diamond geezer

 Saturday, March 11, 2017

Which are London's most squashed tube journeys, and when?

It's now possible to answer this question thanks to the release of a massive datafile by the TfL digital team. They've made public a dataset describing "the typical LU train loading, for each 15 minute period of the day, between every pair of consecutive stations on each LU line, in both directions." The figures are for a typical weekday in November. To keep things simple, train loading is expressed on a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 being 'very quiet' (which means there are seats) and 6 being 'exceptionally busy' (which means there are more than 5 passengers standing per square metre). Now that's squashed.

ScaleDefinitionActual measure on train
1Very quietzero to all seats taken
2Quiet0 to 2 customer per m2
3Fairly busy2 to 3 customer per m2
4Busy3 to 4 customer per m2
5Very busy4 to 5 customer per m2
6Exceptionally busy>5 customers per m2

To give you an idea of what the data looks like, here's the northbound Victoria line between 6am and 11am. All I've done is colour the cells - the data engineers kindly put all the rows in the right order. You can click to embiggen.



Here's what the data shows. At 6am the northbound Victoria line is 'very quiet' (1). Passenger traffic picks up south of Euston until around 8am (2 & 3). The most crowded period is from 8am to 9am between Stockwell and Oxford Circus (4). The busiest section of line is between Victoria and Green Park (5), which continues to have standing passengers even after the morning peak. The line north of King's Cross is always 'very quiet'... at least until 3pm when the drift home north begins.

Across the entire set of data, most tube journeys most of the day are 1s. If this isn't your experience, that's because you're probably commuting in the 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s, which is why they're 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s.

Here's a brief summary of the busiest times on each of the tube lines.

The Bakerloo line never gets busier than a 4, southbound between Marylebone and Oxford Circus in the morning rush hour.
The Central line is at its busiest westbound between Stratford and Bank between 8am and 9am, and eastbound between Chancery Lane and Mile End between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.
On the Victoria line the morning rush is busier than the evening, with crush zones northbound between Victoria and Green Park, and southbound between Highbury & Islington and Oxford Circus.
The Jubilee line is also more packed in the mornings, particularly westbound between Canning Town and Westminster, but also eastbound between Waterloo and Canary Wharf.
• The Northern line is particularly crammed from Clapham South up to Moorgate and from Euston down to Bank between 8am and 9am - with the evening peak a little better spread, and the Charing Cross branch rarely so busy.
The Piccadilly line only gets 'very busy' at three points - Manor House to Finsbury Park at 8.15am, Caledonian Road to Holborn between 8.15am and 9am, and South Ealing to Acton Town just after 8am.
The District line generally has plenty of space, with brief 'very busy' hotspots in the morning peak from Plaistow to West Ham, from Parsons Green to West Brompton, and from Victoria to St James's Park.
The Metropolitan line also has plenty of room, except in the morning peak between 7.30am and 9am, when it's consistently 'exceptionally busy' between about Harrow-on-the-Hill and Finchley Road.
The Waterloo and City line, as you'd expect, is utterly rammed in one direction only in the peaks, so avoid 8am to 9.15am from Waterloo to Bank, and and 5.15pm to 6.30pm from Bank to Waterloo.
The surprise in the dataset is the Hammersmith & City line which is apparently regularly crushed. The stretches to avoid are Paddington to Farringdon and Liverpool Street to Baker Street in the morning peak, and (to a lesser extent) the reverse in the evening peak.
Meanwhile the Circle line apparently rarely gets worse than 'fairly busy', which suggests to me that somebody hasn't shared out the Circle and Hammersmith & City line data especially equitably.

The full dataset is fascinating. If you're interested in your own daily commute, and can manipulate a csv file, take a look. If you're the kind of statistician or geek who likes to play with spreadsheets, I bet you could extract some amazing maps or graphics. Meanwhile if you're a journalist from a London-based news site, perhaps you could hang on until someone else has done all the hard work for you and then publish a glib summary surrounded by adverts.

To be getting on with, here's a complete list of grade 6 'exceptionally busy' journey segments on the weekday tube...

» Central: Bethnal Green → Liverpool Street (0815-0830), Liverpool Street → Bank (0815-0845)
» Jubilee: Canning Town → North Greenwich (0830-0845), Canada Water → Bermondsey (0815-0830), Bermondsey → Waterloo (0815-0845)
» Northern: Clapham Common → Clapham North (0800-0845), Clapham North → Stockwell (0730-0845), London Bridge → Bank (0800-0845), King's Cross St Pancras → Old Street (0815-0845)
» Metropolitan: Harrow-on-the-Hill → Northwick Park (0800-0845), Northwick Park → Preston Road (0745-0830), Preston Road → Wembley Park (0745-0900), Wembley Park → Finchley Road (0745-0845)
» Waterloo & City: Waterloo → Bank (0830-0900), Bank → Waterloo (1730-1815)
» Hammersmith & City: far too many to mention (but none on the Circle line, so I don't trust the data)
» Bakerloo: Wembley Central → Stonebridge Park (0715-0730) ...except this is entirely unbelievable (it looks like someone's been 'playing' in the top left hand corner of the spreadsheet)

If transport data is your thing, TfL's digital team has also released an even more enormous datafile setting out "passenger flow numbers within stations based on customer entries, exits and interchanges, in 15 minute increments." If you've ever wanted to know how many people enter Oxford Circus station between 6pm and 6.15pm and walk down to the southbound Victoria line platform, or how many people change from the District Line to the Central line at Mile End between 8am and 9am on a weekday morning, this data is for you. (The answers are 1158 and 4902 respectively).


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream