Congestion and Public Transit Use

By Ross Perez 2010/07/06

Traffic is the enemy of nearly every city dwelling American. Efforts to promote "green" commutes and reduce congestion have attracted significant attention for years, but one only has to commute home to see how effective they have been. This visualization shows that every major city in the US has suffered increased congestion in the years since 1982. Click on your hometown in the list below to see how public transit ridership and congestion have changed over time.

In this view, the blue "worms" represent cities grouped by population (large, medium, etc). The line gets darker as time goes on. In this view, small cities have a line creeping up and to the left, so they are experiencing lower per capita public transit ridership and more congestion.

It's not that cities are reducing public transit options, there is just no way that static infrastructure can cope with the massive population increases seen in most American cities (especially the smaller ones). Either populations will have to decrease, or infrastructure and public transit spending will have to massively increase.

How'd they do that?

Scatter plot spark lines: The "worms" seen here are a quick and easy way to show how values change over time. Simply put your time value on the Path shelf, and the category you want to separate your fields with on the Level of Detail, Text or Color shelves, as shown below (Population Group). Provided you have two measures on Columns and Rows as in all scatters, you should be off and running!

non-humans click here