Commute Tracking

I downloaded a GPS tracker last week and have started recording my commute home from work. I was quite pleased with the results so thought I might do this regularly just to see how it changes.

I work at one end of end of Lincoln Road and live at the other end, so my commute is pretty simple. I take a range of modes – mostly bike, frequently bus, and very occasionally drive.

The plot below shows my commute home one day last week – green shows sections where I was moving fast and red shows areas where I was slow or stopped. I got on the bus just before Hazeldean Road, travelled southbound for 2.5km, stopping at various bus stops and intersections along the way, then dismounted at Tankerville Street.

Every red dot is either a bus stop or a signalised intersection where we had to wait for a red light. The black bus icons denote bus stops – you can see that we stopped at all but one (the one just north of the Heathcote River).

I’ve also plotted this on a time-distance chart, together with another bus commute I did and also a bike commute I did. The chart below shows distance up the vertical axis and time along the horizontal axis. It then shows these three commutes as squiggly lines. (dark blue, light blue and green lines respectively). Where the lines are steep is where I’m travelling fast (covering lots of distance in not much time), and where the lines are flatter is where I’m travelling slower (covering only a little distance in a lot of time). Where the lines are horizontal is where I’m stopped.

I’ve also put on a background to show the region that is slower than 20km/h in red, the region between 20-25km/h in orange, and 25-30km/h in green.

I’ve then also put in labels to show where bus stops and intersections are.

My first bus trip took just over 7 minutes, at an average speed of a little over 20km/h. You can see that when the bus is travelling it’s going much quicker than this, but it stops a lot – 5 times for bus stops and 3 times for signalised intersections. The first section is quite slow, averaging less than 20km/h. This is expected as it’s through the more built-up Addington Village area with lots of side-friction. Once it clears this it speeds up, enough to get the trip average speed up over 20km/h.

My second bus trip follows a similar pattern, except that it travels much slower along the second half of the trip. This commute was slightly later than my first one and congestion was much worse. As a result the trip took 8 minutes at an average speed of just under 20km/h.

My bike trip looks quite different – less squiggly. I had a very constant speed of about 23 km/h and barely had to stop at all. I was quite lucky with the lights on this commute, with reds turning to green either as I approached or very shortly after I arrived at an intersection. As a result this bike trip was 30-60 seconds quicker than my two bus trips.

It’s very easy to do these plots – all you need is a GPS tracker on your phone. I thought I might do a few more of these, seeing as I’m commuting here every day anyway. I’m keen to get some car trips to see how they compare. CCC will be constructing bus lanes along this route next year (here), so I’m also quite interested in doing a few before and after trips to see how much of a difference the bus lanes make. I’d hope that the speeds gets faster and the intersection delays reduce. I’d guess that it might make my trip a minute faster perhaps, such that catching the bus would become faster than biking.

What would your commute look like on one of these plots?

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