Analyzing Bike Share Data

In this series, I am going to use Spark to analyze the Bay Area’s Bike Share Data. You can download the dataset from

First let’s find out the top popular start terminals

trips.groupBy("Start Terminal", "Start Station").count().sort(desc("count")).show(false)


San Francisco Caltrain (Townsend at 4th) and San Francisco Caltrain 2 (330 Townsend) are the two most popular bike stations. It shows that many Caltrain commuters are using these bikes to travel to their workplaces.

Lets figure out the day of week distribution of trips. As seen below, Thursday, Tuesday are the top two busiest days. It looks like people are most likely to show up at work on Thursday and Tuesday 🙂

On the other hand, Monday has the lowest number of trips among all weekdays. So if you want to have a good meeting attendance, you would probably schedule it on Tuesday or Thursday and try to avoid Monday 🙂

sqlContext.sql("select getDayAsString(day_of_week) as day, count(1) as count from (select `Start Terminal`, `Start Station`, getDayOfWeek(`Start Date`) as day_of_week from trips) as A group by day_of_week order by count desc")


Next, lets take a look at the time of day distribution of the trips.

5 PM, 8 AM, 4 PM, 9 AM, 6 PM, 12 AM are the top 6 busiest hours. As expected, the bike usage peaks during morning and evening rush hours as people get to/off work. One interesting observation is the number of bike trips is also high during midnight, ranked sixth in the list.


Hmm…I wonder which are the popular stations during morning rush hours from 8 am to 9 am.  As it turns out, San Francisco Caltrain, Temporary Transbay Terminal,  and San Francisco Caltrain 2 are the busiest bike stations during morning rush hours.


Since midnight has the fifth highest number of bike trips, lets find out where the top originating bike stations are.

Harry Bridges Plaza (Ferry Building), Embarcadero at Sansome, Market at Sansome, Market at 4th, 2nd at Townsend are among the popular bike stations during midnight hour. See the below list. They are in close proximity to the city popular nightlife hangouts/hotspots.


Lets plot the hourly average bike availability for the top three start stations, San Francisco Caltrain (Townsend at 4th) terminal id 70, San Francisco Caltrain 2 (330 Townsend) terminal id 69, and Harry Bridges Plaza (Ferry Building) terminal id 50

They all share the same pattern, decreasing number of available bikes around morning rush hour, 8 am to 10 am.


Next, lets build a model to predict the bike availability.

To be continued…


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