Time lapsed Traffic Data Illuminates US Cities 13

Topic Tag | Engineering

The Art of The Commute: Time-lapsed Traffic Data Illuminates US Cities [Part 1/3]

At Drivemode we see a lot of data on driving trends and very often our data reports show the challenges of commuting to and from work. From very long and slow drives to dangerously high speeding, it can be difficult to find the silver lining in all that drivetime. However, the Drivemode data team took a break from tables and charts to show a brighter side of traffic trends through a series of striking data visualization videos. Looking at Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC, we see traffic ebb and flow from early morning to rush hour, lunch lulls to evening rush, and the slow decrease of late night travels.

Represented in each video is the start and end point of each Drivemode journey taken in the respective city from January 2017 through May 2018, connected by an arc. The brightness of the arc shows how long it takes to drive one mile; the brighter the arc, the slower the traffic moved for that trip.

In a time-lapse style, each video shows one normalized hour-by-hour progression from midnight to midnight, mapping hundreds of thousands of miles driven during each of those hour windows. Drivers coming in and out of city limits are included in the mapping, as long as 70% of their trip was within the metro area.

As the hours progress, the busiest aggregated morning and evening times are revealed by the increasing density of arcs; there we can pinpoint the 20-minute time periods in which each metro experienced peak traffic.

The following chart shows the start of those 20-minute periods during both the morning and the evening commute.

US Metro Most Morning Traffic Most Evening Traffic
Atlanta 6:24am 4:56pm
Boston 6:23am 4:57pm
Chicago 6:23am 4:57pm
Denver 6:57am 4:56pm
Houston 7:12am 4:57pm
Los Angeles 6:57am 4:57pm
Miami 7:12am 4:24pm
New York 7:31am 4:57pm
San Francisco 7:31am 4:57pm
Seattle 6:24am 3:52pm
Washington DC 6:57am 4:57pm

“Like fireworks lighting up a night sky, this artful view of metropolitan driving trends reminds us that there is more to our travels than just miles logged and minutes clocked,” said Yo Koga, CEO and founder of Drivemode. “There is unique beauty in how communties move through space and time, and we are delighted that Drivemode data can illuminate that beauty.”

“These images also show the ebbs and flows of traffic around the clock, which allow us to pinpoint the exact times with the most and least traffic on area roadways. Motorists with flexibility in their schedules can use that information to hit the roads when they’ll encounter fewer fellow drivers, undoubtedly saving themselves the headaches that come with enduring excruciating traffic.”

Below are the videos for four of the eleven cities we've animated. Watch this space for the next group!