Transit outage maps after Hurricane Sandy portrayed as dreamlike watercolors


    Image source: OpenTripPlanner Analyst project – the grey areas are places where public transit accessibility was most dramatically affected by Hurricane Sandy

    The Atlantic Cities published a short series of maps created by developers at OpenTripPlanner, an “open source platform for multimodal trip itinerary planning and network analysis.” These maps illustrate NYC transit access before and after Hurricane Sandy hit, and they look like beautiful watercolors, despite how frustrating that time was for so many. The contrasts are striking, too.

    As you probably remember, the majority of the trains were out for a little while – the R below 34th Street was out for some time, and the 1 train at South Ferry still will be closed for quite a while – and the ailing A train near Broad Channel in Jamaica Bay was totally trashed. The East River Ferry was a huge help, as was the ferry to and from the Rockaways.

    Anyway, about those maps. You can interpret them like this, as described by The Atlantic Cities:

    The yellow areas are the parts of the city that 7.5 million New Yorkers can reach from home in less than an hour by public transit and walking. The red areas are within an hour’s commute of 6 million people in the metropolitan area. The blue areas are accessible by 4 million people, and the gray areas by 2 million.

    Here’s before the storm:


    Image source: OpenTripPlanner Analyst project

    And here’s after Hurricane Sandy:


    Image source: OpenTripPlanner Analyst project

    It’s like much of the access got washed away – literally.

    More on the creation of these maps:

    These two maps were built using Census data and the OpenTripPlanner route-planning tool, a multi-modal, open-source platform that models travel itineraries for users (with the help of GTFS data feeds  [GoogleTransitDataFeed] from transit agencies, among other sources). Sandy effectively disabled all of the underwater subway tunnels connecting Manhattan with other parts of New York, dramatically altering the transit service for several days. When that happened, New Yorker Alastair Coote modified the public GTFS feed from the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority to remove the closed subway stations and account for added shuttle service after the storm. By doing that, he created an emergency route-planning tool using OpenTripPlanner to help New Yorkers navigate the city with dramatically reduced transit service.

    Byrd had meanwhile been experimenting with OpenTripPlanner as an instrument for urban-planning analysis. “This was kind of a perfect situation to apply it,” he says. Coote’s modified GTFS feeds created an opportunity to map mobility in the city in scenarios with normal and dramatically altered transit service.

    These maps are helpful in telling a story that is made up of a ton of data from multiple sources. Pretty interesting – and useful – stuff.

    The Best Maps We’ve Seen of Sandy’s Transit Outage in New York [The Atlantic Cities]
    Power and subway updates after Hurricane Sandy, Queens edition [QNYC]
    The Broad Channel subway station severely damaged, will be closed for months, thanks to Hurricane Sandy [QNYC]
    A train near Broad Channel in Jamaica Bay was totally trashed [QNYC]
    East River Ferry, a transit option for LIC/Hunters Point post-Hurricane Sandy [QNYC]
    Rockaways will have temporary ferry service starting Monday 11/12/12 [QNYC]

    What's Happening