Parking tickets can tell us a surprising amount about the goings on in a city.
Pratt Institute statistics professor Ben Wellington writes a blog called I Quant NY in which he uses publicly available free data from the city government and other sources to analyse different aspects of life in New York City.
In a recent post, he used parking ticket data made available through the city’s Open Data project to get a sense of where tourists go when they visit the city. The idea is that parking tickets are a proxy for where people are going.
The data include the state of registration and the NYPD precinct for each parking ticket, making it possible to map out the spatial distribution of tickets for cars registered in various states.
I Quant NY points out that parking tickets are a very imperfect and vague approximation of tourism: “(1) it only measures drivers who get tickets and (2) it considers all New York State drivers to be “local” and (3) some people with out-of-state plates are not visitors.”
His first map shows the baseline case of parking tickets given to cars with New York State registrations and plates. These make up about three quarters of all parking tickets, with the rest distributed among the other states. Darker blue means a higher percentage of tickets in that precinct going to New Yorkers, and so lighter precincts have more tickets going to visitors:
I Quant NY observed that out of state tickets are concentrated in Manhattan, and particularly areas south of Central Park. This makes sense, since this area is also the home of many of New York’s biggest tourist destinations, like Times Square.
New Jerseyans, the city’s nearest neighbours, have the second most parking tickets. The bulk of those tickets happened in Midtown and lower Manhattan, with New Jerseyans largely avoiding the outer boroughs:
North Carolinans are the opposite of New Jerseyans, and are more likely to be in Upper Manhattan or the outer boroughs. The biggest shares of parking tickets from this state are in Harlem, and in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville:
Californians also were more likely to get parking tickets in Brooklyn. The most tickets for Californians came in Bed-Stuy again, and in Williamsburg and Greenpoint in the northwestern part of the borough:
Check out I Quant NY’s original post for a bunch more states. Also check out their main blog for lots of other fun NYC data-driven stories.
NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.