Measuring activity-based social segregation using public transport smart card data

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, mode - rail, technology - ticketing systems, technology - passenger information


Social segregation, Public transport, Ex-post transport appraisal, Smart card data


While social segregation is often assessed using static data concerning residential areas, the extent to which people with diverse background travel to the same destinations may offer an additional perspective on the extent of urban segregation. This study further contributes to the measurement of activity-based social segregation between multiple groups using public transport smart card data. In particular, social segregation is quantified using the ordinal information theory index to measure the income group mix at public transport journey destination zones. The method is applied to the public transport smart card data of Stockholm County, Sweden. Applying the index on 2017–2020 data sets for a selected week, shows significant differences between income groups’ segregation along the radial public transport corridors following the opening of a major rail project in the summer of 2017. The overall slight decrease in segregation over the years can be linked to declining segregation in the city center as a travel destination and its public transport hubs. Increasing zonal segregation is observed in suburban and rural zones with commuter train stations. This method helps to quantify social segregation, enriching the analysis of urban segregation and can aid in evaluating policies based on the dynamics of social life.


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


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