Clustering railway passenger demand patterns from large-scale origin–destination data

Renate J.H. van der Knaap*, Menno de Bruyn, Niels van Oort, Dennis Huisman, Rob M.P. Goverde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Downloads (Pure)


Train passenger demand fluctuates throughout the day. In order to let train services, such as the line plan and timetable, match this fluctuating demand, insights are needed into how the demand is changing and for which periods the demand is relatively stable. Hierarchical clustering on both regular and normalized origin–destination (OD) data is used to determine for each workday continuous time-of-day periods in which the passenger demand is homogeneous. The periods found for each workday are subsequently used as input in a clustering algorithm to look for similarities and differences between workdays. The methods for finding homogeneous periods during the day and week are applied to a case study covering a large part of the railway network in the Netherlands. We find large differences between the periods based on regular OD matrices and those based on normalized OD matrices. The periods based on regular OD matrices are more compact in terms of passenger volumes and average kms travelled and therefore more suitable to use as input for designing a service plan. Comparison of different workdays shows that mainly the peak periods on Friday are far away from Monday to Thursday, and hence could benefit from an altered service plan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100452
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Rail Transport Planning and Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Clustering
  • Homogeneous period
  • Origin–destination data
  • Passenger demand pattern
  • Railway


Dive into the research topics of 'Clustering railway passenger demand patterns from large-scale origin–destination data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this