Analyzing factors contributing to real-time train arrival delays using seemingly unrelated regression models

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, mode - rail, infrastructure - station, planning - methods, technology - intelligent transport systems


Train arrival delays, Seemingly unrelated regression models, Factors analysis, Heterogeneous impact


Understanding the impact of various factors on train arrival delays is a prerequisite for effective railway traffic operating control and management. Existing studies analyze the train delay factors using a single, generic regression equation, restricting their capability in accounting for heterogeneous impacts of spatiotemporal factors on arrival delays as the train travels along its route. The paper proposes a set of equations conditional on the train location for analyzing train arrival delay factors at stations. We develop a seemingly unrelated regression equation (SURE) model to estimate the coefficients simultaneously while considering potential correlations between regression residuals caused by shared unobserved variables among equations. The railway data from 2017 to 2020 in Sweden are used to validate the proposed model and explore the effects of various factors on train arrival delays. The results confirm the necessity of developing a set of station-specific train arrival delay models to understand the heterogeneous impact of explanatory variables. The results show that the significant factors impacting train arrival delays are primarily train operations, including dwell times, running times, and operation delays from previous trains and upstream stations. The factors of the calendar, weather, and maintenance are also significant in impacting delays. Importantly, different train operating management strategies should be targeted at different stations since the impacts of these factors could vary depending on where the station is.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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