Investigating spatio-temporal mobility patterns and changes in metro usage under the impact of COVID-19 using Taipei Metro smart card data

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, mode - subway/metro, technology - ticketing systems, technology - passenger information, ridership - behaviour


Taiwan, Public transport, Smart card, Spatio-temporal flow maps, COVID-19, Mobility


Modern public transit systems are often run with automated fare collection (AFC) systems in combination with smart cards. These systems passively collect massive amounts of detailed spatio-temporal trip data, thus opening up new possibilities for public transit planning and management as well as providing new insights for urban planners. We use smart card trip data from Taipei, Taiwan, to perform an in-depth analysis of spatio-temporal station-to-station metro trip patterns for a whole week divided into several time slices. Based on simple linear regression and line graphs, days of the week and times of the day with similar temporal passenger flow patterns are identified. We visualize magnitudes of passenger flow based on actual geography. By comparing flows for January to March 2019 and for January to March 2020, we look at changes in metro trips under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) that caused a state of emergency around the globe in 2020. Our results show that metro usage under the impact of COVID-19 has not declined uniformly, but instead is both spatially and temporally highly heterogeneous.


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