How do new transit stations affect people's sentiment and activity? A case study based on social media data in Hong Kong

Haoliang Chang, Jianxiang Huang, Weiran Yao, Weizun Zhao, Lishuai Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Urban rail development can increase land value, reduce commute time, and increase accessibility, as reported in the literature. However, little is known about the impact of opening urban rail transit stations on people's sentiment, particularly in the context of large metropolises where population density is significantly high. This paper investigates such impact by studying six new transit stations opened in Hong Kong. People's sentiment and activity in station nearby areas are estimated by tweet sentiment and tweet activity. We use the difference-in-difference model to study the impact of opening new transit stations. Tweet sentiment, tweet activity, tweet content, and footprints of people who visit the station-influenced area ‘before and after’ the opening of transit stations are analyzed. The results suggest that, in general, the introduction of transit stations causes a positive change in tweet activity, and the change is statistically significant after six months. Regarding tweet sentiment, new transit stations tend to pose a mixed effect in a short-term, a positive influence on areas with high-density residential places, yet a negative influence on areas with a large proportion of nature reserve areas. These short-term effects, positive or negative, become not significant in the long term (after twelve months). Our analysis also confirmed that the introduction of new transit stations increased accessibility from (to) other parts of the city to(from) the station's nearby area, which was shown by the expanded locations sustaining users visited. These findings indicate that the urban rail transit system in Hong Kong promotes more active neighborhoods yet does not always promotes positive influence on people's sentiment. Further studies are needed to make future urban rail transit systems promoting active and happy neighborhoods. The study is relevant to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in methodologies, data, and findings. The social media analysis method used in this study, including text mining and sentiment analysis, can be easily extended to multiple language analysis for Singapore, Malaysia, as well as other regions in the belt and road plan. The developed tools could contribute to analyzing the influence of cross-country projects on local neighborhoods in the belt and road plan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-155
Number of pages17
JournalTransport Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Data mining
  • Social media data analysis
  • Tweet activity
  • Tweet sentiment
  • Twitter
  • Urban rail transit


Dive into the research topics of 'How do new transit stations affect people's sentiment and activity? A case study based on social media data in Hong Kong'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this