Posts Tagged ‘district’

Transit on Thursday

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

nytimes dc taxi picThe New York Time’s Ariel Sabar has an article on today’s switch-over to time-distance meters for Washington DC cabs: Adopting Meters, Washington Ends Taxi Zone System. The first few graphs:

Over the objections of cabdrivers, the District of Columbia is set on Thursday to scrap its seven-decade-old method of calculating taxi fares. Conventional time-and-distance meters will replace a system based on geographic zones.

The District was the only major American city to base fares on how many zones a cab crossed. Many riders, particularly out-of-town visitors, found the system of 23 zones confusing. Critics said it was too easy for unscrupulous drivers to overcharge.

‘The riding public asked for a more transparent fare system, and the mayor responded,’ Leon J. Swain Jr., chairman of the Taxicab Commission, said in a phone interview. Continue reading . . . 

Back up in New York the Times also covers a revision to the subway map made by Massimo Vignelli for the May edition of Men’s Vogue.

ny metro map comparions

Returning to DC, the WMATA subway and bus authority considered expanding our own system after the Feds breathed new steam into the planned Silver Line from Falls Church to Dulles International Airport and beyond to Loudoun County, the fastest growing country in the US recent years.

dc metro 2030 view

Dangerous Walkways, Walkers Beware!

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

In the Washington region, pedestrians are most at risk in Fairfax, Prince George’s and Prince William counties, according to a new report. University Boulevard in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties is the deadliest road in the area. Read the full Washington Post story…

dangerou walkways map

SOURCES: Coalition for Smarter Growth; Fairfax and Arlington county governments | GRAPHIC: By Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Mary Kate Cannistra and April Umminger, The Washington Post – April 23, 2008 

DC Taxi Fare Switch to Meters Final June 1st?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

taxi yellow cabThe Washington Post reports today the District has won round 1 against the cab drivers in the battle over zones and meters in the nation’s capitol. 

(From The Washington Post) D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said today cabdrivers must install meters by the May 1 deadline or face $1,000 fines. 

Drivers who are caught without meters will receive a warning ticket for infractions from May 1 through May 31. They must then install a meter or the warning will convert to the $1,000 fine.

Beginning June 1, drivers without meters will receive the fines each time they are caught. Taxi inspectors will conduct spot checks and the police department will assist them. 

Fenty (D) won a significant court ruling yesterday in favor of his plan to require time-and-distance meters in all city cabs, while taxi drivers said they will continue their legal fight to keep the decades-old zone-fare system.  

Read the full story here…

I published a Google Maps mashup in January (view at that allows a consumer-focused price comparison between the two systems . Enter your own route or try a sample route. See the route plotted on a map and calculate your savings (or loss). The map markers can be repositioned interactively if you don’t know a street address but do know a location.

Yahoo Maps Now Shows Neighborhood Areas, Of Sorts

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

This entry reprinted from IMGoph, a cartographer and geography nut, using Washington, DC as an example, view original post on his blog. (Ed-This was picked up later by The Washington Post’s Rob Pegoraro in his Faster Forward blog this week, view that post.) 

so check this out. yahoo maps has a new feature on the site. google maps has neighborhood labels on their city maps, but it looks like yahoo has decided to try to go them one better. they’re shading the neighborhoods in on their maps.

problem is, their choice of what makes a neighborhood and what doesn’t leaves a heck of a lot to be desired.

here are a couple of examples from the screen capture you can see to the right:

– lots of neighborhoods are missing. this map has no shaw, no eckington, no bloomingdale, no ledroit park.

– the neighborhoods they do label have grown to eat up a lot of these missing neighborhoods. edgewood has swallowed eckington, bloomingdale, stronghold, and truxton circle. off the map here, ivy city has swallowed trinidad, and you can see that logan circle has eaten up shaw. ledroit park is now part of “cardozo”, which not a lot of people use for the u street area, but i think it’s not a bad choice.

it’s a good start, yahoo, but you need to refine this before it’s really useful.

yahoo maps local neighborhood polygon fills

A singles map of the United States (Boston Globe)

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

(Ed note: A similar map appeared in National Geographic within the last two years. The author, Richard Florida, has also commented on Washington, DC’s urban environment, see map exhibit b. Thanks Autumn!)

Which cities have a surplus of single men (or women) – and what that means for the country.

By Richard Florida
March 30, 2008

singles map of US

WHICH OF THESE two decisions do you think has a bigger impact on someone’s life: finding the right job, or finding the right significant other? No one’s going to argue with the notion that where you live affects your employment prospects. But the place you call home has a lot to do with your chances of finding the right partner as well. Having an enticing “mating market” matters as much or more than a vibrant labor market.

It’s not just that some places have more singles than others. If you’re a single man or a single woman the odds of meeting that special someone vary dramatically across the country.

By far, the best places for single men are the large cities and metro areas of the East Coast and Midwest. The extreme is greater New York, where single women outnumber single men by more than 210,000. In the Philadelphia area and greater Washington, D.C., single women outnumber single men by 50,000. I met my wife outside Detroit, where the odds were greatly stacked in my favor – single women outnumber single men by some 20,000 there.

In fact, single women outnumber single men in many large cities around the world, even though men outearn women at all ages, according to Lena C. Edlund, a Columbia University economist. One reason young women in the prime marriage years – the 25-44 age range – flock to big cities is to compete for the most eligible men. And smart women who gravitate to vibrant cities are more likely to stay single – for longer, at least – because they rightly refuse to settle for someone who can’t keep up with them intellectually or otherwise.

But women do have an advantage in the American West and Southwest. In greater Los Angeles, for example, there are 90,000 more single men than women. In Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area, single men outnumber single women by roughly 65,000. There are considerably more single men than women in San Diego, Dallas, and Seattle, too. Each of these regions has grown substantially over the past two or three decades, offering jobs in everything from high tech to construction and services. As numerous studies of migration show, men – especially those in regions with declining economies – are initially more likely to move long distances for economic opportunity, while women are more likely to stay closer to home and family.

Continue reading at …

Creating the District Taxi Fare Estimator (Google Maps Mashup)

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

taxi yellow cab I published a Google Maps mashup for The Washinton Post on January 20th (view at that allows a consumer-focused price comparison between the current zone-based fare structure and the planned time-distance meter system. The tool allows a user to enter their own route or try a sample route.

The approximate route is plotted on a Google Map and the prices are shown and compared to calculate the taxi rider’s savings (or loss). The map is fully interactive: markers can be repositioned if the user don’t know a street address but does know a map or satellite image location. The switchover to time-distance meters is now scheduled for May.

This blog post will describe how and why the interactive taxi fare estimator was created and share who’s using the tool and determine if the zone or meter system would be cheaper based on actual usage with a sample pool of nearly 17,500 unique visitors and over 50,000 trips calculated.


taxi washington post dc taxi estimator

Screenshot of final Washington Post District Taxi Fare Estimator interactive.


One of my bosses, Larry Nista, approached me late in 2007 about building an online tool to compare estimated prices between the zone and meter taxi fare systems. Our department had already been experimenting with simple online content this seemed like a good project to create a more complex Web 2.0 site where a user was given a higher level of interaction and meaningful, customized results. A non-work friend and I had previously talked of making a cell phone text based service for determining zone fares so this projected peaked my curiosity.

My previous experience were relatively simple projects like:

Most these projects are very procedural, 1, 2, 3 style projects with a limited set of outcomes that could be hand designed and linked. The taxi project required a more general solution. I had already been programming in ActionScript for Flash and was fairly competent at that (several unpublished projects) and my experience with the Dog Parks project showed me how similar ActionScript was to JavaScript, which is the language Google Maps API is written in.

It became obvious this project should be done using the Google Maps API early on and I set about learning all the different data structures and functions. At first I thought I could use web services provided by the District of Columbia GIS mapping team online, but it would still have needed to combine that with the Google Maps map tiles so I decided to do all the mapping with the Google Maps API.

Project Phases

  1. Conceptualization of the project:

    Compare fares between meter and zone taxi fare rate structures

  2. Discovery.
  3. DC GIS web services, Flash, Google Maps API, HTML, CSS

  4. Design.

    Mockup in Illustrator of basic features and design

  5. Implementation.
  6. Dreamweaver HTML, Javascript coding, more discovery of Maps API routine

  7. Redesign

    Increase user interactivity (draggable map markers)

  8. Redesign based on comments
  9. Price comparison, look and feel & bug squashing (cross-browser compatibility)

  10. Final implementation and release

    Including tracking code via Google Analytics

Why Google Maps API?

I used Google Maps API as it could quickly calculate route distance and estimated travel time. I could use the API to draw the map and the route line and icons interactively. Finally, I could use it to do basic map algebra like “is the start point in what taxi zone polygon” which was needed to determine the zone-based fare.


DC Taxi’s Switch to Meters Delayed To May

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

taxi yellow cabThe Washington Post reports that a DC Superior Court judge yesterday extended the start date for time-and-distance meters in the Districts 6,500 caps to May 1 due to a technicality. The mayor had previously ordered the change in October after being directed by the US Congress to switch to meters unless the mayor issued an executive order leaving the zone system intact. The District is one of the only cities in the US to continue using zone-based fares instead of time-and-distance meters. Read the full story here…

I published a Google Maps mashup in January (view at that allows a consumer-focused price comparison between the two systems . Enter your own route or try a sample route. See the route plotted on a map and calculate your savings (or loss). The map markers can be repositioned interactively if you don’t know a street address but do know a location.

I will blog about that mashup next week and describe some of the tracking statistics that show an overwhelming number of trips costing less for most consumers (which is why taxi drivers have struck several times now in protest).

Map that named America on Display in DC

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

waldseemuller mapFrom Reuters: The only surviving copy of the 500-year-old map that first used the name America goes on permanent display this month at the Library of Congress (LOC), but even as it prepares for its debut, the 1507 Waldseemuller map remains a puzzle for researchers. More of that article. Info from LOC on the map and how to visit here.

I’ll be sure to make the pilgrimage after I return to DC in January. Thanks Caryn 🙂