I threw together a couple of charts to visualize how passengers have been using some of the routes that may be impacted by the U-link bus restructure. The data is hosted on Metro’s “For Transit Geeks” section of their U-Link bus network restructure proposal.
Here’s Route 48:
Notice how the passengers accumulate approaching the University District (45th St/15th or 50th St/15th, depending on direction) and begin to diminish when moving away from it. Also notice the higher passenger turnover when compared to the long haul 255 and 545 below (vertical comparison between colored area and grey area).
Here’s Route 255:
And here’s Route 545:
Both the 255 and 545 accumulate riders at a rapid pace until reaching the 92nd Av/SR 520 stop when going toward Seattle, with a few more getting off at Montlake than getting on. On the return trips, the 545 loses more than half of its load at the NE 40th and 51st St stops while the load on the 255 trails off somewhat steadily until the end.
Metro uses slightly different stops to define segments depending on which way the bus is traveling (inbound vs outbound); take heed when comparing the charts for the two directions. This visualization might be a lot more interesting and useful with break downs by time of day, by trip, or even by stop, but it doesn’t look like Metro provides that level of data. Bear in mind this is data for the whole day and is really only useful from that perspective.
An improvement I can already see is running these again on the same scale y-axis to get a better comparison between the routes; my intent here was simply to look at loading behavior across individual routes.