Direct Ridership Model of Rail Rapid Transit Systems in Canada

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, mode - rail, ridership - modelling, land use - planning, land use - urban design, land use - urban density


direct ridership model, rail rapid transit system, socioeconomic, land uses, station amenities


A direct ridership model for Canadian rail rapid transit systems is presented. The goal of the study was to produce a ridership model to evaluate the specific context of Canadian rapid transit: no comprehensive model existed. Data were collected for Canada’s five largest cities, including 342 stations with an average weekday ridership of more than 3 million passengers. Using bootstrapped ordinary least squares regression with station boardings as the dependent variable and 44 socioeconomic, built environment, and system attributes as potential explanatory variables, which were chosen after a review of the direct ridership model literature, the study yielded one model with an adjusted R2 value of .8033. The results are similar to those of models constructed in the United States with respect to densities, land uses, and station amenities, and socioeconomic variables do not appear to be significant. The absence of socioeconomic variables in the final model indicates that planners and policy makers have significant scope to exert influence over transit use through land use planning, design, and service features.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.