Large-scale transit market segmentation with spatial-behavioural features

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

technology - passenger information, ridership - behaviour, place - australasia


Customer segmentation, Travel pattern, Smart card, AFC


Transit market segmentation enables transit providers to comprehend the commonalities and heterogeneities among different groups of passengers, so that they can cater for individual transit riders’ mobility needs. The problem has recently been attracting a great interest with the proliferation of automated data collection systems such as Smart Card Automated Fare Collection (AFC), which allow researchers to observe individual travel behaviours over a long time period. However, there is a need for an integrated market segmentation method that incorporating both spatial and behavioural features of individual transit passengers. This algorithm also needs to be efficient for large-scale implementation. This paper proposes a new algorithm named Spatial Affinity Propagation (SAP) based on the classical Affinity Propagation algorithm (AP) to enable large-scale spatial transit market segmentation with spatial-behavioural features. SAP segments transit passengers using spatial geodetic coordinates, where passengers from the same segment are located within immediate walking distance; and using behavioural features mined from AFC data. The comparison with AP and popular algorithms in literature shows that SAP provides nearly as good clustering performance as AP while being 52% more efficient in computation time. This efficient framework would enable transit operators to leverage the availability of AFC data to understand the commonalities and heterogeneities among different groups of passengers.


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


Transportation Research Part C Home Page: