Assessment of Models to Estimate Bus-Stop Level Transit Ridership using Spatial Modeling Methods

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, infrastructure - stop, place - north america, technology - geographic information systems


bus transit ridership, but-stop level, spatial proximity method (SPM), spatial weight method (SWM)


The objective of this research is to develop and assess bus transit ridership models at a bus-stop level using two spatial modeling methods: spatial proximity method (SPM) and spatial weight method (SWM). Data for the Charlotte (North Carolina) area are used to illustrate 1) the working of the methods and 2) development and assessment of the models. Features available in Geographic Information System (GIS) software were explored to capture spatial attributes such as demographic, socio-economic, and land use characteristics around each selected bus stop. These, along with on-network characteristics surrounding the bus stop, were used as explanatory variables. Models were then developed, using the generalized estimating equations (GEE) framework, to estimate riders boarding (dependent variable) at the bus stop as a function of selected explanatory variables that are not correlated to each other. Results obtained indicate that Negative Binomial with log-link distribution better fits the data to estimate ridership at the bus-stop level (for both SPM and SWM) than when compared to linear, Poisson with log-link and Gamma with log-link distributions. Although SPM models demonstrated distance decay behavior, statistical parameters indicate that SWM (based on functions 1/D, 1/D2, and 1/D3) does not yield better or more meaningful estimates than when compared to SPM using 0.25-mile buffer width data.


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