Measuring transit use variability with smart-card data

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, mode - mass transit


Urban transit, Travel behavior, Transit riders, Transit, Temporal analysis, Spatial analysis, Smart cards, Ridership, Public transit, Patronage (Transit ridership), Object oriented programming, Mass transit, Local transit, Integrated circuit cards, Data mining, Contactless fare cards, Chip cards, Canada


The potential of smart-card data for measuring the variability of urban public transit network use is the focus of this paper. Data collected during 277 consecutive days of travel on a Canadian transit network are processed for this purpose. The organization of data using an object-oriented approach is discussed. Then, measures of spatial and temporal variability of transit use for various types of card are defined and estimated using the data sets presented. Data mining techniques are also used to identify transit use cycles and homogenous days and weeks of travel among card segments and at various times of the year.


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