Visualizing MBTA Data

Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) operates the 4th busiest subway system in the U.S. after New York, Washington, and Chicago. If you live in or around the city you have probably ridden on it. The MBTA recently began publishing substantial amount of subway data through its public APIs. They provide the full schedule in General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format which powers Google’s transit directions. They also publish realtime train locations for the Red, Orange, and Blue lines (but no Green or Silver line until 2015). The following visualizations use data captured from these feeds for the entire month of February, 2014. Also, working with the MBTA, we were able to acquire per-minute entry and exit counts at each station measured at the turnstiles used for payment.
We attempt to present this information to help people in Boston better understand the trains, how people use the trains, and how the people and trains interact with each other.