One thing that we don’t do very well in Victoria is open transport data.
For some reason, there has seldom been a period of time over the past few decades when comprehensive, consistent and up-to-date data has been available for transport in this state. This contrasts with places like the UK, which has a dedicated agency and website for releasing, managing and updating transport data.
However, there are a few exceptions.
In 2017, PTV released a large amount of bus stop usage data for Melbourne and some regional centres. This only covered 2015-16 but is a very interesting dataset.
Unfortunately, because no comparable public data is available in the same format and with the same methodology, this provides us little more than a brief snapshot of what the bus patronage picture looks like at a particular period of time.
Nevertheless, I have converted the raw data into a mappable format (see below for details) and come up with this interactive map showing daily bus stop patronage across Victoria for 2015-16.
The tools used to make this map are:
- QGIS 3.4
- Microsoft Excel
The data used is in the next section below.
In a nutshell, the process to create this map was:
- Download the bus stop patronage data and bus stop location data from the Victorian Government’s data portal
- Download bus route data for Melbourne and relevant Victorian locations from OpenStreetMap using Overpass.eu
- Clean up patronage data in QGIS (I may have missed some, but there are a lot of ‘default’ myki locations for different regions of Melbourne and Victoria that I had to remove)
- Perform a geospatial join of bus stop locations (using X,Y coordinates) and patronage information
- Load new combined data into Mapbox
- Styled and coded using Mapbox
Some observations about the data:
- You can see the well-used trunk and orbital Smartbus routes, e.g. 200/207 through Abbotsford, 903 around the suburbs
- Station interchanges show up very easily
- High usage at Huntingdale Station and Monash University (Clayton)
- Interchanges with the route 19 tram along Sydney Road and route 86 tram along High Street/Plenty Road show up
- Differences between school and non-school weekdays are quite significant at some locations