job: Ridership Data Technician in Baltimore

Here's an opportunity perfect for someone who is interested in transit data and monitoring. 

Via Baltimore MTA, the region's transit agency:

If you or someone you know likes data collection and analysis on a large scale and wants to put those skills to use in public transit, then there’s a new opportunity in the MTA’s Office of Service Development – The Ridership Data Technician (or RDT).

Full details and to apply:

MTA’s use of Automated Passenger Counters (APCs) continues to grow. We are just really getting started and are looking for an innovative and tech- and data-savvy person to join our team to take our APC program to the next level – allowing better planning, analysis, scheduling, and reporting for stakeholders inside and outside the agency.

If you’re interested, apply using the link above. Or, feel free to forward to someone you know that might be a good fit.

It sounds like a great position for someone who is familiar with APCs and current methods, and who has ideas about exciting new places to take this type of data. If that's you, or someone you know, it could be worth a look!

frequent network maps: baltimore

Another unofficial frequent network map, this time via Human Transit reader and Envision Baltimore contributer Marc Szarkowski: 


Baltimore Frequent Network

You can see the full size version here. This map uses color to differentiate between linear and loop routes, and line weight to denote frequency. Compare this to MTA's current system map, showing the same part of the city:

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.45.04

Existing Baltimore MTA map

MTA's map uses a variety of colors to depict individual routes, but without assigning them significant qualities (though green and blue appear to be reserved for different kinds of commuter expresses). The seemingly arbitrary assignment of colors to local routes creates a cluttered, confusing visual effect, and obscures the quality of service provided by each route.

On the other hand, Marc's map distinguishes which routes on which roads provide which level of service, using a simple 5-color scheme differentiating linear and circulator routes, rail, rapid bus, and ferries.  Frequent service is clear as a dark wide line, with its color indicating technology.  This visualization is very information-rich,  offers a clear improvement to the MTA map in its utility as a description of the service available to MTA riders.The image below is a snapshot of the legend from this map:

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 12.12.27

Marc writes:

The radial nature of the network is also why I decided to group services into a limited color palette, like the WMATA map. Originally I intended to assign each route its own color, as in the Leeds or Portland maps, but so many routes crowded together in so many areas as they headed downtown that it was difficult to fit the whole "spectrum" on certain streets/corridors. (I think this is why even the MTA regional map, which does use a wider color range, still has to resort to using a single line for all buses in central Balto.) If the network was more emphatically organized on a grid, as you advocate, assigning individual route colors would be a lot easier since the map wouldn't have to display as many redundancies.

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 12.02.01 In the image at left, for example, the visual prominence of the blue lines for Route 5 clearly communicate its higher level of service, compared to Route 91 several blocks north. The directional arrows attached to the route labels are also a nice, unobtrusive touch; transit maps can often become unecessarily cluttered with these symbols, particularly in systems with many looping routes.  Marc's map does a nice job of providing this necessary information at a relatively low level in the visual hierarchy. 

Intelligently designed maps like this one show opportunities for connection, and the relative importance and usefulness of the system's transit routes These maps work by exposing the degree of freedom of mobility available to a transit rider.