Photo by jaymallinphotos on Flickr.

Tomorrow evening, DDOT is holding their public meeting on Capital Bikeshare expansion. Where should new stations go? Maps showing the current usage patterns can help us think about how to expand the system.

To what extent should CaBi add stations in the core, where current usage is heaviest and stations are most often empty or full? What about at the periphery, where usage is light today, but where the low density of stations might be the cause and more stations could bring in more users?

What about expanding stations versus adding more? This morning, Capital Bikeshare announced they’d moved the station at 17th and L to 17th and K, right near another station at the same corner. That let the station grow by 4 docks, but some people will have to walk one more block to reach a station. Several people aren’t happy about the change. Others debated whether it’s better to have more stations spread out evenly or more super-nodes with large numbers of bikes and docks?

Last month, Lydia DePillis posted data data for Capital Bikeshare usage. I created some maps grouping stations by how often they’re used.

I used Bikeshare station names to place the map markers, so they may not be exact. The first map shows all the stations that get an average of 50 trips (a trip is an origination or termination) or more per day. Dupont Circle is in blue, because it gets more than 100.

What’s interesting about this map is that near Dupont Circle, there is a tight cluster of 10 heavily used stations. While there were many caveats to SmartBike, it makes me wonder if that system, with its mere 10 stations, would have succeeded if it had served this area—bounded by Eye Street, 21st Street, Florida Avenue, and 14th Street—than the CBD it attempted to span.

The next map shows all stations with 25 trips per day:

This includes one station in Arlington, and might be considered the core of the system. Because there are few trips between Arlington and DC, it might make sense to treat the two areas as two systems. But clearly, where CaBi is concerned, the Crystal City Metro station is the Dupont Circle of Arlington.

Next are stations getting at least 12.5 trips per day:

These stations are, as you’d expect, all located farther from the CBD than the heavier used ones, with the possible exception of the one at 19th Street and E Street.

The next map is all stations that see 6.25 trips per day or more:

This really fills out Crystal City and upper Northwest.

Next are stations with at least 3.125 trips per day.

These stations finish out Crystal City and account for the stations near Catholic University, among a few others.

Finally, here are all of the stations. The ones used fewer than 3 times a day are light purple. I left two off the map, at Foggy Bottom Metro and Nannie Helen Burroughs & Minnesota Ave NE, because they were either not installed or not operable most of the time.

With the exception of the White House station, which is behind a security perimeter and one station in Edgewood, the light purple stations are all east of the Anacostia River.

Of course we’d expect the stations in the middle to be used the most. Likewise is true of Metro. That doesn’t mean that the peripheral bikeshare stations or Metro stations aren’t useful.

Additionally, much of this data has changed or will change as new stations are installed. However, this visualization should help demonstrate what Capital Bikeshare stations see the most and least usage.

What priorities should DDOT use to expand the system? You can weigh in at the meeting, Wednesday May 25, 6-8 pm at 441 4th Street NW (One Judiciary Square), room 1107, or email

Crossposted at the Washcycle.