Click on your location and see how many minutes you could save by integrating buses into your journey—mapped in vivid color.

Compared to subways, buses tend to lose. "Their routes are byzantine, their schedules confusing, and they don’t really shine in the whole inter-borough getting-to-work department," writes NYC data visualizer Jonathan Soma. "If you’re like most New Yorkers, your first choice is usually the subway."

But perhaps the four-wheeled workhorses deserve a bit more credit. At visualizing.nyc, Soma defends their case with a revealing interactive, "Transit Battle NYC." Click on a location, and the map generates in vivid color how many minutes New Yorkers could save by integrating buses into their city sojourns.

Not on work commutes, necessarily. But trips to further flung destinations (or by contrast, within your borough, with the exception of most of Manhattan) speed up remarkably with a bus/subway combo.

Soma tells CityLab that he based the time estimates using data feeds from MTA, and ran them through OpenTripPlanner. And if you're wondering, isn't taking the bus often slower than the subway?, Soma replies yes, but he had these design considerations in mind:

Measuring both faster and slower means only having two colors, and it isn't nearly as pretty as one direction with tons of colors, so I went ahead and made it subway vs. subway+bus. Because if you're taking the bus, you're probably okay with taking the subway, too, right? And that way subway+bus is always either the same as or faster than the subway, so it's all positive numbers and we can invite lots of colors to hang out.

If you opt for subway versus bus or bus versus subway, however, it'll still only show what's fastest—what's slower is counted as "same-ish."

What the map excels at is revealing those secret spots that bus routes serve best. Brooklyn, west of Prospect Park, is chock full of bus-lovin' destinations, which Soma details, among many others across the boroughs, here.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of a full parking lot with a double rainbow over it
    Transportation

    Parking Reform Will Save the City

    Cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability. But we can break the vicious cycle.   

  2. Life

    American Migration Patterns Should Terrify the GOP

    Millennial movers have hastened the growth of left-leaning metros in southern red states such as Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. It could be the biggest political story of the 2020s.

  3. Life

    Mapping the Changing Colors of Fall Across the U.S.

    Much of the country won’t see those vibrant oranges and reds until mid-October, which leaves plenty of time for leaf peepers to plan their autumn road trips.

  4. A woman looks straight at camera with others people and trees in background.
    Equity

    Why Pittsburgh Is the Worst City for Black Women, in 6 Charts

    Pittsburgh is the worst place for black women to live in for just about every indicator of livability, says the city’s Gender Equity Commission.

  5. Transportation

    Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?

    In Japan, small children take the subway and run errands alone, no parent in sight. The reason why has more to do with social trust than self-reliance.

×