Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2014 Hubway Season Begins: A Look Back on 2013

Hubway launch event with dignitaries on bikes.
Mayor Curtatone takes part in the ceremonial first docking.
Spring is finally upon us, and that means Hubway season has begun. Mayor Curtatone officially kicked things off a few weeks ago at the Hubway Grand Reopening Party, and you may have noticed stations popping up around town, including four new ones added last fall at Teele Square, Packard Ave. at Powderhouse Blvd., Somerville Hospital, and Summer at Cutter. In honor of warmer temperatures (and lots of good biking days) ahead, here's a recap on last season’s Hubway usage here in Somerville.

Hubway collects and analyzes oodles of data from the system to track its progress from year to year, month to month, and even day to day. This data includes things like number of trips per day, number of new memberships, number and type of repairs, amount of time a station is in or out of service, and distribution of bikes around the system.

A graph showing an increase in Hubway ridership in Somerville from August 2012 to November 2013.Ridership is Up
While we had a sense anecdotally that a lot more people were using Hubway last year than in 2012, the first year of its operation, it was good to have that confirmed by the numbers. Hubway usage in Somerville was up dramatically in 2013, with even the slowest month (April) surpassing the previous year’s busiest one (October).

People in Somerville took over 35,000 rides last season. September -- when the weather was still warm, students and tourists were in town, and there was a host of great events to bike to -- was the busiest month for Hubway yet, with Somerville users logging over 6,000 rides.

A graph showing an increasing number of rides to and from Somerville Hubway station.

The numbers for total trips to and from Somerville Hubway stations tell a similar story, and memberships for Somerville residents increased sharply in 2013, after rising steadily the previous year and plateauing over the winter months.

A graph showing a sharp increase of Hubway members in Somerville.

Calories Burned, Carbon Reduced & More Fun Facts

Hubway also tracks calories burned and carbon offset. In just one month last year, Somerville residents burned 177,000 calories using Hubway and prevented 2,758 pounds of carbon from being pumped into the atmosphere by cars or other forms of transportation.

Here’s some more interesting system-wide data, also taken from the same month last year:

  • Hubway saw fairly consistent ridership throughout the week, but Monday and Friday were the busiest days, while Sunday was the slowest
  • The average trip duration for members was ten minutes, while the average trip duration for non-members was about 20 minutes
  • The average trip distance for members was just over a mile, while the average trip distance for non-members was closer to 1.3 miles (given the above, those members biked fast!)

Finally, Hubway riders have traveled a total of over 1.7 million miles since the system opened, which is the equivalent of 68 trips around the Earth’s equator or seven trips to the moon.

You’ll find interesting representations of this and other data from the Hubway Data Visualization Challenge, and of course, if there are other Somerville-specific data you’d like to see, let us know. You can also check on real-time bike availability at stations throughout Hubway’s network using the Hubway Tracker.

Stay tuned for more updates on Hubway and biking in Somerville generally, including the results of our 2013 bike and pedestrian count (you can read about the 2012 results here and here). Enjoy the warmer weather, and bike safely!


  1. These numbers look fantastic, and really point to Hubway being a highly desirable asset.

    What I'd like to know is whether the pilot experiment of keeping Hubway in Cambridge operational over last winter was considered a success and if the pilot will be continued this winter and expanded into Somerville?

    1. We are definitely interested in year-round service, but we’re still reviewing the data from Cambridge’s pilot.

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