Understanding post-pandemic metro commuting ridership by considering the built environment: A quasi-natural experiment in Wuhan, China

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - subway/metro, land use - impacts, ridership - demand


COVID-19, commuting ridership, metro


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on metro commuting ridership. However, the exact magnitude and spatial and temporal characteristics of the impact remain unclear. In this study, we explored the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on metro commuting ridership in Wuhan, where the novel virus was first reported. The results of interrupted time-series (ITS) analysis showed that metro commuting ridership sharply dropped in the short term under the impact of the outbreak in the epicenter, rebounded rapidly as the pandemic eased, and returned to pre-pandemic levels in six months. Furthermore, there was a noticeable spatial heterogeneity in the rebound. Urban centers, especially job-rich areas, recovered faster than other areas. In addition, the number of residents, number of bus stops, number of enterprises around a metro station, and being a transfer station had a positive effect on metro ridership, while street length, number of restaurants, and number of metro exits had a negative effect. These findings may help local governments and metro managers develop sustainable metro operations and infection prevention policies to better cope with the impact of the pandemic and beyond.


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


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