Photo by Chris Grafton on Unsplash

Not so recently, I needed data on Congress members: Who are they? Which chamber did they serve? If they served in the House, what district did they represent? And most importantly, despite what President Washington had said, what was their political party affiliation?

All of this information is publicly available on Congress.gov, but I saw no way to Export the data to CSV, nor any API that I could use to fetch this data in a programmatic/easy way. …


Inspired by this article on Medium analyzing New York City CitiBike ridership, I set out to do the same for Mexico City’s own public bike sharing system: ECOBICI. Instead of using conventional dataframes, I decided to use Spark and RDDs for personal practice. To keep this side project short, I limited myself to just one month’s of data (February 2020) to answer the following questions:

  1. Top 5 stations for starting a ride.
  2. Top 5 trips based on start station and end station.
  3. Rider statistics based on average riding time by gender and age category.
  4. Find the busiest bikes in the…

Maintaining campuses isn’t cheap

If you’re like me — along with 44 million Americans in 2019— you probably have student loans. You have a different number of federal loans of different rates and principal amounts. You’re probably wondering, “what’s the best way to pay these?” Should you pay the smaller amounts first? Should you tackle the one with the highest interest rates first? A mix?

What we have here is a simple optimization problem of the following form.

  • Goal: Minimize the total debt we owe by the end of year 2020 (to keep it simple)
  • Constraints: The max payment we can make in each…


If you haven’t heard of the FIRE Movement, it is a lifestyle that started in the 2010s (aka one of the biggest bull markets in history) which emphasizes living frugally for some years to increase your savings rate to accumulate assets for passive income. The ultimate goal of the movement is: Financial Independence, Retire Early.

While in my opinion everyone, depending on circumstances, should strive for financial independence, I was interested in finding out if early retirement really is such a great idea. The earlier you retire, the more exposure you have to time, time during which unexpected events may…


Photos by Trevor Logan/www.ttmg.org

This past semester at NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress I wanted to analyze the New Jersey PATH ridership data to find out if there’s been an increase in Jersey City (JC) PATH ridership during rush hour. However, I had a problem: the ridership data is seasonal. During the holiday season I saw a dip in ridership, whereas during the warmer month rush hour PATH ridership climbed.

So how do you find trends from data that is seasonal? Are people riding transit more in general or is it just because it’s summer?

Thankfully by the time I faced this…


South Riverside Park, NYC

Despite Women making up half the New York City population, data shows that women are just almost a quarter of all bike riders. This disparity in ridership by gender is also pronounced across other cities like Chicago and Boston. If we are to build an equitable biking network in our cities we have to ask, are we doing enough for women?

A study by Professor Jennifer Dill from Portland State University showed that one of the biggest obstacles to more women cycling is safety. …


Hell’s Kitchen — our current bike storage “infrastructure”

In the past 15 years, New York City’s number of bike trips per day has tripled to nearly 490,000. And as we add more protected bike lanes — against the loud objections of some — we can expect this number to keep growing. But as we keep pushing for more safe bike lanes are we doing enough for their parking and storage?

If you live in NYC, you’ve probably noticed many bike racks full with delivery and abandoned bikes, leaving little free space for others. This dearth of good bike “parking” leads people to lock up their bikes in places…


Guilford, CT during Cycle for the Cause 2017

Cities across America are slowly shifting away from previous car-centric transportation models to now include more space to accommodate a growing population of cyclists. But as we make more space for cyclists it becomes increasingly important to have a sort of national code on biking infrastructure to avoid making cycling lanes into a laboratory of irregularity and questionable safety. Codifying these practices will also help make the cycling experience more uniform across America no matter what new city you visit or live in.

Thankfully the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), has come out with the first national design…


A sight too common in NYC: a car parked on a bike lane and a cyclist forced onto traffic. For cyclists this situation can lead to dangerous environments where cyclists have lost their lives. As a cyclist myself I’ve found myself walking my bike to avoid this same scenario. But how do we quantify this problem? How can we know this is an extensive problem?

Thankfully computer scientist Alex Bell was able to train a machine learning (ML) algorithm using camera footage to track cars parked on bike and bus lanes with better accuracy. Before, the best data we had…


Mexico City has an air pollution problem. In the first five months of 2019 the city has only seen 7 days with clean air. The situation not only adversely affects the city’s image, but the health of all of its 21 million inhabitants — or 16% of the nation’s population.

But in a large city with other pressing issues, how do we form an effective action plan that’s more than a band-aid on the problem?

Thanks to a joint team effort with UC Berkeley and Mexico’s National Institute for Ecology and Climate Change, the teams were able to visualize the…

Erik L

NYC | NYU CUSP | Cities | Data |🏳‍🌈

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