From compound word to metropolitan station: Semantic similarity analysis using smart card data

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - subway/metro, place - urban, technology - ticketing systems, land use - planning


Urban computing, Smart card data, Data mining, Human mobility, Urban planning


Rapid urbanization and modern civilization require sound integration with public transportation systems. In the same time, the volume and complexity of public transportation network are increasing, making it harder to understand the public transportation dynamics. As a first step, understanding the similarity among subway stations is imperative. In this paper, we proposed a semantic framework inspired from natural language processing (NLP) to interpret subway stations as compound words. Specifically, we transplanted context and literal meaning of compound words into mobility and location attributes of stations. Using smart card data, we trained stacked autoencoders (SAE) with designed flow matrices as an embedding method to learn the mobility attributes. Subsequently, to discover the location attributes, we have applied affinity propagation clustering to classify 9 point of interest (POI) categories. Combined with urban planning knowledge, we manage to comprehend the land use meanings of 9 POI clusters. The location semantics is chosen from those categories reflecting its urban land use pattern. By choose meaningful combination of mobility and location semantics for stations’ similarity case studies, we summarized potential applications of this semantic framework.


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


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