Impact of weather on urban transit ridership

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, ridership - behaviour, technology - passenger information, infrastructure - interchange/transfer, infrastructure - station, economics - revenue, mode - bus, mode - subway/metro


Transit ridership models, Weather impacts, Trip characteristics, Station characteristics


Utilizing daily ridership data, literature has shown that adverse weather conditions have a negative impact on transit ridership and in turn, result in revenue loss for the transit agencies. This paper extends this discussion by using more detailed hourly ridership data to model the weather effects. For this purpose, the daily and hourly subway ridership from New York City Transit for the years 2010–2011 is utilized. The paper compares the weather impacts on ridership based on day of week and time of day combinations and further demonstrates that the weather’s impact on transit ridership varies based on the time period and location. The separation of ridership models based on time of day provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between trip purpose and weather for transit riders. The paper investigates the role of station characteristics such as weather protection, accessibility, proximity and the connecting bus services by developing models based on station types. The findings indicate substantial differences in the extent to which the daily and hourly models and the individual weather elements are able to explain the ridership variability and travel behavior of transit riders. By utilizing the time of day and station based models, the paper demonstrates the potential sources of weather impact on transit infrastructure, transit service and trip characteristics. The results suggest the development of specific policy measures which can help the transit agencies to mitigate the ridership differences due to adverse weather conditions.


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


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