Weather, travel mode choice, and impacts on subway ridership in Beijing

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - subway/metro, ridership - mode choice, ridership - behaviour, ridership - demand, planning - surveys


Weather, Travel mode choice, Subway ridership, Non-linear relationship


Understanding the impact of weather on travel behavior provides insight into building a reliable and resilient transport system. This study uses a survey on residents and subway ridership data from 2014 to 2018 in Beijing to explore the relationship between weather and travel behavior. The results indicate that extreme weather events can affect recreational travel greatly, reduce travel demand, and change travel modes as well. The respondents are inclined to choose subway or cars rather than buses and bicycles under inclement weather days. The analysis of subway ridership confirms that weekends’ trips are more sensitive to weather conditions. Monthly temperature change shows a bigger effect on ridership than daily temperature change. A one-degree increase in effective temperature increases ridership by about 0.5% on weekends, while heavy rain reduces ridership by about 8%. Wind speed and air pollution show significantly negative but small effects on ridership on weekends. Besides, there is a non-linear relationship between temperature and ridership on weekends. These findings suggest that subway is less vulnerable to inclement weather and can be complementary to other travel modes. However, prevention measures are necessary for the subway system to face threats from heavy rain.


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


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