my email, tweet bike-lane photos, check the Divvy app for the station nearest my destination, and talk to tourists about Divvy before checking out a bike again.

  • Christine Price

    Hmm I would comment but I don’t want to give away my (obvious if you look at the data) cleverness that I’m using for my contest entry :)

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    Oh, I think I know what you’re doing! I hope the other contest entrants do that too.

  • Katja

    Yeah. I normally ride my own bike. If I don’t, I might not take Divvy because I don’t have a helmet with me and am paranoid about my brainmeats.

    I would suppose that Divvy’s popularity in the WL is due to there being not a huge number of other transit options. It’s just far enough from the Loop to be an onerous walk at lunch or after work, but close enough that you can get there in less than 10 on a Divvy.

  • I’m doing some more analysis for my follow up article… one of the women I interviewed ask what the trip share was before October and before November. The trip share was just barely higher in these two periods than the whole periods. Note that all stations were installed by the end of October.


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