Capacity, information and minority games in public transport

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - capacity, operations - crowding, operations - coordination, ridership - demand, ridership - behaviour, planning - signage/information


Capacity, Coordination, Crowding, Information, Minority games, Public transport


Many public transport operators are faced with high peak demands. This leads to crowded vehicles and discomfort for the passengers. The increasing availability of information technologies creates new opportunities for passengers to avoid crowding and for operators to inform passengers and reallocate capacities quicker than before. We define and implement a simple model based on minority games, a class of games that deals with crowding dynamics, adapted to a public transport setting.

We propose a model which includes multiple resources and heterogeneous passenger preferences. We have conducted two simulation studies, investigating the dynamics of crowding within a simplified public transport setting. In our first experiment we investigate the effect of the availability of information on crowding. In our second experiment we study dynamic optimization of rolling stock capacities. We find that both the information disclosed and the capacity optimization mechanism have an impact on the number of passengers utilizing resources and their satisfaction. As such, these models enable the development and analysis of new operator policies to deal with crowded situations.


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


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