Stacked: Study 1

In short: Each New York cab journey is a single line; the top is midnight, moving downwards through the day, and left to right is the day of the year.  Red means lots of cabs on the road, green means longer journeys, and blue shows how many people in the cab.

Description: 12 months of yellow cab data, broken down to a minute-by-minute picture. Where the previous radial studies were a development of the clock face, this is the equivalent development approach for the calendar. Each pixel is a minute of the year and the black-and-white images show the number of journeys, distance and number of passengers respectively. Combining them in the color-channels creates a relatively small image that contains, and lets the viewer interpret, a huge amount. The view shows an accessible number of trends from the large scale to the small. Features visible range from weather, sunset times and working hours to public holidays, local events and general behaviors. This however comes at the expense of identifying individual stories, which has been a theme in the other studies. The shape of the image is very basic and largely determined by the same information a calendar would hold, the power of it lies in the depth of the image and the reward that can result from longer, contemplative, viewing.

Point of interest: The apparent sparseness of yellow cab journeys at sunset in the summer of 2014. Whatever the stereotype of the average tough New Yorker is, it is nice to see that taking in a beautiful sunset before heading home is ubiquitous. Just don’t tell anyone.

Technical: 12 months of yellow cab trip data for 2014 available at The dimensions of the image are specific to denote a calendar-approach to the image, in so much that each pixel is a minute of the year. The width being days of the year and the height being each minute in the day (top to bottom). The final image is a combination of 3 images. Each journey is added to the image as a line from pick-up time to drop-off time, so each fare adds to the image as a vertical line. The red–channel is a summation of the numbers of cabs simultaneously delivering its fare. The green-channel is the average distance of each cab journey being undertaken at that time. The blue-channel is the average number of passengers in cabs at that time. Each of the three images are equalized before being combined.



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