Impact analysis of reductions in tram services in rural areas in Japan using smart card data

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, mode - tram/light rail, technology - passenger information, operations - frequency, planning - service rationalisation, ridership - modelling


Public transport, Smart card data, Cox hazard model, Number of OD passengers


Rural cities in Japan need to maintain public transport services because the proportion of elderly people in the population is increasing. However, measures to reduce the frequency of public transport services are under consideration in such cities because the number of passengers and the income necessary to keep services in operation are both decreasing. This study empirically analyzes the change in the number of tram passengers after the frequency of service was reduced in the study area. Especially, an analysis is applied to a survival time model using smart card data to evaluate what origin–destination pairs between tram stops (tram OD) can maintain a suitable number of passengers. The parameters estimated in the model show that a reduction in the number of trams does not directly lead to a change in the number of tram OD passengers. However, the average number of tram OD passengers and its variance are significant factors in explaining the decrease in the number of tram OD passengers. Sensitivity analysis by using the estimated model during the period of study shows that a tram OD pair that originates in a suburban area and terminates in a city center tends to have a higher probability of survival, but a tram OD pair originating from a city center tends to have a lower probability of survival. The results of this study are fundamental materials for a discussion on which tram OD pairs should be considered by public transport authorities to maintain or increase the number of passengers.


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