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Big Data analysis of 50m+ global transit users reveals key trends.

Posted by Emily O'Dowd on Dec 20, 2016

Did you know that 52% of ACapture-6.jpgmerican citizens spend an hour or less per day commuting? Or that 30% of LA riders travel more than 7.5 miles each trip? And 35% of Philadelphia riders say they spend more than two hours per day on transit?

Probably not. These statistics, plus a host of other insights have been provided by transit app, Moovit who have taken an in-depth look at its users transit trends. In its annual Global Transit Usage Report, their analysis has tracked tens of millions of trip requests in cities across the world to map global travel trends. The app collected data over three months (August-October 2016). Its US users were tracked in Boston, New York, Washington D.C, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Moovit monitored wait time, total trip time, percentage of riders that spend more than two hours on their commute and numbers of transfers. Surprisingly, this Big Data style assesement has also revealed that US public transit compare alongside worldwide averages to demonstrate how demand for public transport is growing. Figures convey that the San Francisco Bay Area is the best metropolitan area whilst Boston is ranked second but wins the shortest commute distance category. So what else did they find out about our daily travels? 

Moovit ( @moovit ) started up in 2013 and since then 50 million users have now downloaded the free transit app that is an average two million downloads each month. The Israeli software company operates in 1200 cities and 68 countries. Its mobility app has recently been ranked by Google as one of the top five Best Local Apps of 2016. So what does it do? Moovit provides real-time public transit information as well as GPS navigation across different modes of transport including transits, buses, metros, trams etc. The user is also able to access a live map and allows them to plan trips according to real-time data.

Moovit VP of Products and Marketing, Yovav Meydad, said : “No other transit app or service has as much rich and relevant data about the world’s mass transit riders as Moovit, and we’re proud to share some of it in our annual Global Transit Usage Report. We derived the data from our Moovit community of more than 120,000 local editors and contributors, and a user base of more than 50 million mass transit riders. Moovit enables people to travel smarter in their cities, making journeys more reliable with the provision of highly accurate real time information.”

To learn about the latest technology emerging in the rail industry, find out more about the 7th annual SmartRail Europe featuring among other confirmed speakers: Vish Kalsapura, Principle Engineer, Digital Railway, Network Rail, Stefan Engdahl, Executive Director, Marketing and Planning, Trafikwerket and Paul Boyle, Head of ERTMS, Virgin Trains. Read the full agenda here.

Big Data means the Moovit is more than just an app, the information it generates can be used to benefit other areas in transportation industry. Last month SmartRail World interviewed David Klein, the North American Manager, Moovit in our weekly ‘5 minutes with.’ He discussed some of the challenges Moovit had faced in the industry: “There are so many great government agencies, companies, and even on-trend activities that engage with public transit daily. I have to ensure I'm engaged with partnerships that will be impactful. Especially as new relationships requires time and effort from both Moovit and our partners, so I want to ensure we create something meaningful for each other with our users front of mind.”

Big Data analysis of 50m+ global transit users reveals key trends (Image via Moovit)

Moovit does however have a range of competitors including: Travellution, Go Euro, Gogobot, Go2it and fromAtoB. But the information provided on these apps just rely on data which is already public. Whereas Moovit relies on crowdsourced data which informs its users if a bus station that might be out of service along with an up-to-date photo. As a result, it will show the most accurate timings before an individual sets off on their journey.

moooovit.pngThe big data is definitely another advantage for Moovit: “Our Public Transit Usage Report from the Big Data analysed daily has revealed some fascinating insights about how we are traveling on local transit around the world,” Meydad said. “From the potential wait times between transfers to how long it takes for us to get to a stop, data extracted from the journeys of our users paint a colourful and hugely valuable picture of the infrastructure supporting the day-to-day commuting and traveling habits of residents and visitors.”

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Here are a list of more statistics provided by Moovit: 

Daily wait times –

  • In San Francisco and New York, 52 percent wait less than 10 minutes per day
  • 66 percent of LA riders wait 10 minutes or longer

Total daily commute time –

  • 24% of Bostonians spend 30 minutes a day or less
  • In the Bay Area, 38% don’t need to transfer and can get where they’re going using one line
  • LA wins the terrible transfer title with 11% of riders having to take four or more lines

Number of lines used per trip –

  • Thirty percent of LA riders travel more than 7.5 miles each trip
  • Boston also has the smallest percentage of riders – 12% – travelling more than 7.5 miles

Total trip distance –

  • Bostonians have the shortest commute at 4.3 miles per trip on average
  • 30% of LA riders travel more than 7.5 miles each trip

Total average walking distance per trip -

  • Boston has the largest percentage of riders — 23% — with the shortest total walking distance of under 0.15 miles or 820 feet.
  • New Yorkers have to do the least amount of walking, coming in well under half a mile (0.43)

The full Moovit report can be read here.

Some of the latest technology innovations and Big data and the rail industry then check out: 

An open data compilation from 270 U.S. transit agencies is released by the DOT.

New optical fibre solution to improve maintenance and monitoring to launch in Singapore.

MTA to deliver smart ticketing for smart New Yorkers.


Read the Rail and Metro Innovation Guide 2017

Topics: innovation, urban mobility

Emily O'Dowd

Written by Emily O'Dowd

On graduating with a degree in English Literature at Royal Holloway University of London, Emily joined the editorial team. When she isn't writing articles for the website or interviewing experts in the industry she enjoys reading, running and sailing.

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