The Busiest Stations on the London Underground

Project Description

With the Tube’s 150th anniversary celebrated this year it seemed pertinent to see how the oldest metro system in the world was performing. To that end the visualization shows data on the number of people using each London Underground station on a typical day.

The three largest show the great transport hubs of the capital, with trains leading all over the country and on to Europe: Waterloo, Victoria and King’s Cross St. Pancras. The streets of excellent shopping are obvious from the activity at Oxford Circus, and further down the draw of the West End has given a boost to Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus above their immediate neighbors.

Among the surprises is the relative paucity of traffic through Baker Street, a frequent stop for those venturing deeper into the capital thanks to its placement on five separate lines. Despite its history — it is among the train stations passed on that first journey 150 years ago — it is now a junction in the middle of the journey rather than a destination in its own right.

Feel free to interrogate the data above, have a look at your own commute, or if you wish to look in greater detail, click the button to jump straight to the application, or read below for how you might do it yourself.

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Locating the data

Transport for London offers an abundance of data on its performance, including live updates on current transport movements and performance figures for each of its major transport networks. The figures we wanted on the Underground’s total entry and exit figures came from the TFL website’s corporate section.

This gave us the average traffic in and out of the station on a weekday or weekend, allowing us to not only compare the volume of people moving through each station but also how it changes over the week. Visualizing the data, however, requires the precise locations of each station.

The coordinates of latitude and longitude for each station we found on Openstreetmaps, a website dedicated to open source mapping information ideal for our purposes. Now we were ready to structure the data into a readable form so that Mapsdata can visualize it.

Structuring data:

The data then needed to be combined and structured for it to import correctly. Excel’s VLookup function allows you to match each station with the equivalent location quickly, which accounts for most of the work, and beyond that all that is required is insuring clear column titles on a single row, with no extraneous columns. You only need the station name, the coordinates for the location, and the relevant data, with a single row for column titles. For a more complete demonstration of how we did, watch the video at the bottom of the page. The image details how the prepared data should appear, and if you wish to try visualizing for yourself you may download the finished data by clicking the button below.

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Visualizing data

Now the data is ready to visualize. We loaded the data into the Mapsdata app, and were able to visualize a bubblemap that represented the weekday footfall at each station and switch quickly between the other data sets, comparing weekday traffic to weekend or comparing the annual totals. If you wish to see how we did this in further detail, you can watch our youtube video, or if you want to look further into the data click the button below to try Mapsdata right now,

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