How does commuting behavior change due to incentives? An empirical study of the Beijing Subway System

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, mode - subway/metro, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, planning - surveys


Behavior, Incentives, Morning Peak, Commute, Beijing Subway System, Flexibility


This study examines the impact of incentives on commuters’ travel behavior based upon a questionnaire survey conducted with respect to the Beijing Subway System. Overall, we find that offering incentives to commuters, particularly fast food restaurant-related services and reduced ticket fares, has a positive influence on avoiding the morning rush hour. Furthermore, by using an interaction analysis, we discover that a flexible work schedule has an impact on commuters’ behavior and the efficiency of the subway system. Finally, we recommend two possible policies to maximize the utility of the subway system and to reduce congestion at the peak of morning service: (1) a set of incentives that includes free wireless internet service with a coupon for breakfast and a discount on ticket fares before the morning peak and (2) the introduction of a flexible work schedule.


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


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