Metro transit system resilience: Understanding the impacts of outdoor tracks and weather conditions on metro system interruptions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, mode - subway/metro, land use - impacts, policy - environment, policy - sustainable, operations - reliability


Metro, outdoor tracks, public transit, system interruption, transit resilience


One of the main challenges facing transit agencies is offering reliable service with minimum number of interruptions and ensuing delays. Although this issue has recently emerged as a top priority in many cities to ensure sustainable social and environmental progress, there has been little research effort to investigate issues surrounding service disruption. As a response to this gap, this study aims at understanding the impact of outdoor track segments (or open-air sectors) of the metro system and weather conditions on the number of service interruptions and the magnitude of resulting delays at the stop level. The study uses detailed metro system interruption data collected in 2013 by the TTC, the public transit provider in the City of Toronto, Canada. Descriptive statistics and statistical models are developed for the purpose of the study. The empirical investigation reveals that outdoor tracks have a statistically significant association with metro system’s service interruptions. Longer outdoor track distances are linked to both higher frequencies and delays of service interruptions. Weather conditions, in terms of the amount of snow on the ground and rainfall interactions with outdoor tracks, have also a significant association with the frequency and duration of service interruptions. The paper results provide policy makers and planners with useful policy-relevant information related to the impact of outdoor tracks and weather conditions on the metro system interruptions that could be used to support higher capital investments when planning rail transit systems to achieve the system resilience.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.