Sequence to sequence learning with attention mechanism for short-term passenger flow prediction in large-scale metro system

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, mode - subway/metro, technology - intelligent transport systems, ridership - behaviour, planning - methods


Deep learning, Sequence to sequence, Attention, metro, Passenger flow


The accurate short-term passenger flow prediction is of great significance for real-time public transit management, timely emergency response as well as systematical medium and long-term planning. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end deep learning framework that can simultaneously make multi-step predictions for all stations in a large scale metro system. A sequence to sequence model embedded with the attention mechanism forms the backbone of this framework. The sequence to sequence model consists of an encoder network and a decoder network, making it good at modeling sequential data with varying lengths and the attention mechanism further enhances its ability to capture long-range dependencies. We use the proposed framework to predict the number of passengers alighting at each station in the near future, given the number of passengers boarding at each station in the last few short-term periods. The large quantities of real-world data collected from Singapore’s metro system are used to validate the proposed model. In addition, a set of comparisons made among our model and other classical approaches evidently indicates that the proposed model is more scalable and robust than other baselines in making multi-step and network-wide predictions for short-term passenger flow.


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


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