Covid-19 lightening the load factor in railway transport: Performance analysis in the north-west area of Milan

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, mode - rail, ridership - commuting, operations - performance


Rail transport, Railway track, Covid-19, Delay, Railway performance


Covid-19 has strongly influenced the mobility of people in several ways and the limitations of mobility in Europe and Italy have conditioned the flows of workers and travelers. Railways, which are one key transport sector, had a clear decrease in passengers all over the world. The analysis, based on six Lombard/Piedmont lines (North-West of Italy), was carried out in the periods immediately preceding and following the lockdown, in which it was possible to move without draconian restrictions, and with mostly regular railway traffic, but at the same time, the number of commuters and occasional travelers was reduced by 40–60%. Using official data from Trenitalia and Trenord, the role of load factor in the railway performance is analyzed, to verify the impact of a substantial reduction in passenger numbers on the overall performance of six railway lines with a special focus on peak hours. The results obtained are not univocal and provide interesting indications, in fact, for some lines, there is an improvement in performance while for others there are no statistically significant differences with the previous year that means a similar performance, which is a starting point for future developments of the work at the national or regional level.


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


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