A Day in the Life of a Hubway


By Jyotishka Biswas, Phillip Graham, and Maddie Kim

The data say that Hubway has had a positive impact on health and the environment in the Greater Boston Area. We want to tell this story to show that choosing to bike can make a difference.

The Hubway Bike Share system launched in 2011, and completed over 1 million rides over the next two years. We decided to look at the benefits of biking on health and the environment, and to quantify the impact that Hubway has had along these dimensions.

We chose to focus on the positive message for this assignment, as if we were part of Hubway’s marketing team, which guided many of the decisions we made. The first was to de-emphasize the charts — we used only two charts, to show the age and gender breakdown of Hubway users, statistics which were fun facts rather than central to our message. When it came to the core of the infographic, we presented medians rather than distributions to avoid unnecessary complexity. Primarily, we focused on keeping the tone light and fun, to make the reader more receptive to the message.

The result is a scrollable infographic, in which the story is told in a loose sequential frame format. The numbers are communicated in the context of a day in the life of a Hubway bike, and small comments in speech bubbles are used to signpost the flow of the story and provide some humor. We used bright colors to frame our content, and large, bold text to emphasize important numbers. We made the conscious decision to have a clear opinion and message, rather than to lay out our analysis and ask readers to assess it for themselves. We believe that this resulted in a more accessible presentation, and hopefully one which is as informative as it is enjoyable.

You can find the infographic here. (It’s made up of large images, so don’t click if you’re worried about data usage.)