Timeline Based Exploration of Traffic Patterns

Irene Ros offers a way to analyze traffic data in a fresh and exciting way. The visualization lets you explore traffic patterns of MBTA commuters across the various lines and stations over a single day.


The visualzation is based on the “Theme River” visualization method we’ve seen in the Last.FM Visualization for example. Now instead of a linear timeline, Irene “wrapped” the graph around the 24 hour clock. This makes sense as the data represents only average numbers for any day.

Speaking of the data, here’s how to read the visualization:
The length of a wedge represents the amount of passengers per hour. So, it comes down to comparing the length of the wedges to see where and when more people pass a station. I have to say that comparing bars that are ordered around a circle isn’t the most intuitive way to compare their length.

The application lets the user choose between the different transportation lines or view them altogether. After clicking on a wedge a bar chart appears that displays the absolute numbers thus making comparing much easier.

The project was released as part of the Visualization Challenge by the Executive Office of Transportation. SVG is used to visualize the data with the help of Raphaël JS. More information can be found on the project website.

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