Last night at the space of the start-up incubator 1871 in the Merchandise Mart, the team of Chicago's bike share program, Divvy, reveled the winners of the Divvy Data Challenge while also announcing some news regarding the popular bike share. Perhaps the most important update is that the Divvy expansion from 300 stations to 476 stations began this past Monday. Divvy's equipment provider filed for bankruptcy last year delaying expansion, however with that delay, all permitting has been completed and station deliveries are now occurring within the city's neighborhoods. With the expansion, Chicago will have the largest count of bike share stations of any system in North America. Divvy's territory will expand to 87 square miles (38% of the city's total area), covering neighborhoods with a total of 1.3 million people (56% of the city's population) and 33 of 50 wards. Bike sharing has been a smashing success in Chicago and recently, the suburbs of Oak Park and Evanston have also announced plans to jump in as well. The latest expansion for the city's new bike stations is expected to be complete in June. Divvy's Twitter feed will announce when and where the newest stations are opening every week.
Also announced will be a new attraction in the terminals of O'Hare and Midway airports. Divvy bikes will be placed at both airports, equipped with video screens offering tours of Chicago neighborhoods and the ability to charge cell phones while passengers peddle in place during the wait for their planes to begin boarding. This is a project being spearheaded by 1871 which had a demonstration model on display (sans the video screen).
After the news announcements, the finalists and winners of the data challenge were announced. Data available to use in the challenge accounted for the 3.2 million rides taken in 2013 and 2014. There were nearly 40 entries that were paired down to a final 12. Voting for the finalists was opened to the public on Redeyechicago.com, with the categories of Most Beautiful, Most Creative, Most Insightful, Most Comprehensive and Best Overall Visualization. Data collected and used included information of start and end stations, time of day, gender and age of the cyclist as well as the breakdown between 24 hour pass users or annual members. The finalists' projects offered a wide range of variety, including animations through time and space, charts of long trips versus short trips, number of trips versus weather conditions, an app suggesting trip time by bike versus CTA and even one that translated the data into a story-like narrative. Details of the finalists and winners will be listed on Divvy's website.
— Shawn Ursini