Getting "There" - A 10 Minute Trip

KPFui’s introduction to place-based analytics continues with an exploration of the “there” of urban experience. As previously discussed, there relates to a city’s interconnectedness. Livelihood, at both individual and city scales, is dependent on the ability to move from place to place with relative ease and sufficient speed. Movement from here to there is a requisite for urban prosperity and allows people and places to thrive in harmony. Read the first part of the series here.

New Yorkers most commonly travel by a combination of walking and subway rides. KPFui’s “10 Minute Trip” tool creates a comprehensive visualization of everyday movement in New York. By addressing the fundamental differences in pedestrian and subway transit, an insight is offered into the relationship between distance and time.

Fig 1 - A comparison between Grand Central and Queensboro Plaza in Queens shows how transit can almost collapse and expand space.

The Tool Explained

Beginning with a defined starting point, the 10 Minute Trip tool shows every building that is accessible within a 10 minute radius. Color-shading depicts the time required to reach each building, marked in one minute increments. The key differentiator between this and more commonly used walking time analysis tools is that KPFui’s tool integrates walking times with the time required for subway travel. Subway stations in proximity, various train lines, average wait times, and additional stops are all considered. For example, walking to a station, waiting for the train, making a transfer, and walking to a final destination may all occur within a 10 minute timeframe and is imagined with the tool.


Fig 2 - Explanatory Diagram 

KPFui’s analysis yields a nuanced view of the there of any given place. The images depict potential travel distances, the quantity of sites within reach of a given point, and give broad insight into the experiential qualities of travel, which can be seen in changes in density. Bustling hubs of activity contrast with less connected neighborhoods and perpetuate a perception of isolation. The visualizations also show that time and distance are fluid. Destinations farther from the starting point may be reachable within 10 minutes of travel, while closer points are not.

The inner workings of New York and its citizens are highlighted with snapshot comparisons of transit centers throughout the city. The intensity of Grand Central’s statistics and visible density clearly position the terminal as one of the city’s prominent hubs. Considering Atlantic Avenue and Queensboro Plaza side by side, differences exist mostly in daily ridership, suggesting that the Queens station functions mostly as a gateway. Passengers are very likely passing through without disembarking or engaging with the immediate neighborhood.

Fig 3 - Grand Central, Manhattan:

Maximum travel distance: 9,171 feet

Buildings accessible: 4,157

Accessible GFA: 319,232,465 SF

Daily ridership: 158,580

Fig 4 - Queensboro Plaza, Queens:

Maximum travel distance: 9,318 feet

Buildings accessible: 5,024

Accessible GFA: 68, 019,605 SF

Daily ridership: 23,588

Fig 5 - Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center, Brooklyn: 

Maximum travel distance: 9,309 feet

Buildings accessible: 7,660

Accessible GFA: 90,571,831 SF

Daily ridership: 42,711

Fig 6 - Queensboro Plaza in Detal. Accessible places within 10 minutes decrease dramatically the farther away a passenger moves from Manhattan.

The 10 Minute Trip tool can also highlight disparities between less connected areas of the city. The Red Hook neighborhood along the Brooklyn waterfront shows isolation and a lack of interconnectedness to the rest of the city with no immediate subway access, while Sunnyside, Queens shows similar isolation with only a single subway line.

Fig 7 - 46th Street, Sunnyside, Queens: Max Distance 8,810', Buildings Accessible 4,796, GFA Accessible 39,213,553, Daily Ridership 14,335

Fig 8 - Redhook, Brooklyn. Max Distance 2,640', Buildings Accessible 1,105, GFA Accessible 11,667,922, Daily Ridership NA

The 10 Minute Trip tool can be applied across scales, providing a comprehensive view of the varying conditions of connectivity that exist within a single city. Below, the tool is applied to the entire length of Broadway, one of New York's most iconic streets. Running from the northern tip of Manhattan at 220th Street all the way south to Battery Park, the visualization demonstrates both the remarkable intertwining and uneven distribution of the New York City subway system. 

Fig 9 - 10 Minute Trip analysis along Broadway, Manhattan

Any sufficiently robust analysis system carries the potential to become a design tool. Taken together, City Mile and the 10 Minute Trip tools provide new platforms for planners, designers, urbanists, and architects to engage with the many conditions that define the world’s metropolitan places. Compelling visualizations will attract both the committed stakeholder and the casual participant, improving the dialogue that surrounds urbanism, architecture and data.