Mapping Station Use in the 2011 NiceRide Season

This post was co-authored by J. Schoner, A. Harrison, and X. Wang. It is cross-posted on and

To no small amount of clamor among the non-motorized community in the Twin Cities and nation at large, Nice Ride MN recently published their complete 2011 data. A few early cuts with Excel and ArcGIS reveal some interesting patterns.

Station Distribution

  • By the end of the 2011 season, there were 116 bike share stations in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

View Interactive Map

Trip Statistics

  • The green bikes took a total of 217,530 trips in the 2011 season, a 123% increase from the 2010 season.
  • The duration of these trips was 70,619 hours, or an average of about 20 minutes for each trip.  If we assume these bikes are traveling at 12 miles per hour, NiceRide bicyclists traveled 859,313 miles in the 2011 season.
  • August was the busiest month for NiceRide trips; 41,122 trips were made, or about 18.9% of all trips during the season.


Trips taken by month

Popular Origins and Destinations

  • The most popular station for trip origins and trip destinations was IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis, with 9,843 trips originating from IDS Center and 10,701 trips arriving at IDS Center during the 2011 season.

View Interactive Map

Station Originating Trips Arriving Trips Total Trips
IDS Center 9,483 10,701 20,544
Kolthoff Hall 9,406  8,572  17,978
100 Main Street SE 7,401  7,563  14,964
YWCA Downtown  6,756  6,307  13,063
Social Sciences  6,397  6,295  12,692
North 2nd Street & 4th Ave. N  6,154  6,067  12,221
South 2nd Street & 3rd Ave. S  6,071  6,229  12,300
Lake Street & Humboldt  5,862  6,567  12,429
Washington Ave. S & 9th Ave.  5,462  5,900  11,362
4th Street & 13th Ave. SE  4,983  4,695  9,678

Differences between Origins and Destinations

  • The NiceRide station “losing” the most bicycles (origins minus destinations) is the Koltdoff Hall station on the U of M East Bank campus, “losing” 834 bicycles.
  • The station “gaining” the most bicycles (destinations minus origins) is the IDS Center station in Downtown Minneapolis, “gaining” 858 bicycles in 2011.

View Interactive Map

Trip Arrivals minus Trip Departures

Origin-Destination Pairs and “Round Trips”

  • 4 of the top 10 Origin-Destination Pairs during the 2011 season are within the U of M campus (6, if you consider that trips from the East Bank to Washington and Cedar in 7 Corners are likely U of M traffic as well).  The most frequent trips made on NiceRide bikes are back and forth across the Washington Avenue bridge between Kolthoff Hall and Social Sciences.
  • The station with the most “round trips” (trips starting and ending at the same station) is Lake Street & Humboldt Ave, with 1,869 round trips in the 2011 season.  2 of the top 10 O-D pairs are round trips starting and ending by Lake Calhoun.

View Interactive Map

Originating Station Arriving Station Frequency
Kolthoff Hall (U of M) Social Sciences (U of M) 2,648
Social Sciences (U of M) Kolthoff Hall (U of M) 2,368
Lake Street & Humboldt Lake Street & Humboldt 1,869
100 Main St. SE 100 Main St. SE 1,331
Calhoun Executive Center Calhoun Executive Center 1,086
Akerman Hall (U of M) Social Sciences (U of M) 715
Kolthoff Hall (U of M) Washington Ave. & Cedar 674
Social Sciences (U of M) Akerman Hall (U of M) 666
Washington Ave. & Cedar Kolthoff Hall (U of M)  664
N. 2nd St. & 4th Ave. N. IDS Center 642

More about this research

In October 2011, the University of Minnesota sponsored a successful grant application to the Bikes Belong Foundation on behalf of Sharing to Grow: a bike share station local economic activity study. The study seeks to identify and quantify economic activity centered around Nice Ride MN stations, as Nice Ride users experience unique accessibility patterns in relation to shops and restaurants with close proximity to these stations. The study will be useful in developing recommendations to federal and state governments and peer cities regarding impacts of bike share systems; and in guiding station placement and distribution in the Twin Cities to optimize economic impact through strategic improvements in accessibility. Look for a report out in June of 2012.

Jessica Schoner

About Jessica Schoner

Jessica Schoner is a masters candidate at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota.