A metro smart card data-based analysis of group travel behaviour in Shanghai, China

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - subway/metro, technology - ticketing systems, technology - passenger information, ridership - behaviour


Group travel behaviour, Smart card data, Co-existence, Space and time, Big data, China


Group travel behaviour widely exists in cities, but has not been well investigated by researchers. To fill this gap, this paper develops a co-existence-based methodological framework to systematically explore the spatiotemporal characteristics of group travel behaviour. We apply our framework to a case study of Shanghai, China, using a one-month tranche of metro smart card data. Results show that most travellers perform a small number of group trips, together with a small number of co-travellers. They usually travel in a dyad or triad group and form far more small social communities than large ones. Group travel behaviour is distinctly different from individual travel in terms of both time and space: group travellers are more likely to travel during weekends, on holidays, and in the afternoons and evenings. They also prefer to perform group behaviour near stations located in the city centre or the centres of new towns in suburban areas, and close to attractions and public facilities. The analysis we present has various potential applications such as improving the management of public events and supporting the design of group ticket policy.


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


Journal of Transport Geography home Page: