Blog from May, 2020

I've just posted the latest version of the NYC Mass Transit Spatial Layers for May 2020. This version includes updates for routes and stops for the buses, express buses, and subway; there's also an updated spreadsheet for PATH Train ridership that includes 2019. Unlike previous updates, I've kept the previous versions of the transit files for December 2019 (buses) and May 2019 (subway) on the main download page instead of moving them to the archives page. These older files represent regular or "normal" service, pre-COVID-19.

Data for our series is generated from the static data developer feeds published by the MTA. The layers released for the May 2020 edition of our series represent reduced, essential service due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to the previous edition that we published in December 2019, 40 bus routes were eliminated, most of them in Staten Island. The following 40 local and express bus routes that appeared in dec2019 were not present in may2020:

BX20, M98, Q26, S42, S66, S81, S84, S86, S90, S91, S92, S93, S94, S96, S98, SIM1, SIM10, SIM11, SIM15, SIM2, SIM22, SIM25, SIM26, SIM3, SIM30, SIM31, SIM32, SIM33, SIM34, SIM35, SIM4, SIM4X, SIM5, SIM6, SIM7, SIM8, SIM8X, SIM9, X37, X38.

One local route was present in may2020 that did not exist in dec2019: M191.

As a result, there was also a decrease in the number of bus stops. Some routes operated by private companies that contract with the MTA (for example SIM23 and SIM24) continue to operate, but these routes are never captured in the source data as the MTA does not own and operate them.

Reduced service for the NYC Subway was not reflected in the data feeds, so the GIS Lab created these layers manually by modifying the subway routes and stops layers that we published in May 2019. The following subway routes were not operating in May 2020 and were removed: B, W, Z, and S shuttle from Times Square to Grand Central Station. In addition, the A and 5 trains eliminated service on certain branches. We also modified the group field, which is used for styling the routes with their trunk color, by removing the closed services.

We added a field named COVID_CHG to the subway stops layer that indicates which trains were removed or added for these stops, prefaced with a minus or plus sign, and modified the trains field accordingly to indicate the trains that stop there. There were 110 stops where service was impacted: 110 stops lost a train service, and 4 gained a service. The two stops for the shuttle to Times Square and Grand Central (S train) are closed and have no train service; we kept the stops in the dataset, added CLOSED to the stop name, and removed the train designation from the trains field.

We did not publish updates for the Metro North or LIRR for this edition, because there had been no changes in the underlying source data.

Even though we're in quarantine, the GIS Lab continues to function remotely. Here are a few updates to our datasets and resources that we've posted lately:

  • NYC Geocoded Real Estate Sales for 2019; a new shapefile and a revised database that covers 2003 - 2019.
  • A revised QGIS Raster Tutorial, updated for QGIS 3.10 A Coruna.
  • A two-page summary that describes what the NYC Geodatabase is and how it works.
  • Links from dataset pages to GitHub repos for many of the datasets that the GIS Lab creates. The repos contain scripts that are used for generating these datasets.

I've also implemented a new Geospatial Metadata metadata standard and have begun to roll out records in this format. They're more concise than the ISO records we've used in the past and do a better job in providing a quick overview of each dataset and layer.

You can continue to contact me with questions via email. The physical lab will likely remained closed over the summer, but I'll post contact hours in a few weeks.