Modelling the effects of real-time crowding information in urban public transport systems

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - crowding, place - europe, place - urban, ridership - behaviour, ridership - modelling, technology - intelligent transport systems


Real-time crowding information, RTCI, public transport, overcrowding, path choice


Public transport (PT) overcrowding is a notorious problem in urban transport networks. Its negative effects upon travel experience can be potentially addressed by disseminating real-time crowding information (RTCI) to passengers. However, impacts of RTCI provision in urban PT networks remain largely unknown. This study aims to contribute by developing an extended dynamic PT simulation model that enables a thorough analysis of instantaneous RTCI consequences. In the model, RTCI is generated and disseminated across the network, and then utilised in passengers’ sequential en-route choices. A case-study demonstration of the RTCI algorithm on urban PT network model of Kraków (Poland) shows that instantaneous RTCI has the potential to improve passengers’ travel experience, although it is also susceptible to inaccuracy. RTCI provision can yield total travel utility improvements of 3% in typical PM peak-hour, with reduced impacts of the worst overcrowding effects (in terms of denied-boarding and in-vehicle travel disutility in overcrowded conditions) of 30%.


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