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Open Data Practices Still Catching Up With Bike Metrics in New York

A new report released by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) shows a steady increase in the number of bikers in the city. A lack of data, however, continues to be a problem for accurate assessment of the trend.
May 7, 2016, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Biking in New York City has been rising at a steady clip, according to a new report from NYC DOT, increasing about 50 percent between 2010 and 2014," reports Ben Fried.

Tempering Fried's excitement about the growing number of bikers in the city are the glaring omissions in the report: "What’s not so clear is how things changed in 2015, because the report lacks key information about bike traffic on the Hudson River Greenway."

The "Cycling in the City" report [pdf] combines data from the U.S. Census, a city Department of Health survey, and the DOT bike counts. "In some ways the report is a step up from the annual cycling metrics DOT has released in the past, which only included the DOT bike counts," writes Fried. "Folding in the Census bike commute numbers and health department survey data yields a more complete view of citywide and borough-by-borough cycling trends."

The problem begins in 2015, explains Fried. Because the report lacks "counts of cyclists on the Hudson River Greenway and 50th Street, or at the Whitehall ferry terminal" in 2015, it's impossible to compare that year to the years previous. Friend offers this recommendation: "Instead of waiting for DOT to release a report with all of these stats each year, the city should be publishing them as feeds on its open data portal, giving New Yorkers access to all the underlying numbers."

The article also includes a series of information-packed graphics to illustrate the trends in biking around the city.

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Published on Friday, May 6, 2016 in StreetsBlog NYC
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