Investigating Potential Transit Ridership by Fusing Smartcard and Global System for Mobile Communications Data

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, technology - passenger information, technology - intelligent transport systems, technology - geographic information systems, ridership - behaviour, ridership - demand, planning - travel demand management, planning - surveys, planning - methods, operations - service span


mobility patterns, travel demand, smartcard data, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) data


The public transport industry faces challenges in catering to the variety of mobility patterns and corresponding needs and preferences of passengers. Travel habit surveys provide information on overall travel demand as well as its spatial variation. However, that information often does not include information on temporal variations. By applying data fusion to smartcard and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) data, researchers were able to examine spatial and temporal patterns of public transport usage versus overall travel demand. The analysis was performed by contrasting different spatial and temporal levels of smartcard and GSM data. The methodology was applied to a case study in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to analyze whether the current service span is adequate. The results suggested that there is potential demand for extending public transport service on both ends. In the early mornings, right before transit operations are resumed, an hourly increase in visitor occupancy of 33% to 88% was observed in several zones, showing potential demand for additional public transport services. The proposed data fusion method was shown to be valuable in supporting tactical transit planning and decision making and can easily be applied to other origin-destination transport data.


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