Thursday, August 2, 2012

Subway snapshot

2011 New York City subway ridership (hold shift and click-and-drag to move the map):
2011 ridership information is taken from the New York MTA's website. Some of what I call "stations" are actually "station complexes," which are two or more connected stations--for example, Chambers Street/World Trade Center/Park Place. The MTA counts these complexes as one station in their statistics. Geographical coordinates are from Google Maps.

I didn't include shuttles, the 6/7 express trains, or night-only stops. The size of each circle is proportional to the number of riders who entered the system at a particular station, not the number of riders who pass through that station. For stations with connections--the ones that look like pie charts--the share of the pie is not proportional to each line's ridership, but is only meant to be a visual indicator of where lines cross. Mouse over each station for additional info, and let me know if I missed anything major or make any glaring errors.

The first thing that gets me about the New York City subway map is how cushy Brooklynites have it. Brooklyn has almost exactly twice as many stations/station complexes as Queens (157 versus 78), but fewer than 300,000 more people (2,532,645 versus 2,247,848). Subway stations in Queens accepted an average of 3.08 million riders each in 2011; those in Brooklyn, only 2.25 million.  (For the Bronx it's 2.16 million, and for Manhattan a whopping 7.6 million.)

And it's not just numbers. Many commuters from Queens basically have two major options--the 7 and the E/F/M/R, which run adjacent to each other for most of their length. Huge portions of the borough are completely unserviced by rail, while Brooklyn's riders have the luxury of relatively lightly-used lines crisscrossing most of its area. (Brooklyn is also around 15,000 acres smaller than Queens.)

Of course, Manhattan is where the real crush is. The borough has nine of the ten busiest stations in the system (at nearly 19 million riders in 2011, Flushing-Main Street in Queens manages a respectable tenth place), including Times Square (the busiest at over 60,000,000 riders), Grand Central (42.8 million) and three massive stations on 34th Street which together accepted nearly 90 million passengers in 2011. The large green bulges down the eastern side of Manhattan are a testament to the need for the in-the-works Second Avenue Subway line--those circles can't get much bigger than they already are with current infrastructure.

A few tidbits:
  • Only five stations connect four differently-colored lines: Times Square (red/blue/yellow/orange), Fulton Street (brown/red/green/blue), Court Square (purple/orange/light green/blue), 74 Street-Broadway/Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue (purple/yellow/orange/blue) and Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street (red/orange/yellow/green).
  • The stations furthest in each compass direction are: Wakefield/241 Street (north), West 8 Street-NY Aquarium (south), Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue (east) and Bay Ridge-95 Street (west). Yep: the most westerly station in the system is actually in Brooklyn. I'm so used to seeing the tilted and skewed MTA map that I assumed one of Manhattan's stations would take that title.
  • The system spans around .327 degrees of latitude and .275 degrees of longitude. That's about 22.6 miles north to south and 14.4 miles east to west.
  • The station with the lowest number of riders is Aqueduct Racetrack, with only 54,183 in 2011--but that's misleading since the station is only active on race days. Absent that one, Beach 105 Street on the A line in Queens is the most lightly-used with 80,580 passengers.
  • There are no lines that touch all four boroughs, nor is there any line that is completely contained within one borough. (Unless you count Staten Island's railway.)

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